Pete Carroll says the team may just go with the hot hand at tailback when the regular season begins Sunday in Green Bay.
It remains a mystery exactly how the Seahawks’ tailback situation will evolve when Seattle opens the season Sunday at Green Bay.
Will Thomas Rawls start or will it be Eddie Lacy?
“Wait and see,’’ coach Pete Carroll said with predictable coyness on Wednesday.
What may be a little less of a question as the week has ufolded is the availability of all of Seattle’s tailbacks.
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The only health issue entering the week involves Rawls, who sat out the last three exhibition games with an ankle injury.
Carroll revealed on Wednesday that Rawls has actually been dealing with a high ankle sprain.
“It’s been a lingering high ankle that hasn’t quite subsided yet,’’ Carroll said before Wednesday’s practice. “He’s really close, he practiced Monday and we’re trying to get him back, and we’ll see how it goes.”
Carroll, in fact, said that as of Wednesday Rawls would be listed as questionable but that “we’re going to see if we can move him up as we go through the week.”
The Seahawks may be able to do just that if Wednesday’s practice is any indication as Rawls was listed as a full participant. Still, as Carroll always cautions, what is a critical part of recovery for injured players is how they respond the next day from significant work. So the real key will be if Rawls continues to be listed as a full participant in practices the rest of the week.
If so, then Carroll may not have much of a question of which tailback to start.
Take injury out of the equation and the starter would likely be Rawls. He has been listed first on the depth chart all training camp and also went first in the rotations throughout training camp practices. He also got the start in the only preseason game in which he played, against the Chargers, getting five yards on two carries before being injured and sitting out the rest of the preseason.
The Seahawks had hoped to get Rawls more work in the exhibition season after what happened last year when Rawls did not play in the preseason until the final game. Rawls was eased into things last year after suffering a broken ankle the year before then got off to a slow start before suffering a fractured fibula in the second week against the Rams that then held him out for another seven games.
Rawls said in the spring he was well past all of the injuries. But the ankle injury in week one renewed concerns about his durability.
Availability hasn’t really been an issue for Lacy other than when he suffered a broken ankle last October that ended his season after five games — prior to that injury Lacy had missed only two games in his first three NFL seasons with Green Bay, where he will return on Sunday.
Lacy has also been healthy throughout the exhibition season, held out of the final game along with the rest of the starters but playing in the other three with 51 yards on 14 carries.
“He’s ready,’’ Carroll said. “He’s had a great run with us getting to this point. He’s done everything we have asked of him, for weeks and weeks now, he’s made every practice, he’s been able to do everything, and every rep that we have offered him.’’
Lacy also famously has a weight clause in his contract — he was due $55,000 if he weighed in at 245 or less on Wednesday.
Asked if Lacy made weight, Carroll on Wednesday said: ““Eddie is doing great. He’s doing great, and he has done everything we have asked of him.”
Also available Sunday will be C.J. Prosise and rookie Chris Carson.
Prosise is ticketed to be the the team’s third-down back and after battling a groin injury early in camp played against the Raiders and is now 100 percent, Carroll said Wednesday.
Carson, meanwhile, was the running back standout of the exhibition season with 102 yards on 24 carries — if not the breakout star of the entire team considering he was drafted in the seventh round — and Carroll said Wednesday he did enough that the team would be comfortable giving him significant carries Sunday if needed.
“Chris really has been fantastic throughout and we’re anxious to see him play and contribute and see what he can do,’’ Carroll said. “He’s done everything from the passing game, pass block, and running, to special teams. He’s really been a big factor and enormous positive for us.”
So how will it all shake out?
As Carroll said, wait and see.
“We’re just going to go play football and do what we need to do and as always, kind of historically, if we have multiple guys playing the position, we’re going to wait and see how it goes and see how they play and see who’s hot on that day and try to call it,’’ Carroll said. “I look forward to seeing whoever unveils that to us. We’re very fortunate to have the depth … We’re in good shape right now, we’re in really good shape right now.”