RENTON Doug Baldwin has played in 97 regular-season games and 12 playoff games including two Super Bowls.
The number of games he’s missed in seven NFL seasons: Two. That was back in 2012, his second season with Seattle.
So no wonder when he was asked Friday whether he will play again on Sunday night against Indianapolis despite being listed as questionable with the strained groin he says is tricky because of how he can’t really test it right now without re-injuring it, Baldwin said: “That’s the plan.”
He’s been saying that all week.
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Friday was the first time he practiced since he got hurt in the fourth quarter of last weekend’s loss at Tennessee. It was on a limited basis, but coach Pete Carroll said his $46 million wide receiver who tied Bobby Engram’s franchise record with 94 catches last season looked good Friday.
Carroll sounded encouraged. Of course, when doesn’t Carroll sound encouraged.
But with Baldwin’s mentality and proven history, the coach has reason to be.
“Doug made it through practice today. Did a nice job,” Carroll said. “We got to make sure all the way up to game time that he that he’s feeling good enough to carry out a full game plan and all that.
“We’re prepared, you know, if he’s not able. But he looked good today and he’s very confident that he’s got a chance. But we will wait all the way till Sunday evening before we make that declaration.”
Baldwin had a career-high 10 receptions, on 15 targets, last weekend. He has 20 catches through three games, nine more than any other Seahawk (tight end Jimmy Graham has 11).
Preparations if Baldwin can’t play include more of rookie Amara Darboh. Russell Wilson threw to him just once last weekend against the Titans, after Baldwin left the game, and it was incomplete.
Darboh, the third-round draft choice from Michigan, has one catch for 16 yards through three games. He had zero catches through the first three preseason games last month.
“We’re really pleased with his progress. He will play more,” Carroll said. “He will pick up some snaps here particularly if Doug can’t go a full load.
“He’s just done a nice job. He’s a very mature kid and has handled stuff learned really well. Still new, you know. Still new, so there’s things that still have to come to him. But it’s been very obvious that he has a chance to help us out.”
Baldwin said he got hurt earlier in the Titans game, then played through it into the fourth quarter.
After he left Wilson threw to Graham five times. He targeted Tyler Lockett for the only three times in that game. He threw to C.J. Prosise once before the third-down back got injured again; Prosise is doubtful to play against the Colts because of an ankle injury.
So, yes, if Baldwin doesn’t play Darboh will need to take a bigger role against Indianapolis.
But expect Baldwin to play.
This is Prosise’s sixth injury in 17 months with the Seahawks and in the NFL. On Seattle’s third-round draft choice in 2016, Carroll said: “He ran today for the first time. It’s going to be– I mean he’s doubtful right now for, you know, good reason. It’s going to be hard for him to make it (Sunday). But we’ll follow him through this and see what happens.”
J.D. McKissic, inactive for each of the first three games, could get some of Prosise’s role as the third-down back against the Colts. So could lead back Chris Carson. The rookie seventh-round pick has done everything else through three games, including impress his coaches with his ability in the passing game.
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“His ball catching skills are really good. I mean not just good, he’s really good, and we didn’t know that,” Carroll said. “We just saw him catch the ball a little bit in drills and stuff like that, but when you get him on the field and then it doesn’t take long. He’s got really great confidence in his catching ability. He’s got strong hands and he’s a good route runner and good feel guy in the route schemes and stuff. So he has surprised us there.”
Carroll said the reason three-time All-Pro safety Earl Thomas missed practice Wednesday and Thursday was to rest a sore knee.
“We’re going to make sure we took care of it, but he’s fine,” Carroll said.
As expected, Thomas is not on the game injury list. He’ll start again Sunday night.
Carroll said special-teams mainstay Neiko Thorpe hasn’t gotten back well from his sprained ankle that caused him to miss last weekend’s game.
“He didn’t look like he was going to get there yet, but we’re still going to wait, that we can wait it out, you know, maybe he makes a turn,” Carroll said. “It’s been enough time where he could make a jump here. We’ll see what happens.”
Thorpe’s injury, that of D.J. Alexander, the 2016 Pro Bowl special-teams player with Kansas City who is returning Sunday after missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury and Dewey McDonald going on injured reserve Thursday are why Seattle signed linebacker Justin March-Lillard off waivers from Miami this week.
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“If it would be an emergency situation, we throw him in wherever we need him. And at that point he doesn’t know anything anyway, so it won’t matter.
“But I’m pleased D.J. Alexander made it back that he’ll be ready to go this week and that’s a really big addition back into the special teams group. It’s something we really needed and missed him and excited to have him back.”