By Brady Henderson
You weren’t alone if the Seahawks’ latest white-knuckle affair left you wondering when their starting offensive tackles will return.
“I was asking that question last night on the plane,” coach Pete Carroll told 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Danny” on Tuesday.
The Seahawks have been playing with backups at both tackle spots for a month, and that was never more evident than in their 14-9 win over St. Louis Monday night. Seattle entered the game as a double-digit favorite yet escaped with a narrow victory after allowing a season-high seven sacks and rushing for a season-low 44 yards.
“I don’t remember having that much trouble offensively at any time since we’ve been here,” coach Pete Carroll said after Seattle finished with 135 yards of offense and allowed seven sacks in a win over the Rams Monday night. (AP)
The good news: Carroll is hopeful that starters Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini will both be back sometime before Seattle’s Week-12 bye.
Okung, the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl left tackle, has been on short-term injured reserve since sustaining a torn ligament in the big toe of his left foot in Week 2. Seattle’s Week 11 game against Minnesota is the earliest Okung can return, and that’s the game Carroll said the Seahawks are targeting.
“Russell ran at the stadium yesterday, so that’s a really good sign,” Carroll said.
Giacomini has missed the last five games with a knee injury, and Carroll indicated that he could be closer to a return.
“We have to wait and see on Breno. He’s already made one good turn where he’s back to running and some of the rehab process,” Carroll said. “This is a really important week. Maybe he makes a good turn for us. He’s only a couple weeks away. Is it this week? I don’t know that, but hopefully two weeks (at most).”
Serving as the bookends of Seattle’s offensive line in their absence have been rookie seventh-round pick Michael Bowie and veteran Paul McQuistan, who moved over from guard. While they haven’t been the only guilty parties on an offensive line that has allowed 19 sacks over the last five games, all of the Rams’ seven sacks Monday night came from defensive ends Robert Quinn, Chris Long and William Hayes.
“They broke us down on the edge,” Carroll said. “Guys came roaring off the edge at us and regardless of the play passes that we tried and the different things we did, we just weren’t successful at taking care of them.”
The Seahawks have wanted Wilson to hold onto the ball longer than most quarterbacks, something that maximizes his threat as a runner but comes with the downside of exposing him to more sacks. Carroll said getting the ball out quicker is one way Seattle can mitigate its issues in pass protection.
“You have to get the ball out of the quarterback’s hands before they can even get to rushing,” he said. “We need to do more of it as long as it stays like this, and we have to run the ball better so that the play-action pass helps us pass-protection-wise, too.”
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.
Editor’s note: This version has been updated.