Veteran running back Carlos Hyde and defensive end Benson Mayowa will return for Thursday night’s game against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field.
Neither has played the last three games due to injury and both figure to come back to prominent roles Thursday.
But Chris Carson remains questionable after missing the last three games with a sore foot, with a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter stating he is “unlikely” to play.
Coach Pete Carroll, though, sounded more optimistic when he talked to the media via Zoom after practice, saying Carson “looked good in all the stuff that he did” and that “we are real close with Chris” and that his status would be determined on Thursday.
But if Carson is out, expect Hyde to start at running back. Backup running back Travis Homer is also unlikely to play with wrist, knee and thumb issues.
DeeJay Dallas is the only other running back on Seattle’s roster, so that means the Seahawks could need to elevate Bo Scarbrough off the practice squad to add depth — Seattle cannot use any more elevations on Alex Collins.
Carroll also said that while the Seahawks listed receiver Tyler Lockett as questionable with a bruised knee he is expected to play.
Lockett practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, and Carroll said, “I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’s playing. He just looked too good on the practice field today,” though he cautioned they will need to check again on Thursday to clear him for certain.
In expected moves, the Seahawks ruled out cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin (hamstring) and Quinton Dunbar (knee) and center Ethan Pocic (concussion).
Carroll said the short week did not allow for Pocic to clear the league’s concussion protocol.
Kyle Fuller started in place of Pocic against the Rams but suffered a high ankle sprain and did not practice all week.
Fuller was listed as questionable but Carroll said “he’s going to be ready to go in the game.
But Carroll also added that Fuller “will be ready if we need him.”
That seemed to hint the Seahawks could be preparing go to another way at center if they aren’t comfortable with Fuller and his ankle come kickoff.
Jamarco Jones was the backup center last week, though Fuller was able to play every snap. That status would appear to mean he’d be the most likely to step in if Fuller had a setback.
Jones, a fifth-round pick out of Ohio State, has played only guard and tackle with the Seahawks, and has started three games in his career, and was a left tackle in college.
Seattle on Wednesday, though, also activated Phil Haynes off injured reserve, and he can also play center, though his primary position is guard (Seattle placed cornerback Neiko Thorpe on injured reserve to make room).
Haynes, a fourth-round pick in 2019, worked at center regularly last year in practice after Justin Britt was lost for the season to a knee injury.
Haynes is also needed to add depth at guard with Jordan Simmons listed as out with a calf injury.
“He’s ready to jump in there if we need him,” Carroll said of Haynes, who began working at center with the Seahawks last season.
Both Hyde and Mayowa have been out since the first game against Arizona.
Hyde gained 68 yards on 15 carries in taking over for Carson in the first game against Arizona in what was his most extensive action as a Seahawk before suffering an ankle injury late in the contest.
“Carlos looked strong today,” Carroll said.
Mayowa has been dealing with an ankle injury but was able to practice fully on Wednesday. He had been the team’s starting LEO, or rush end. Seattle has since traded for Carlos Dunlap, and Mayowa will now likely work in more of a rotation with Dunlap, with Seattle hoping to be able to keep each player fresher — Mayowa played 63% or more of the snaps in each of the first six games.
Strong safety Jamal Adams was also not given a designation, meaning he is ready to go after suffering a shoulder injury that briefly knocked him out of Sunday’s loss against the Rams in Los Angeles.
This will be the second straight game Seattle will play without both of starting corners Griffin and Dunbar, with Tre Flowers and, likely, D.J. Reed again taking their places.
New intensive COVID-19 protocols ‘shift some things’
All NFL teams were told Wednesday they must operate under the league’s intensive COVID-19 protocols for the rest of the season. Those include “all meetings being held virtually unless they can be held outdoors or indoors with a preapproved plan, and for face masks being worn at all times at the facility, including on the practice field by all personnel. All meals must be served in grab and go style to prevent people from congregating in meal rooms. Locker room use is strongly discouraged on non-game days,” according to NFL.com, the league’s official media outlet.
Previously, the intensive protocols were reserved for teams that had positives tests or been exposed to player who had.
Seattle is the only NFL team that has yet to place a player on the league’s COVID-19 reserve list since the start of the regular season, so having to operate under the intensive protocols will mark a change for the Seahawks.
“Well, it does shift some things,” Carroll said. “We’re really proud of where we are right now. We’ve made it through all this time, and our guys have done a fantastic job of toeing the line. This is such a demanding process that they’re involved with to go along with being a professional athlete. And there’s a lot of diligence. That’s the word it keeps coming back to and you just have to stick to and stay with it.
“The guidelines, and I haven’t seen them all specifically yet, but what I understand though, the virtual aspect of our meeting times and stuff will be amplified. We’ll step up with that. That portion of our stuff we’ll have less interaction here in the facility, except for walk-throughs and practice.”
Penny, Taylor could return in next week or two
Carroll said running back Rashaad Penny (physically unable to perform list/knee) and defensive end Darrell Taylor (non-football injury list/leg) may be able to return to practice in the next week or two.
Penny, the team’s first-round pick in 2018, suffered an ACL injury on Dec. 8 against the Rams and Taylor, a second-round pick out of Tennessee, is recovering from offseason surgery to have a rod place in his leg to repair a stress fracture.
“These guys are ready to go,” Carroll said. “We’re a week away or two weeks away, probably, from something happening here with these guys. Love to see these guys come back and be part of next week even, possibly.”
Seattle has its “mini-bye” following the Arizona game and plays again on Nov. 30 at Philadelphia.
Getting Penny back to add depth and another viable option at tailback for the stretch run — and hopefully deep into the playoffs — could be a pretty big lift to the offense, while Seattle had high hopes about Taylor’s pass-rush abilities when he was drafted.