Seahawks notebook: K.J. Wright remains out, Chris Carson to return vs Rams
The Seahawks are 2-2 after opening the season with three of their first four games on the road, sit in second place in the NFC West, and are coming off a 20-17 win over the Cardinals in Glendale.
Despite that, the conversation surrounding the team remains concerned, if not somber. The Seahawks were dealt a blow in the form of season-ending injuries to All-Pro safety Earl Thomas and promising rookie tight end Will Dissly. Following those losses, Seattle was told linebacker Mychal Kendricks – currently filling in for an injured K.J. Wright – would be suspended indefinitely (more on that here).
Still, head coach Pete Carroll was full steam ahead during his press conference Wednesday, and for good reason. Seattle is preparing for its second consecutive NFC West matchup. This time though, the Seahawks will be facing the 4-0 Los Angeles Rams, who currently lead the league in total yards (1,874), yards per game (468.5) and points per game (35).
Here’s what Carroll had to say about how the team is addressing recent injuries and what he expects to see from a powerhouse Rams offense Sunday.
Sean McVay’s offensive philosophy
Carroll had high praise for second-year Rams head coach Sean McVay, in particular taking time to praise his commitment to his offensive philosophy.
“His philosophy is really clear, you can really see it,” Carroll said. “They mix their play-action passes and running game beautifully. And they’ve done it with a style of formations that makes them a little bit unique. You can see that they have a strong belief in what they’re doing. Also, he has a real commitment to tempo and how he tries to utilize that. They’ve caught some teams at times that aren’t ready for their really hurried-up tempo that they use (and) they vary their tempo.
“He knows what he wants,” Carroll continued. “He’s carrying it out and no one’s really slowed him down at this point, so he’s on it.”
The last meeting at CenturyLink between the two teams was one of Seattle’s worst home losses in Carroll’s tenure. The Rams beat Seattle 42-7 and registered seven sacks of quarterback Russell Wilson. Rams running back Todd Gurley rushed for 152 yards and three touchdowns.
K.J. Wright will not be ready for Week 5
Carroll said linebacker K.J. Wright, currently recovering from knee surgery, will not be able to make it back in time for Week 5.
“He’s had a great few days,” Carroll said of Wright’s progress. “I just talked to him just a bit ago. He’s going to be off today and then the next three days will be solid days back to back to back. We’ll see how he tolerates that as he’s working his way back in in hopes that that kicks him into high gear for the next week.”
Without Kendricks, Seattle will likely turn to Austin Calitro, who worked primarily at middle linebacker in training camp.
“He’s played really well. He’s been tough, he’s tackled well, he’s played the scheme well, he’s played a couple different spots for us… everything he’s done has been really good. Honestly we’re a little surprised; we didn’t know he was going to be able to play at the level he has. But he’s been a good contributor whenever we’ve given him the opportunity. So if he’s the one going he should do a nice job for us.”
Seattle added a bit more depth at the position by re-signing Maurice Alexander, who is able to play both strong safety and weakside linebacker.
Chris Carson, Dion Jordan set to return
In better injury news, running back Chris Carson and defensive end Dion Jordan are expected to return this week.
Both players missed Seattle’s Week 4 contest against the Cardinals with hip injuries.
“We’re going to go light on him today,” Carroll said of Carson. “And then tomorrow he should (be) full go.”
Carson put up career highs in carries and rushing yards in a Week 3 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Running back Mike Davis played well in relief of Carson last week, finishing with 101 yards and two touchdowns.
Status quo on O-Line
The team has leaned on J.R. Sweezy to fill in at left guard in starter Ethan Pocic’s absence. While Pocic (ankle) is expected to return to practice this week, Carroll said the team will likely keep Sweezy in the lineup for now.
After allowing 12 sacks over the first two weeks of the season, the offensive line allowed just two sacks per game against the Cowboys and Cardinals.
“Yeah, I think we’re gonna go that way just because of the continuity the last couple weeks and the way he’s come off the football,” Carroll said. “And we’re gonna work Ethan back in and see how he progresses, he’s practicing today for the first time. But we feel really comfortable with D.J. (Fluker) and Sweez playing the guard spots for us. … Ethan is an extremely versatile football player, he can play tackle, guard, and center, so that’s a real benefit to have him available to us, particularly as he’s working his way back in.”