It remains unclear if three starters will be able to play Sunday against the Rams.
The Seahawks began preparing for Sunday’s NFC West showdown against the Rams in Los Angeles still uncertain about the status of three starting players who departed early in last Sunday’s 25-17 loss to the Chargers — tailback Chris Carson, safety Bradley McDougald and right guard D.J. Fluker.
Coach Pete Carroll said during his weekly press conference that none would practice Wednesday, with no clear indication of when they will practice, or if they might play Sunday.
If Carson can’t go, then Mike Davis would likely get the start at tailback. If McDougald can’t go, then Delano Hill would get the start at strong safety. And if Fluker can’t play, then Seattle might go back to Ethan Pocic, who began the year as the starting left guard before getting hurt and being replaced by J.R Sweezy. Sweezy then remained in the lineup with Fluker, who has played on the right side since returning in the third week.
Joey Hunt replaced Sweezy in the second half Sunday against the Chargers, but Carroll said Pocic could get the call, and Seattle might be more likely go that route. Pocic wasn’t active last week with Seattle going with just seven offensive linemen (Hunt and George Fant were the backups to the starting five), so he wasn’t an option to play against the Chargers once Fluker went out.
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Here’s a quick breakdown of each situation:
Carson is battling a hip injury that Carroll clarified Wednesday is not related to the hip injury that held him out of a game earlier this season against Arizona.
“The soft tissue thing is kind of hanging with him a little bit, this hip thing is still kind of there, and we’ve got to wait and see how it comes out at the end of the week,” Carroll said of Carson and how the team will try to manage his workload this week to get him ready for Sunday’s game. “So those are concerns. … So it is a concern just to keep him ready to be out there because he made it back last week (after doing little in practice) but he couldn’t hold it. He couldn’t stay. He tightened back up. So we are going to see how it goes this week.”
Carson got eight carries for 40 yards last week before departing midway through the second quarter.
The Seahawks also have to manage their tailback situation carefully this week because they have a quick turnaround next week to play Green Bay on Thursday.
That means that first-round pick Rashaad Penny also figures to get work — and get quite a bit, if Carson can’t go — and that C.J. Prosise might also be active. Prosise has been inactive four of the past six games and hasn’t had a carry all season. He played only on special teams two weeks ago in Detroit in the only game in which he has been active since September.
While Prosise, a third-round pick in 2016, has battled a long litany of injuries, he has been healthy this season with Carroll reiterating that point again Wednesday.
“C.J. is ready to go, he is dying to play,’’ Carroll said. “He’s frustrated by not being able to play. He’s healthy and he’s talented, it’s just a matter of getting the slots right so we can get him on the field on game day. But I love what C.J. can do. So we feel like we have a lot of depth and we are not dependent on just one guy playing. We love the way Chris has played but we’ve got other guys that can go, too. So we’ll see what happens this week.’’
As for Penny, Carroll insisted the team is happy with his progress even though the first-round pick has essentially been the third-team tailback all season behind Carson and Davis.
“We’ve just got to get him out there,” Carroll said of Penny, who has 146 yards on 42 carries this season. “He just needs more turns. Mike has been very versatile in the throwing game, all the styles of runs. He’s just been really good at it and very effective. So we are just going with what looks right. It has nothing to do with where you got picked or where you came from so the opportunities can present itself, so the guys can show what they can do. That’s not just running back, that’s all the spots.”
“It’s difficult to go ahead and make that commitment (to playing Penny more) at this time. We have other guys that have been really effective so we are just bringing him along and hoping we can acclimate him and see him at his best. He’s got a lot to offer us that know of. So it’s just going to be a matter of time.”
McDougald played sparingly after halftime last week. Hill replaced him for the final two quarters and saw the most significant action of his career.
Hill got most of the starter’s reps last week in practice and will again this week, with McDougald unlikely to do much in practice.
“He’s going to miss today,” Carroll said of McDougald. “Hold him out for a little bit.”
If Hill starts, it would mean Seattle starting three of its 2017 draft picks in the secondary, with Tedric Thompson (free safety) and Shaquill Griffin (cornerback) alongside Hill.
“To see Delano look like he looked last week was really what we had hoped for,” said Carroll of Hill, who made a career-high three tackles. “But that’s just one game — he’s got to come back and show consistency and all of that, so we will reserve a little bit of accolades here. But it’s a marvelous statement (starting all three players potentially) and throw (rookie cornerback) Tre (Flowers) into that, too. He is this year’s draft pick. So that’s pretty good findings by the personnel guys.”
Carroll indicated Monday that Fluker — who sat out much of the fourth quarter last week with a calf injury — had recovered OK and might be on track to play against the Rams. But Carroll said Fluker felt worse Wednesday than he had on Monday. “He did come back feeling a little more sore today,” Carroll said. “So yeah, we’ve just got to take care of him, make sure we don’t push him back too soon.”
Hunt filled in for Fluker last week but Carroll said Pocic could be an option.
“Yeah,” Carroll said. “We’ve been back and forth with those guys, been a little bit about matchups and things this week.”
SEAHAWKS COULDN’T COMPETE WITH IRVIN’S HOMETOWN
Carroll also confirmed that Seattle tried to sign former Seahawk Bruce Irvin after he became a free agent Tuesday when he went unclaimed on waivers after being waived by Oakland.
Irvin instead signed a one-year contract with Atlanta, where he grew up, and also where former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is now the coach.
“He wanted to go home,” Carroll said. “(We) couldn’t do that for him. He’s from Atlanta. Couldn’t make it Atlanta.”