Seahawks’ Kam Chancellor, Frank Clark listed as questionable vs Atlanta
RENTON – The Seahawks’ defense could be missing two key players Sunday against Atlanta with strong safety Kam Chancellor and defensive end Frank Clark listed as questionable.
Clark’s status has been in question for much of the week due to a hamstring injury that kept him from practicing the last three days. Chancellor, meanwhile, hurt his groin Thursday and didn’t practice Friday. Coach Pete Carroll said both will be game-time decisions.
“Talking to Frank today, he feels really good today, but we’re still going to have to wait a couple days and wait all the way up to game-time on that one, too,” Carroll said. “We’ve got to make a decision on how it’s going to affect long-term and all that. He thinks he’s ready to go, but we need to wait and see.”
Not having Chancellor or Clark would be significant in any game, but especially against an Atlanta offense that has statistically been the best in the league over the first five weeks of the season, ranking first in total yards and passing yards per game.
Kelcie McCray is Seattle’s backup at both safety spots and would step in at strong safety if Chancellor can’t play. McCray, acquired in a trade a week before the 2015 opener, started the final three games of the regular season last year while Chancellor was out with a tailbone injury. He’s also one of Seattle’s biggest special-teams contributors.
“Whenever we give him a chance, he’s done great,” Carroll said of McCray. “So we’re very fortunate to have him.”
Clark has had a bigger role along Seattle’s defensive line this season, playing roughly 58 percent of the team’s defensive snaps to rank third among that group. He’s tied with Michael Bennett for the team lead in sacks with three. Cassius Marsh would be one candidate to take some of his pass-rushing snaps if he can’t play Sunday.
Marsh has also been in the mix to take over strong-side linebacker for Mike Morgan, who was placed on Injured Reserve last week. But Carroll gave an indication that Kevin Pierre-Louis will get first crack at that job on Sunday, saying, “We’re going to see a lot of KPL” while mentioning that Marsh is ready to play there if needed.
Wide receiver Tyler Lockett was listed as a full participant in practice all week, a good sign that he’s getting back to full speed after dealing with a knee injury that limited his playing time and production over the last two and a half games. Carroll wouldn’t reveal if Lockett will resume his kickoff-return duties full time after ceding some of them to Paul Richardson and C.J. Spiller, but he said Lockett is ready to do so.
“He had a really good week,” Carroll said. “He’s back. Happy to say that.”
Running back C.J. Prosise is listed as questionable, but Carroll’s comments suggested that it will be another week before he returns from the broken bone in his wrist. That would leave third-down duties in the hands of Spiller, who filled in two weeks ago against the Jets and caught a touchdown pass a few days after signing with the team.
Prosie has been practicing, but he’s had to wear a protective device on his right hand that has made it difficult to handle the football.
“He had a new little contraption on there that worked out well,” Carroll said. “I think we’re going to go through this week, and then next week he’s going to go forward and see if we can get him out on the field the following weekend.”
There’s a good chance rookie tight end Nick Vannett makes his NFL debut Sunday. He’s missed the first four games due to a high-ankle sprain he sustained in the preseason. Carroll said he’ll be active.
“We’re really excited to get him back, so we’d like him to play,” Carroll said. “We’re hoping to get him in there in a number of situations. He’s been working so hard to fit in. He’s been very smart about his stuff. We don’t have any reservation or limitation on him playing.”
RB Thomas Rawls (fibula)
DT Quinton Jefferson (thumb)
RB C.J. Prosise (wrist)
DT Garrison Smith (oblique)
DE Frank Clark (hamstring)
SS Kam Chancellor (groin)