RENTON — No team in the NFL gave up more passing yards in Week 1 than the Seahawks, who survived the 418 put on them by Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton to forge a 21-20 victory.
And now, injuries could mean a few changes in the back end might be on the horizon as Seattle heads to face the Steelers, who ranked second in the NFL in passing a year ago.
Seahawks free safety Tedric Thompson, whose misplay on a long pass late in the second quarter turned into a 55-yard Bengals touchdown, sat out practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury.
The injury was not mentioned during coach Pete Carroll’s news conference held before practice, so it’s unclear if it’s a serious issue. Thompson talked to media Wednesday and didn’t mention it.
But any sort of injury could compel the Seahawks to consider going with Lano Hill alongside Bradley McDougald at safety.
Carroll shooed away a question on Monday about whether the team would look to potentially replace Thompson, saying only, “We’re playing ball. We’re not talking about that.’’
But he also said on his radio show Monday on ESPN 710 Seattle that Hill deserves a chance to play more. Hill started last season’s final two regular-season games at strong safety, with McDougald at free safety, and the Seahawks won both to clinch a 10-6 season and a playoff berth. Carroll had hinted Hill would start the playoff game against Dallas before it was revealed Hill had a hip injury that required surgery.
Hill was recovering and getting back into football shape midway through the preseason but is healthy now and practiced fully Wednesday. The media is not allowed to watch practice, but given Hill’s experience and what Carroll has said in the past, the assumption is that Hill worked with the starting unit alongside McDougald with Thompson out.
“Hill’s been doing good. He’s moving around,” defensive passing-game coordinator Andre Curtis said after practice.
Second-round pick Marquise Blair could also be a consideration. But his progress was slowed when he missed much of the offseason program due to injury and then suffered a back/hip injury in the second preseason game.
“He’s battled back and he’s practicing hard out there today,’’ Curtis said. “It looks like physically he’s back to his old self. And that’s just catching him right back up and allow him to continue — the only thing that kid is missing is experience.”
The Seahawks could also have a new nickelback after Jamar Taylor re-signed on Tuesday. Carroll confirmed Wednesday that Taylor will go back into the competition at nickel, where rookie Ugo Amadi got the start Sunday.
Amadi, though, suffered a shoulder injury against the Bengals and was limited in practice. Carroll said it’s not a given he will be able to play against the Steelers. Carroll said before practice that Amadi would “go today,” but he was then officially listed as limited in practice.
Taylor was with the Seahawks throughout the offseason and appeared to be the starting nickel at the end of the preseason before he was released in the roster cutdown to 53 players.
“He’s really fast,’’ Carroll said of Taylor, who has 41 NFL starts in a career dating to 2013. “He’s tough and he fit through the scheme well. He did a nice job. Could’ve easily been here on Day 1, we just made the choice the way we did. We feel fortunate to get him back.”
One assumption is that the Seahawks cut Taylor, a vested veteran, only to then bring him back in Week 2 so they would not have to guarantee his salary. But Taylor said the Seahawks didn’t tell him anything about returning when he was released.
“I didn’t think I was coming back here, just the way that everything moved and them with the young guys,’’ Taylor said. “I was thinking maybe they kind of were looking at the young guys and they just wanted them to step up right now. So I really didn’t know.’’
Taylor said he was surprised to be released but also said “it’s the NFL, so nothing seems to amaze you.” He said he was on his way to Los Angeles for a tryout with the Chargers when the Seahawks called Monday and he said it was “a no-brainer’’ to tell the Chargers thanks but no thanks and re-sign with Seattle.
Depending on Amadi’s status, Seattle could have just four healthy cornerbacks Sunday as Neiko Thorpe appears unlikely to play with a hamstring injury.
And if Thompson’s injury is significant, the secondary would obviously be that much thinner.
Thompson’s misplay on a 55-yard John Ross III touchdown as well as the secondary’s overall struggles had already led to lots of speculation on social media and elsewhere about whether the team would look to replace him this week.
Carroll said Monday he thought Thompson was maybe trying too hard to make the big play. Asked about that comment Wednesday, Thompson said only, “I just had a bad game, that’s really all it was.’’
Carroll has often said players have to practice during the week to play, particularly at positions such as safety that don’t typically have a rotation.
So, the next few days could be pretty telling about the makeup of Seattle’s secondary come Sunday.