Carroll also said he is not worried about the special teams problems Sunday, vowing they will get cleaned up in time for Saturday's Wild Card playoff game against the Cowboys.
Seattle’s offensive line could be back to full strength when the Seahawks open the playoffs at Dallas on Saturday.
But coach Pete Carroll cast some doubt on the availability of left guard J.R. Sweezy for the 5:15 p.m. clash against the Cowboys during his weekly radio show Monday on ESPN 710 Seattle.
Carroll reiterated what he said after the 27-24 victory Sunday over Arizona that D.J. Fluker will return and play right guard with Germain Ifedi moving back to his usual right tackle spot. With Fluker resting a hamstring injury, Ifedi played right guard Sunday and George Fant played right tackle. Fant now will go back to his eligible tackle/tight end role he has played much of the season.
“Fluke will practice all week and be ready to go,’’ Carroll said on ESPN 710 Seattle. “He could have played in the game (Sunday). … We thought because he didn’t practice last week it was better to save him one more time.”
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Fluker was injured Dec. 2 against the 49ers and has not started since but did fill in for much of the victory against Kansas City when Sweezy was injured and Ifedi was already out.
Ethan Pocic started Sunday at left guard in place of Sweezy and Carroll hinted there’s a chance that could happen again.
Sweezy suffered a foot injury against Kansas City and was out of the area last week getting evaluations. Carroll said Friday that it is a three- to four-week injury, but that Sweezy was going to be able to make it back for the playoffs.
Carroll said Sweezy got a good report Monday but that he will be “a game-time’’ decision. If Sweezy can’t play, then expect Pocic to again start.
“Pocic has played well enough to help our guys out,’’ Carroll said.
With only center Justin Britt and left tackle Duane Brown starting in their usual spots, the Seahawks allowed a season-high-tying six sacks against Arizona, which left Seattle with 51 sacks allowed for the year, the most of Russell Wilson’s career.
Carroll said Sunday that communication was an issue on many of the sacks due to having some new players in some new roles.
Here is more of what Carroll had to say on his radio show:
SHAQUILL GRIFFIN’S STATUS APPEARS IN MORE DOUBT
Carroll had seemed confident Sunday that left cornerback Shaquill Griffin would be able to play against Dallas, calling what he suffered in the second quarter a slight ankle sprain.
Monday, he said Griffin’s ankle was “pretty stiff”’ and they’ll have to wait and see how he makes it through the week.
Akeem King filled in for Griffin and that would be the plan again, Carroll said, if Griffin can’t play.
Shortly after he entered the game in the second quarter, King was beaten for Arizona’s lone offensive touchdown — a 15-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald — but otherwise played well, Carroll said.
“Got whipped on the one play-pass,’’ Carroll said. “But he made some nice plays yesterday.’’
TEDRIC THOMPSON SHOULD BE READY TO GO BUT HILL/MCDOUGALD COULD STAY AT SAFETY
Carroll said free safety Tedric Thompson — who has missed the past two games and sat out Sunday with an ankle injury after a chest issue that held him out against Kansas City cleared up — “should be fine’’ for the game Saturday.
Intriguingly, though, he seemed to hold out the possibility that the Seahawks could stick with the safety tandem of the past two weeks of Delano Hill at strong safety and Bradley McDougald at free safety.
“We’ll see how that goes,’’ Carroll said, adding that Hill “has played really good ball. He’s still young and some plays get away from him but his toughness and aggression and style, and he’s always been a great tackler. … so we’ll see.’’
Carroll’s mentioning of Hill’s toughness and tackling is particularly interesting given the matchup against a Dallas team that features one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL. The Cowboys are led by Ezekiel Elliott, who had 1,434 yards this season despite sitting out the final game. Seattle might consider Hill and McDougald — who started all season at strong safety until Thompson was injured — a better fit going against the Cowboys’ rushing attack.
Carroll raved about how Seattle played the run against Arizona — a game in which K.J. Wright was on the field for 47 of 66 snaps, helping to solidify the back end.
“Missed on one play yesterday of note,’’ Carroll said of Seattle’s run defense. “Otherwise, we hit on a bunch of stuff.’’
CARROLL SAYS SPECIAL TEAMS PROBLEMS WILL GET CLEANED UP
Aside from the leaky pass protection, the biggest issue for the Seahawks on Sunday was three special-teams misplays that directly contributed to 18 Arizona points — a blocked punt, a deflected punt and a 45-yard punt return.
Carroll said one issue could be that with some of the injuries, several of the team’s “core’’ special-teams players are playing a lot of snaps elsewhere.
He specifically noted Hill, who played all 66 defensive snaps Sunday, but was beaten on a punt that was deflected when he was simply pushed back by Arizona’s Dennis Gardeck.
“One of the things that does happen when guys are playing regularly who are core special-teams guys, neglect happens in the special-teams area,’’ Carroll said.
He said he wasn’t sure that’s what happened in this case but noted that Arizona did nothing special on the Gardeck play and Hill has executed that block “a million times’’ and that Gardeck just “made the play.’’
Carroll said the Seahawks will “have to do some things about that (guys playing more snaps also being on special teams) and make sure we don’t put guys in that situation. … We’ll clean this up and make sure it’s not a factor.’’
Carroll said the special-teams players were upset enough about what happened that they requested to have their own meeting before the main meeting Monday to clear up the issues against Arizona.
QUICK HIT NOTES
- Carroll said defensive end Dion Jordan was held out Sunday to make sure he’d be healthy for the playoffs and should be ready against Dallas. He has been battling a sore knee much of the season.
- Carroll said that while the game was a struggle to win, he liked that “the elements that were necessary yesterday were enough’’ to get the victory. He specially cited the running game (182 yards) and “the defense playing lights out’’ and that “when the special teams faltered we were able to pick it up. The sudden change defense was really good.’’
- As for the final drive, Carroll said he had no doubt Wilson would find a way to lead the Seahawks down the field. “It was poetic,’’ Carroll said. “You kind of knew it was going to happen, how it was going to happen. And there was Tyler (Lockett) again.’’ Lockett caught a 37-yard pass from Wilson — the longest pass of the day — to set up Sebastian Janikowski’s winning field goal as time ran out.