RENTON — The good news from the Seahawks’ status report for Sunday’s game against Cleveland? Running back Chris Carson, listed as limited in practice Thursday with a shoulder injury, isn’t on it, meaning he is cleared to play.
The bad news? Carson may have to work behind an offensive line playing without two veteran starters as the Seahawks listed left tackle Duane Brown and right guard D.J. Fluker as doubtful, with each possibly — if not likely — missing their first start of the season.
Illustrating their concerns over their offensive-line depth, the Seahawks placed backup guard/center Ethan Pocic on injured reserve Friday and waived safety Adrian Colbert, which made room for promoting offensive lineman Jordan Roos and tight end Jacob Hollister from the practice squad.
Adding Roos and Hollister adds depth to the line and gives the Seahawks some flexibility to continue to use their package featuring an extra offensive lineman/tight end, a role typically held by George Fant.
Fant will get the start at left tackle if Brown can’t play, while Jamarco Jones will likely start at right guard if Fluker can’t go.
Before adding Roos and Hollister, the Seahawks were faced with the prospect of having only one healthy backup offensive lineman in Joey Hunt.
Fluker was hurt early in last Thursday’s game against the Rams and was replaced by Jones, who played 65 snaps in the 30-29 win over the Rams, drawing raves for his performance in what was his first NFL action other than special teams.
Brown, who has made 30 consecutive starts for the Seahawks since being acquired in a trade on Nov. 1, 2017, has dealt with a biceps injury since the third game of the season against the Saints but has played every snap in the two games since.
His doubtful status represents a continuing downgrade. Brown was not on the status report for the game against Arizona and was listed as questionable before the game against the Rams.
“It’s not responding as well as we had hoped,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
Brown said before the Rams game that the injury was a definite factor, but he was doing what he could to play through it.
On Friday, Carroll called Brown’s effort to play with the injury against the Rams “heroic. … He just toughed it out. … He was hurt. He knew it, and he played with it and made it through it and so we have to take care of him.”
Fant played the final 23 snaps against the Saints at left tackle in place of Brown. Carroll said he wouldn’t say it, but Fant will undoubtedly get the call Sunday if Brown can’t go. Fant started 10 games at left tackle as a rookie in 2016 and one game last year at right tackle, but otherwise has been used mostly in his role as an eligible lineman/tight end since 2018.
Brown has been the Seahawks’ most reliable offensive linemen since he was acquired from Houston, making the Pro Bowl for the fourth time in his career in 2017 and named to the Associated Press All-Pro second team last season.
Carroll acknowledged that the prospect of playing without Brown against a Cleveland defensive line that features end Myles Garrett — who has seven sacks, second-most in the NFL — will require some adjusting, saying center Justin Britt will have to take on an even greater leadership role.
“If Duane is not able to play you are losing a lot of experience and a lot of vision that he has that he shares and the perception he has is extremely unique and you are going to miss some of that,” Carroll said. “So other guys are going to have to compensate.”
Pocic had been ruled out Friday shortly before the Seahawks revealed he will go on IR with a mid-back injury. Pocic, who had missed the last three games, could return after sitting out eight games. Pocic started the first game of the season at left guard but has dealt with neck and then mid-back injuries the past three weeks.
Roos played in seven games for Seattle in 2017 but has spent the past two seasons on the practice squad. But if Brown and Fluker can’t play, Roos will likely be active for Sunday’s game.
Hollister also figures to be active, giving the Seahawks not only a third tight end behind Will Dissly and Luke Willson but also some flexibility to continue to use the jumbo sets that usually feature Fant.
The Seahawks acquired Hollister from New England in April for a 2020 seventh-round pick. He caught four passes for 28 yards and a touchdown in the preseason before being waived in the roster cut down to 53 and later re-signed to the practice squad.
The Seahawks signed Colbert before the win at Arizona, but he was not active for that game nor the win over the Rams. He could return to the Seahawks’ practice squad if he clears waivers.
Carson had a shoulder issue creep up Thursday that had him listed as limited. But he practiced fully Friday, and Carroll said “he’s fine.”
The Seahawks listed running back Rashaad Penny as questionable with a hamstring issue, something he has dealt with since being injured in practice Sept. 20. He sat out the next two games before returning to play against the Rams.
Penny practiced Friday, indicating he’ll be able to play Sunday. But if Penny can’t play, that would again mean a larger role for C.J. Prosise. Prosise did not play against the Rams, with Carson and Penny getting all the snaps at tailback, but played in the first four games of the season and has 16 yards on nine carries this season with a touchdown against Arizona and eight receptions for 51 yards.