Seahawks notebook: A return for L.J. Collier, plus injury updates

Sep 11, 2019, 6:45 PM | Updated: 7:00 pm
Seahawks DE L.J. Collier...
Seahawks DE L.J. Collier (ankle) returned to team practice Wednesday. (Getty)

The Seahawks know they have to improve in their pass coverage after they allowed 418 yards from Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in a Week 1 win. Problem is, those improvements will have to come in a Week 2 road game against Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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The Steelers are coming off of a 33-3 loss to the New England Patriots. Roethlisberger threw for 276 yards, had an interception, and couldn’t find the end zone. But make no mistake: the Steelers aren’t likely to have another flukish performance in Week 2. Pittsburgh was fourth overall in total offense in 2018 (averaging 403 yards per game) and Roethlisberger led all passers in attempts (42) and yards per game (320.6). Pro Bowl wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster finished fifth league-wide in receiving yards (1,426).

Roethlisberger himself poses a unique challenge to the Seahawks’ defense.

“Definitely extending plays is the thing that sticks out, and he’s really hard to get down,” Linebacker Bobby Wagner said when asked about the Steelers’ veteran quarterback. “I think a lot of it is they don’t really give up too many sacks. That’s because their o-line is so good. And the other part is because he’s really big. I don’t know how tall he is but, probably six seven or something, I don’t know. It’s really hard to get him down so we have to make sure we don’t allow him to just sit back there and find the open receivers. We have to do a good job of pressuring him, do a good job of bringing him down.”

Injury updates

The Seahawks could potentially have a few injury-related changes on defense Sunday, though those won’t be finalized until the end of the week. But on Wednesday, Defensive tackle Poona Ford (calf) and defensive backs Tedric Thompson (hamstring) and Neiko Thorpe (hamstring) all sat out practice.

“Poona got a calf strain that we have to monitor,” Carroll said. “He wants to go but we are going to hold him back today and just go one day at a time and see how it goes.”

Centers Justin Britt (knee) and Joey Hunt (ankle) also sat out, though Carroll said he doesn’t believe Britt is in danger of not playing Sunday. Wide receiver Tyler Lockett sat out with a back injury.

Safety Ugo Amadi (shoulder) was a limited participant, while tight end Will Dissly (knee) was a full participant.

A debut for L.J. Collier?

For the first time since being carted off the practice field in late July, rookie defensive end L.J. Collier was able to practice with his team.

Collier, who suffered a rare type of ankle sprain in camp, returned to individual drills last week and was a limited participant in team drills Wednesday.

“It’s been frustrating,” the first-round pick said of being sidelined, “but I try to stay positive and just know that I’m going to be back out there eventually. It’s a long season. I’ve got to get myself back right to do what I came here to do and that’s help the team win and help the D-line any way I can.”

Collier found ways to stay involved while rehabbing his ankle — whether by paying close attention in meetings, studying, or being diligent about note-taking — but this Sunday could bring a chance to get back out on the field.

“I’m excited, man,” Collier said. “I’ve been waiting for it now, but I didn’t want to rush myself, and I feel like I’m ready to go. I’m excited just to get to play football. I’ve dreamed about this since I was a kid and I get to live it. I’m going to go out there and have fun and I’m gonna do my job.”

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Seahawks notebook: A return for L.J. Collier, plus injury updates