Ten Seahawks sat out of practice Thursday, including running backs Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde and cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar, apparently further clouding the chances of any playing Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.
Also out for another day — and also seemingly that much closer to sitting Sunday — is center Ethan Pocic, who has played every snap this season but showed up on the injury report Wednesday and is in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Pocic’s emergence has been cited as one of the biggest reasons for Seattle’s offensive line improving this season — an obvious key to the Seahawks leading the league in scoring — and his absence could come at a particularly bad time, going against the Rams’ perennial All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
If Pocic can’t play, he will be replaced by Kyle Fuller, a fourth-year player who has seen time only on special teams so far this season.
“If Ethan doesn’t play, Kyle Fuller is a guy we’ve got a lot of confidence in,’’ offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said after practice Thursday via Zoom. “I thought he had an unbelievable training camp. Probably one of the most improved players that we had. So, if he has to go and answer the call, we don’t have any question he’ll play well.’’
In fact, Fuller was emerging as the backup at center to Pocic during camp ahead of free agent signee B.J. Finney before we learned Fuller had been suspended for the first two games of the year for violating the league’s policy on substances of abuse.
He returned to the backup center spot after Finney was traded to Cincinnati as part of the Carlos Dunlap deal.
Fuller, who started 39 games at center at Baylor, has played only on special teams the last two games, six snaps in each, but got two starts at tackle with Houston as a rookie in 2017. He also played 56 snaps in reserve with Washington in 2018.
Fuller was on Seattle’s practice squad all of last season before being promoted to the active roster for the two playoff games, though he did not play in either.
“I feel extremely confident about him,’’ quarterback Russell Wilson said before practice via Zoom. “ … He’s an extremely athletic guy, extremely smart; I mean, he’s a wizard in terms of how he takes in information — he’s really special in that. So I’m looking forward to Kyle having to step up if that’s the case.’’
Also sitting out were defensive end Benson Mayowa (ankle), defensive tackle Bryan Mone (ankle), linebacker K.J. Wright (ankle), left tackle Duane Brown (knee/resting vet) and receiver Penny Hart (knee).
Four players were limited — guard Mike Iupati (back), running back Travis Homer (knee), defensive tackle Jarran Reed (rib/resting vet) and receiver Freddie Swain (foot).
Carson (foot) and Hyde (hamstring) have missed the last two games, and coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that Carson was ahead of Hyde in his recovery.
Griffin (hamstring) has missed the last two games, while Dunbar has been playing with a chronic knee issue. Carroll on Wednesday said he couldn’t say if either would play Sunday.