When the Seahawks return to practice in two weeks following Sunday’s game against Jacksonville and their bye, quarterback Russell Wilson also will be eligible to return from injured reserve.
Rules require Wilson to miss three games, and coach Pete Carroll said Friday that Wilson is “ahead of schedule” in his recovery from surgery Oct. 8 to repair a ruptured tendon and dislocation in the middle finger on his right hand.
But what exactly is that schedule and does that mean Wilson could be on the field when the Seahawks begin preparing for a game Nov. 14 at Green Bay?
Carroll declined to answer that, saying there remains no clear target date for Wilson’s return.
“I have the clarity that we don’t know,” Carroll said when asked if there is clarity to what happens next with Wilson. “Really clear about that.”
But Carroll didn’t rule it out.
“He’s pretty positive,” Carroll said. “He’s feeling really good. His finger looks great. He got all the stitches out and all that stuff. He looks great. He’s making all of the strides he should be making, way ahead of schedule at this point. We’ll see what that means.”
Reports have stated that Wilson was to have a pin removed from his finger this week.
But Carroll said that has not happened, adding “the pin isn’t out yet.”
As he has done since going on IR, Wilson was at practice Friday but worked away from the rest of the team during the portion that was open to media.
With Wilson out, Geno Smith will get his third consecutive start Sunday against the Jaguars.
Jake Luton backed up Smith the past two weeks after being elevated off the practice squad.
But the Seahawks can no longer use a practice-squad elevation on Luton, and he will have to be signed to the 53-man roster to be eligible to play Sunday.
Seattle has an obvious way to create room on the roster, by putting defensive back Marquise Blair on injured reserve. Blair had surgery this week to repair a fractured kneecap suffered Monday night against the Saints but has remained on the active roster.
Seattle’s other quarterback on the 53 is former Husky Jacob Eason. Eason was claimed off waivers last week from the Colts, and Carroll said then that Eason was not ready to serve as the backup.
But Friday he did not rule out that Eason could serve as the backup.
“He’s doing really well,” Carroll said, adding that quarterbacks coach Austin Davis has been “just hammering him to get him caught up so he could have a chance to be in the decision-making there. And he got a lot of work this week, so he’s making a lot of progress.”
Eskridge should return after bye
Receiver Dee Eskridge, Seattle’s first pick in the 2021 NFL draft, is back with the team after seeing specialists in Florida for vision issues related to a concussion he suffered in the season opener Sept 12 against the Colts.
Eskridge could have returned to practice off injured reserve this week, but the team decided to wait. Once he returns he has 21 days to practice before he has to be activated or returned to IR.
Carroll said the expectation is he will return to practice when the Seahawks come back after their bye.
“He’s come back raring to go,” Carroll said. “It looks like he’ll be ready to play after the bye. He’s able to work out and go for it and push and all that kind of stuff. He feels great. Everything is really positive, barring any kind of setbacks or something. Once we get back, he’ll be going home over the break coming up and working out there, when we get back we really expect him to be able to go.”
- Left tackle Duane Brown was listed as questionable because of an illness, but Carroll indicated he’ll play Sunday. “He’s under the weather, not feeling great,” Carroll said. “He was in the meetings today, and we took care of him out here again. He should be fine. He’s just feeling lousy.” Carroll confirmed the illness is not related to COVID-19.
- Left guard Damien Lewis is listed as questionable because of a shoulder injury. But Carroll said he also should play. “Damien practiced today,” Carroll said of Lewis, who missed the loss to the Saints. “He made it through it, did OK. He’s still going to be questionable, because we’ve still got to make sure on game day. Other than that, he’s saying he’s going. Good sign.”
- Defensive end Darrell Taylor was not on the injury report, indicating he will return after sitting out the Saints game because of a neck injury suffered against the Steelers. “He’s really excited to play,” Carroll said. “Had a really upbeat week. He knows that he missed out last time, and he wants to make up for it. I just want him to play good and get a lot of plays in. It’s good to have him back.”
- Right tackle Brandon Shell also was not on the injury report. He suffered an ankle injury in the Saints game. “He practiced today, so that was a really good sign,” Carroll said. “We held him out for a couple of days, then got him out there today, and he made it through.”
- Carroll wouldn’t say who will start Sunday at center after mentioning this week that Kyle Fuller — who has started the first seven games — will get competition from Ethan Pocic, who was the started last year. But Carroll again said to expect Pocic to play. “Ethan had a lot of work this week, we really put him in a position to give him significant playing time,” Carroll said.
- Carroll said defensive back Marquise Blair, who suffered a fractured kneecap against the Saints, had surgery this week, “and everything went really well. It’s somewhat of a long recovery, but they were able to fix the fracture in the patella. It’s going to be a while. He’s been through it. He’s a warrior about getting back, so he’ll make it back. This one won’t be one he can’t make it back from. He’ll make it back from this.”