RENTON — The past few days marked an achievement as significant as anything the Seahawks will do this season, coach Pete Carroll said, as the team did not record any positive COVID-19 tests following its trip to Atlanta.
“It’s really a big deal,” Carroll said. ” … a major accomplishment.”
Results were similar around the NFL and indicate that so far the league’s prevention strategy (which includes players essentially being quarantined in hotels on the road) is working and that chances remain high to play a full season.
Carroll called navigating a road trip and a game against another team successfully Stage 2 of three stages to show the protocols are working.
Stage 1 was getting through training camp, which the team did with zero positive tests (receiver John Ursua had a false positive).
Stage 3 comes Sunday night with a home game, which can present its own challenges. Carroll said it “adds some new transitions of where we’re coming and going and all that.”
But so far, so good for the Seahawks.
Carroll admitted to being “a little bit surprised” that Seattle has had no positive tests and that there have been few throughout the league, partly due to some of the issues Major League Baseball has had and because “you’ve got to get through the first couple of weeks and figure out the process.”
The NFL reported this week that since training camp began in earnest Aug. 12 that seven players and 24 other personnel have tested positive.
Carroll thinks a major reason is the league has tested every day, which is expected to continue throughout season (other than on game days).
“It does show you that the focus of testing every day has really brought out attention to the details that it takes to pull this off,” Carroll said. “I think that’s a big part of it.”
Green, Ogbuehi doubtful
The Seahawks enter Sunday’s game with a slight injury list — just three players were given a designation and none declared out.
Two were listed as doubtful — defensive end Rasheem Green (neck) and offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi (pec muscle) — and receiver Phillip Dorsett II is questionable because of a foot issue. None of the three practiced Friday.
Carroll clarified that Green suffered a stinger against Atlanta (his injury was originally listed as a shoulder). Ogbuehi suffered his injury during a mock game in training camp.
If Green can’t play the Seahawks almost certainly would have rookie Alton Robinson active to add depth at end behind L.J. Collier.
With Jamarco Jones recovered from a flu bug that held him out last week, the Seahawks have depth at tackle if Ogbuehi is out.
The Seahawks have held out hope that Dorsett can make his debut Sunday night against the New England Patriots, his former team. But when asked about Dorsett’s chances to play Carroll noted he’s listed as questionable.
Left tackle Duane Brown (knee) also sat out Friday, and tight end Will Dissly (Achilles) was limited. But neither was listed on the status report, indicating they were being rested.
Seahawks go outside
Rain indeed fell at the VMAC on Friday — a little bit, anyway.
But this was one time it was heartily welcomed as it helped clear the smoky air in the Seattle area and allowed for the Seahawks to go outside to practice for the first time this week.
The air quality is forecast to improve enough the next two days that it appears Sunday night’s game will be played.
“It didn’t quite rain as much as we thought it might at practice, so we made it through pretty well, but it should come down pretty good, maybe help us all out,” Carroll said. “So, thankful for that.”
Carroll had good news, and potentially ominous news about two players — running back Rashaad Penny and defensive end Darrell Taylor, who both remain sidelined but by league rules could return to practice after Week 6.
Taylor is on the non-football injury list as he continues to recover after having a rod placed in his leg in January after playing last season at Tennessee with a stress fracture.
Seattle selected Taylor with the 48th overall pick in the NFL draft after making a trade with the Jets to move up 11 spots. At the time of the draft the Seahawks said they felt comfortable with Taylor’s health because they were able to get him to their facility and give him a physical before COVID-19 travel bans hit.
But Taylor has done nothing, and Carroll said he had no timeline on his return (by being on NFI he must sit out at least six weeks before he can practice).
“It’s been a tough return,” Carroll said of Taylor. “I don’t know when that time is going to come.”
Carroll said Taylor was able to do some significant running this week, “so we’ll see how he handles all of that.”
Carroll acknowledged the team did not anticipate Taylor would be out this long (he indicated there has been no specific setback).
“We thought we had what we needed to know at the time,” Carroll said. ” … I think we felt like he had a chance to be back sooner than what this is now.
“We’re just going to have to wait it out and get him back when we can get him.”
Penny is on the physically unable to perform list as he continues recovery from a torn knee ligament suffered in December.
Penny likewise can’t return to practice until after six weeks.
But Carroll indicated he may have a chance to play pretty quickly after that.
“Rashaad is doing a really good job,” Carroll said. “He’s really trim and looking good. I would think that he’s ahead of schedule for, you know, maybe what they could have predicted, maybe middle of the season or something like that. I think he’s gonna push sooner than that.”