Seahawks rookie cornerback Tre Brown, whose recent breakthrough into the starting lineup has been one of the few highlights of a dreary 2021 campaign, will likely have surgery soon and miss the rest of the season.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday that while Brown was still getting opinions on his knee, “it looks like surgery is imminent” to repair a patellar tendon injury that Brown suffered in the second quarter of Sunday’s 23-13 loss to the Cardinals.
And assuming Brown has surgery, then Carroll said “he would be” out for the season.
Brown, a fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma, started the past three games at left cornerback and his inclusion into the lineup helped solidify a Seahawks secondary that struggled early.
According to Pro Football Focus, Brown allowed just eight completions on 17 targets in the five games he played this season for 75 yards and a passer rating of just 59.7.
That includes the 31-yard completion from Colt McCoy to A.J. Green on Sunday when Brown was hurt as he leapt to make a play.
Brown’s absence means the Seahawks will likely go back to Sidney Jones at left cornerback. Jones, a former UW standout, started four games at left cornerback before losing the job to Brown.
But further complicating matters is that starting right cornerback D.J. Reed sat out Sunday with knee and groin injuries, and it remains unclear if he will be ready for Monday’s game at Washington.
Carroll said he had no update on Reed, who was hurt in practice Thursday, other than to say, “He did not have a severe injury, but he did have a setback.”
Once Brown left, the Seahawks went with Bless Austin at right cornerback with Jones, who started place of Reed, shifting to the left side.
Austin, signed before the season after being released by the Jets, had not played on defense before Sunday and according to Pro Football Focus allowed four receptions on four targets for 49 yards.
Jones gave up three receptions on five targets for 10 yards, via PFF.
“Sidney did a nice job yesterday,” Carroll said. “Played a good football game and made some nice plays and came through for us in nice spots. Bless, this was the first time we got a chance to see him and so he survived. Had one play where he stumbled but otherwise was pretty solid for the first time out.”
The Seahawks also have John Reid as depth. Reid was acquired in a trade with Houston before the season (and then later waived and re-signed) but has played just one defensive snap this year.
Team leaders have their say
The 3-7 record, the worst after 10 games since 2009, and rapidly diminishing playoff hopes inevitably mean there is a danger of the locker room splintering.
Carroll said he’s being proactive as possible to keep the players focused on the one-week-at-a-time task at hand. On Monday, those efforts included letting some of the veterans talk at length during a team meeting.
Carroll said the focus of the talks was “to kind of make sure that everybody’s on the same page. To just reinforce that this is a team and we’re playing together and we’re gonna go through this, the challenges that we’re facing, together.”
Carroll said players regularly are allowed to speak in meetings, “but I thought today that was particularly clear. They’re just trying to help out, too. They’re just competing and trying to help out other guys and young players and do what they can to do their part. And they’re just battling, too. And it was obvious and pretty impressive.”
Asked which veterans have taken on big leadership roles, Carroll cited Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Duane Brown.
Carroll says no surprises from Cardinals
Receiver Tyler Lockett said after the game that one reason for the offense’s struggles is that opponents are showing different defensive looks than what the Seahawks are seeing on film and that Seattle needs to adjust to those differences more quickly.
“It’s just being able to see what they are playing and what we need to do to be able to beat it.” Lockett said. “If we can learn that as players faster in the first or second quarter, then the whole entire game will be different.”
But Carroll said Monday that he didn’t think that was a factor in Sunday’s loss.
“I didn’t hear his comments and don’t know what he said so I won’t comment about that,’’ Carroll said. “We’ve often seen teams over the years play us differently than they have played other teams because of the makeup of the QB (Wilson) and his mobility, to see if they can find a way to counter that. That has always been the case. So it’s nothing new for us at all. We didn’t have any problem with knowing what they were doing in this game.”
As for what the issues were, Carroll pointed largely to execution, and specifically the team’s inability to convert on third down. Seattle was 2-10 on third down and is converting 32.4% for the season, 30th in the NFL ahead of only Detroit and Jacksonville.
“We have to control the football on offense, control the ball better in all aspects so we can stay on offense, stay out there, and give him (Wilson) more chances to make things happen,” Carroll said. “The most specific way is third down. I’ll repeat it again to you, I think I said it last night, we had 10 third downs in this game, and we need three more wins to get to where you’re functioning like the best teams in the NFL do. To get to 50% is about what you want to get done on third downs.”
Brandon Shell battling shoulder issue
Starting right tackle Brandon Shell did not play the final offensive series of the game due to a lingering shoulder injury that caused him to be limited in practice Wednesday last week.
Rookie Jake Curhan filled in for Shell for six snaps.
But Carroll indicated the shoulder issue won’t prevent Shell from playing this week.
“Brandon’s shoulder just was bothering him during the course of the game, and so it’s later on in the game, we just thought it’d be good to get him out of there,” Carroll said. “It’s the shoulder he’s been working with, but that was it.”