Duane Brown also talked about how he thinks his relationship with Germain Ifedi is helping the third-year tackle make progress this season.
Seattle Seahawks players, including quarterback Russell Wilson, met the media Thursday to talk about Sunday’s NFC West showdown against the Los Angeles Rams.
Here are the highlights of what we heard:
WILSON SAYS HIS HAMSTRING IS JUST FINE
Wilson was on the practice report again Wednesday due to a hamstring injury he suffered in the fourth quarter of the loss at Chicago in Week Two.
He has been on the injury report at least once each week since then, though always listed as a full participant, and he has not missed a snap in a game.
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Still, being listed on the report means Wilson is injured enough that he has to be treated during the week and that there is some question about his overall health.
As expected, Wilson downplayed the issue when asked about it Thursday, saying that even if he has to get any rehab — which he termed ‘pre-hab’ to emphasize that it’s a preventative measure — the team has to list him on the injury report.
“No I’m good,’’ Wilson said. “I feel great. (If) I get any prehab work they’ve got to put it on there. So I’m up here early in the mornings getting work and stuff. But no, I feel great.’’
We’ll take Wilson at his word.
But the bye week – which follows next week’s trip to London to play the Raiders — may also come at a good time for Wilson.
GEORGE FANT COULD HAVE A NEW ROLE IN THE OFFENSE
Seattle added Darrell Daniels to the roster as a second tight end this week after it lost rookie Will Dissly to a season-ending patellar tendon injury against Arizona.
But the Seahawks also have an alternate plan to get more snaps at tight end: They’ll use tackle George Fant there.
Fant actually got three snaps as an eligible tackle — essentially an extra tight end — last Sunday against Arizona. Wilson and other players said Thursday they expect Fant to do even more of that Sunday against the Rams.
“Probably play this week in a big way,” said Wilson of Fant, who played some tight end at Western Kentucky in 2016, catching one pass.
Nick Vannett, who takes over as the primary tight end, said Fant will be used a lot when the team goes to “12 personnel” — meaning one back, two receivers and two tight ends.
“If we do go 12 personnel, we will probably have George Fant be like the big tight end, and me be like my usual role, so it won’t be too different,’’ Vannett said of how his role changes with Dissly out. “But the 11 personnel (one tight end) is going to be a little different, where I have to take on a bigger role.”
Seattle has used an eligible tackle often before, maybe most famously in the Super Bowl win over Denver when Alvin Bailey got 16 snaps, most coming in that role.
As Vannett noted, he’ll also have to play more in-line tight end with Dissly out. Dissly had become the primary “blocking” tight end with Vannett used more in receiving roles.
The good news, according to Vannett, is that he says he’s never felt more comfortable in his three years in the NFL as a blocker than he does now.
Vannett says a lingering back issue has cleared up a lot this year — Pilates, apparently, has helped — and also that he now has more experience and a greater understanding of what to do.
“Sunday was my best blocking game I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Vannett said. “So that was kind of good for me, gives me confidence to move forward.”
SUH WILL TRY TO ‘PISS YOU OFF’
Sunday’s game will be the first for the Seahawks against tackle Ndamukong Suh — who signed with the Rams as a free agent last spring — since the opener in 2016 when he as a member of the Dolphins he famously sacked Wilson on a play in which Wilson suffered a high ankle sprain that ended up bothering him for much of the rest of the season (Wilson then also suffered a sprained knee two weeks later against the 49ers).
One Seahawk who has some extensive experience against Suh is guard D.J. Fluker, who faced him in 2015 and 2016 with the Chargers — games in which San Diego put up a combined 54 points, with the perception being that Fluker held up pretty well.
“You’ve just got to keep your pads low and keep your head back and really just be aware of him and where he is at at all times and everything, then you will have a good game,” Fluker said.
Oh, there’s also one other thing — try not to let it get to you when he attempts to make you mad.
Suh is known for trying to provoke opponents and Fluker said the key is to keep your head.
“I mean yeah, he wants to piss you off,’’ Fluker said. “And he picks his time and chooses when to make his fights, and the best thing you can do is play physical with him and everything. He’s a great player, too, so you’ve got to be on your P’s and Q’s.’’
Here is what opponents probably really want to try to avoid:
DUANE BROWN SAYS GERMAIN IFEDI IS PROGRESSING WELL
German Ifedi’s status as a first-round pick in 2016 and his struggles the last two years mean he remains a lighting rod for criticism until he proves definitively otherwise.
But Seahawks left tackle Duane Brown says there is no doubt Ifedi is making progress this season. Brown has mentored Ifedi for years since the two began working out together in the offseason when Brown played in Houston, where Ifedi grew up.
“Germain is doing quite well I think,’’ Brown said. “There hasn’t been a tackle in the league that has had the first three weeks that he had. He had (Denver’s) Von Miller, (Chicago’s) Khalil Mack on the road, and (Dallas’) Demarcus Lawerence here at home. And I thought he preformed pretty well. Obviously those guys are going to get their plays where they do well, but he held his own. He’s really been playing with a lot more confidence every week and that’s been big for us. I’m excited about it and I kind of knew that’s where he would head in the preseason and he’s held true. Also, he eliminated the penalties.’’
Ifedi at least has cut them down some — after being flagged an NFL-high 20 times last season, Ifedi has three penalties in four games this year, all for false starts.
Ifedi said in the preseason that having Brown join the team was one of the best things that could happen for his career, given their long relationship and how Brown — nine years older — has long been a trusted source of guidance.
Asked how he knew Ifedi could take a positive step this season, Brown said: “Just the time I spent with him. When I got here last year, I think that I was kind of tasked with being his mentor. I’ve kind of been that from afar before, being able to work with him.
“He’s always had the tools to be pretty good, I think it was just about getting his mentality right and getting his confidence level up. When you’re able to play in this league with confidence, you can accomplish anything. He’s been able to do that, he’s been confident in his ability in his pass sets and knowing how to use his tools. It’s been great to see.”