Players to watch for the Seahawks against the Rams Sunday include Russell Wilson and offensive linemen Bradley Sowell, Garry Gilliam and J'Marcus Webb.
Here are five players to watch as the Seahawks take on the Los Angeles Rams Sunday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
QB Russell Wilson: Wilson said Thursday he’ll be “ready to roll’’ by gametime. The bigger question is how well he’ll be able to run. Everyone involved insisted Wilson will have no limitations Sunday, and given his history it won’t be a huge shock if that turns out to be the case. Still, it’s hard to imagine he won’t be a little slowed, and then the question becomes how much the Seahawks may have to account for any difference in mobility in what they call. Specifically, the Seahawks might limit the number of zone-reads and bootlegs and other plays that require Wilson to run. And that could put the onus on maximizing opportunities in the quick-passing game as well as getting the conventional running game going better than a week ago. In other words, it’ a good week for Thomas Rawls to get back in the saddle as the lead back and play as he did last season.
OTs Garry Gilliam and Bradley Sowell: When these two teams play, the focus always comes back to the matchup of Seattle’s offensive line against that Rams’ defensive front. It’s an even bigger deal this week with Wilson’s potential decrease in mobility — it’ll be interesting to see how aggressively the Rams come after him. Sowell will likely match up most often against Robert Quinn, who is coming off back surgery but has had his way with the Seahawks of late with seven sacks in the last five games against Seattle. Gilliam will typically line up against William Hayes, who had three sacks against Seattle in a 23-17 Rams’ win at CenturyLink last December, and six quarterback hits overall. Sowell had two holding penalties early in the game against Miami and when asked this week how he graded his performance said: “Okay, average. There was some good, some bad, like you’d expect in the first game. I think we are getting better and better each week. And if you don’t they are going to put someone else in there.So it’s one of those things where you are new to it and you keep getting better, keep plugging away, and see how it comes out.’’
RG J’Marcus Webb: Webb is expected to start again at right guard with Germain Ifedi still out with a sprained ankle — assuming Webb can overcome his own ankle issue that held him out of practice on Friday. Pete Carroll said he expected Webb to play. That Webb may not be 100 percent, though, is obviously not ideal in this game since he is likely to spend much of his day going against Rams’ standout defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Webb struggled in his first game at RG against Miami, with Pro Football Focus giving him the third-lowest grade among all RGs (Donald, despite being ejected late, got the highest-rating for a DT for his play against the 49ers). Anything approaching a standoff in this battle would be a major victory for Seattle.
LB Bobby Wagner: Wagner seemed pretty excited this week to be playing in the Coliseum — he grew up about 45 minutes away in Ontario. He also has a pretty key role Sunday in keeping tabs on Rams’ running back Todd Gurley, who is by far the biggest threat to the Seattle defense. Gurley didn’t get much done last week with 47 yards on 17 carries, but I’d expect the Rams to make testing Seattle’s run defense even more of a priority Sunday given the issues Los Angeles had throwing it last Monday against the 49ers.
FS Earl Thomas: Thomas delivered the quote of the week when asked if he was hard on himself following a surprisingly-mistake-filled performance last week against the Dolphins saying he just put on his slippers and tights and slipped out of the locker room without showering. It’d be surprising not to see Thomas have a pretty loud bounce-back game this week.