Seahawks LB Michael Wilhoite prepares for possible start in place of Bobby Wagner
The Seahawks are prepared to go with Michael Wilhoite at middle linebacker if Pro Bowler Bobby Wagner can’t recover from a hamstring injury in time for Seattle’s game against the Rams, head coach Pete Carroll told reporters Wednesday.
“(Wilhoite has) really brought the leadership and the toughness and the versatility,” Carroll said.
Carroll noted that while he would have liked to see more availability from Wilhoite, who earlier this year struggled with a nagging calf injury, Carroll is confident he has the skills to get the job done.
“He’s played different spots already for us and done well, and he can really handle, if he has to be the caller, he can do that.”
Both Wagner and linebacker K.J. Wright will miss time this week at practice. Wright is going through concussion protocol and will need to be cleared by doctors before returning to the field, and Wagner will be sitting out with a hamstring – though it hasn’t stopped him from preparing.
“He’s very upbeat and very positive. He’s planning on getting ready (to play),” Carroll said.
Earlier Wednesday, the Seahawks promoted Paul Dawson from the practice squad to add linebacker depth, taking the place of right guard Oday Aboushi, who was put on IR with a shoulder injury.
The Seahawks’ defense will need all the help it can get facing a Rams’ offense headed by running back Todd Gurley. Gurley, who is averaging almost 80 yards per game, surpassed 1,000 rushing yards in the Rams’ loss last week to the Eagles. He has 1,035 yards on the season with 10 rushing touchdowns, plus 602 receiving yards and another three touchdown catches from quarterback Jared Goff.
The two teams will meet Sunday in a game that determine the NFC West lead with just two games to go in the regular season.
“The offense is really, I think, clearly built around his ability and the dynamics of what he offers,” Carroll said of Gurley and the Rams. “He’s a terrific outside runner and inside runner, he’s great with the ball in his hands coming out of the backfield – he can do everything. The remarkable thing about Todd is he’s been so durable and so consistent… there’s no denying it, he’s really the centerpiece.”
In other injury news, running back Mike Davis (ribs) and defensive end Dion Jordan (neck) are expected to practice Wednesday. Defensive tackle Nazair Jones (ankle) is still going through the rehab process and will not practice.
Running back Chris Carson (ankle), who is on Injured Reserve, is back up and running after having a setback in his recovery last week. Carroll is hoping the setback delayed his return by no more than a week or two.
“I don’t know if he would’ve been able to practice this week anyway, but he had a chance – we were entertaining the thought,” Carroll said. “So that probably goes to next week, is how we would think of it. That’s how I’m thinking of it. There was a bit of a setback, but he’s back working again, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.”
After being activated from the PUP list last week, cornerback DeShawn Shead (knee) made it through his first week of practice and should speed things up in his second.
“We’re just looking for indications of how far along he’s come,” Carroll said. “He’s able to go, he’s running fast, he’s working hard. We don’t have much time to take, but we’ll take all we can to figure this out.”