By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer
RENTON, Wash. (AP) – Pete Carroll insisted through the offseason the Seattle Seahawks would return to their roots of being based around a solid run game.
They’ll need to be that way at least in the short term, with wide receiver Doug Baldwin likely out the next couple of games because of an MCL injury in his right knee suffered in the season-opening loss to Denver.
Carroll was evasive about an exact timeline on Baldwin and vague about the specifics of the injury. He said it would be “maybe a couple of weeks” for Baldwin, but would only say it would be difficult for Baldwin to be able to play next Monday against Chicago. As for the injury itself, Carroll said “he does have MCL issues,” but provided no other details.
No matter how long Baldwin is out, it’s bad news for Seattle’s offense, which showed flashes in the opener against Denver but had too much inconsistency, especially on third downs.
“He’ll be able to get back from this. He’ll come back from it. It just depends. We’ve got to see it through,” Carroll said. “It’s really early in the year and we have to take care of him and look after him first and foremost and then we’ll only do what he is capable of doing.”
Baldwin was injured in the first quarter of Sunday’s 27-24 loss to Denver. He was rolled up on from behind and left the game, only to return for a brief stint in the second quarter. Baldwin changed out of his uniform into sweats and watched the second half from the Seattle sideline. He played just 11 of 55 offensive snaps.
To add depth at wide receiver, Seattle moved Keenan Reynolds from the practice squad to the active roster and released safety Shalom Luani, who was acquired in a trade with Oakland at the end of training camp.
While the absence of Baldwin will put more attention on veteran Brandon Marshall and Tyler Lockett, the biggest boost to Seattle’s offense would be getting its run game going. Seattle had 16 total rushing attempts against the Broncos, 14 of those by running backs. Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny each had seven carries, although Carson was far more productive and appears to have earned the nod as the primary ball carrier.
Carson finished with 51 yards on his seven carries, along with three receptions. Carroll said Penny is still regaining his form after missing the final couple weeks of the preseason following hand surgery.
“Chris was really good and really aggressive with the plays that he had,” Carroll said. “Rashaad looked a little rusty to me and I visited with him about it. He had only one really good week of practice coming back and it wasn’t enough. He needs more work. He wasn’t as responsive as he was before he had to sit out a little while.”
The reasons for Seattle’s lack of a run game were plenty, including penalties and down-and-distance situations. But the biggest culprit was Seattle’s inability to extend drives. Seattle was just 2 of 12 on third downs and had no conversions in the first half, when it ran a mere 24 offensive plays.
Seattle’s first third-down conversion didn’t come until midway through the third quarter, when Russell Wilson hit Marshall on a 20-yard touchdown on third-and-7. Carroll was most irritated about Seattle missing on several third downs of five yards or less.
“Every one of them should have been conversions. That changes the complexion of everything about the game,” Carroll said.
NOTES: Carroll said there were no other injuries of significance coming out of the game. … Rookie LB Shaquem Griffin had a rough debut with a few mistakes, Carroll said. Griffin had two tackles and saw Austin Calitro take some of his playing time. “He had some problems on some stuff,” Carroll said. “He got fooled on a couple of things, but he played hard, played tough.”