Who steps up for Seahawks with Doug Baldwin and K.J. Wright injured?
The Seahawks are readying themselves for primetime.
Seattle will travel to Soldier Field Saturday in preparation for a Monday night kickoff against the Chicago Bears. The Week 2 contest will be another big test for the offensive line who, after facing Broncos linebacker Von Miller in Week 1, will attempt to stop pass rusher Khalil Mack (two tackles, a sack and a pick six against the Packers).
Also making matters difficult are the players who aren’t suiting up. Seattle will likely be without outside linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) and No. 1 wide receiver Doug Baldwin (knee/MCL).
What do the injuries to Baldwin and Wright mean for the Seahawks?
“It means it’s going to be harder to find a No. 1 receiver because Doug Baldwin has been the main guy now for so long with Russell Wilson,” John Clayton told Brock Huard and Mike Salk on 710 ESPN Seattle Wednesday morning.
Baldwin has led all Seattle receivers in five of the seven years he’s been in the league. The last Seahawks receiver to record more yards in a season than Baldwin was Golden Tate in 2013. Baldwin has been the only receiver or tight end to have more than 100 targets from Wilson in each of the last three seasons. His availability – he’s missed just one start in the last four years – has undoubtedly been a boon for Seattle, but it also makes looking for a replacement tricky.
“Someone now has to establish being the No. 1 option,” Clayton said. “You figure that it’s probably going to be two to four weeks, I would guess, maybe two to three weeks (before Baldwin can return).”
Baldwin has yet to officially be ruled out for Week 2, but head coach Pete Carroll on Tuesday said the injury “could take a couple weeks” and it would “be a pretty big accomplishment” if Baldwin managed to make it back in a few days’ time.
With Baldwin down, the team has signed wide receiver Keenan Reynolds from the practice squad. Reynolds played in the slot throughout training camp and made a few big plays in the preseason. Carroll said fans can expect to see more from wide receivers David Moore and Jaron Brown as well.
Also likely sitting out will be Wright, who had surgery on his knee just prior to the start of the regular season.
“Maybe after the Chicago game there’s an outside chance he may (return),” Clayton said. “But you can see the weakside linebacker position was a little bit of a problem because Shaquem Griffin struggled. I mean he did some good things, but not enough. And they had Austin Calitro out there trying to help him out a little bit, kind of mixing in. With as many young players as they had – and they had six players who were either rookies or first-year players (with Seattle) out there for 25 or more plays – those are the mistakes you’re going to have when you’re so young.”
Griffin got the start last week, but that job may go to Calitro Monday.
“Going into the game, just because of the setting and all that, the plan was to play (Shaquem Griffin more) but (Austin Calitro) played more than we probably had planned,” Carroll said. “Austin did pretty well… (but) we’ll find out during the week how the guys play and how they do and how practice goes, and we’ll see what we’re going to do about play time.”