Pete Carroll details what worked for Seahawks in win vs SF, and D.J. Fluker’s injury status
Sounds like the Seahawks will have Chris Carson back this week from a dislocated finger.
But they are going to be without D.J. Fluker, their best run blocker, for a least a couple games.
They have a plan for that. It’s one that’s already worked once this season. It’s an undrafted waiver pickup this fall from the Raiders, not Seattle’s second-round draft choice last year.
Coach Pete Carroll said Monday Carson is “fine” and should be able to play next Monday night at home against Minnesota. Carson dislocated his finger after rushing for 69 yards in Sunday’s win over San Francisco.
Fluker has a “substantial” hamstring injury, a grade-one strain that will keep him out at least two weeks, Carroll said. The right guard missed the final 11 offensive plays of Seattle’s run-away win over the 49ers.
“It was substantiated that he’s got a hamstring injury, and it’s going to be a little bit,” Carroll said. “So we are going to wait and see how he does. (He’s) pretty sore today.
“It’s a couple weeks, usually. We’ll see what happens. I don’t know if he’ll do better than that or not.”
What the Seahawks (7-5) will also see this week when they begin practicing for the Vikings (6-5-1) and trying to maintain their standing as the NFC’s fifth of six playoff seeds: Jordan Simmons at right guard.
Seattle claimed Simmons off waivers from Oakland in early September. That was a relatively insignificant signing, not even the more noteworthy waiver pickup of that day.
Then Fluker strained his calf near the end of the home loss to the Chargers on Nov. 4. He missed the following game at the Rams.
Simmons started that day in Los Angeles. Despite it being Simmons’ first NFL start, despite Seattle also missing the injured Carson, the Seahawks rushed for a season-high 273 yards against the NFC West-champion Rams.
That was on Simmons’ home college field from when he was at USC. But he barely played for the Trojans because of injuries. He laughed after the game saying his Seahawks debut was the most he ever played on the field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Simmons, 6-3 and 339 pounds, was on Oakland’s practice squad last season. The Raiders signed him in 2017 as an undrafted rookie free agent.
Simmons found on that Thursday before the Sunday game at the Rams he was starting, because Fluker could not. Simmons has this entire week into next to prepare to block the Vikings.
“Jordan jumped in the game (against San Francisco) and did a nice job, again, and is moving in the right direction to really be a viable option for us. And he didn’t get much practice time,” Carroll said.
“So when he does get the practice time, like he did for the Rams game, he’s done a very good job with it. So we are going to count on him playing.”
Where does that leave Ethan Pocic?
The same place he’s been for months: not as strong or stout as Fluker, J.R. Sweezy or Simmons to fit in the league’s top-ranked rushing offense.
Carroll had to be asked about Pocic on Monday to even mention the second-round pick out of LSU last year. The coach charitably said Pocic is “always” competing for playing time. But by actions and words, he is not the option the Seahawks want to have to use at guard.
Pocic started the first two games of the season, when Fluker was out with another hamstring injury. Seattle lost both games while running just 27 percent of the time and passing it 73 percent. Russell Wilson got sacked 12 times in those defeats at Denver and at Chicago.
Since then, Fluker, Sweezy and now Simmons have started at guard. No NFL team has run the ball more often or for more yards than the Seahawks. Pocic has been on the bench and usually a healthy inactive on game days. And the Seahawks have won seven of 10 games.
Four games remain in the regular season. Three of those are a home: against the Vikings, the Chiefs Dec. 23 and the Cardinals on Dec. 30. Seattle’s lone road game this month is at the 49ers Dec. 10. The Seahawks lead Minnesota by a half game for that fifth seed and first of two wild cards in the NFC.
Carroll said Sunday after the Seahawks’ third straight victory, 43-16 over the 49ers, that being in the fifth of six playoff spots right now :doesn’t mean anything. Haven’t done anything yet.”
The fifth seed plays at the fourth seed, the division winner with the worst record, in round one of the playoffs next month. The six seed plays at the three, which right now apparently will be NFC North-leading Chicago. The Rams and NFC South-leading New Orleans are in line to be the teams waiting to host the winners of the wild-card round.
“We’re in a very upbeat mode about going after this end of the season. The fourth quarter is starting, so it’s time to try and finish this thing,” Carroll said of what has been the Seahawks’ best month the last half-dozen years. “We kind of know what we’re trying to do. We’ve got a good feel for it. Now we’ve got to go play good games one week at a time.”
Yards allowed, but not so much concern
Carroll said he wasn’t as alarmed by San Francisco backup quarterback Nick Mullens passing for 414 yards against Seattle’s defense on Sunday as you may be.
“There’s a lot of stuff that we saw and hopefully learn and can do better and cover a little better and tackle a little bit better,” Carroll said.
The 49ers got many of their yards on screen passes and runs after catches, and on Dante Pettis’ 75-yard catch and run for a touchdown.
“There’s a couple play concepts we didn’t play very well in the throwing game,” Carroll said. “We missed a couple tackles in open field that really weren’t difficult tackles. DBs (defensive backs(, really, had three big misses that caused a lot of yards. We had a big bust on the 75-yard play that should never happen.
“That’s about it. That’s enough. That’s about 250 yards’ worth right there.
“We can fix that.”
Carroll was more enthusiastic talking about the defense forcing three turnovers against the 49ers. That’s four takeaways in two games, after none in 3 1/2 previous ones.
“When we get three turnovers,” Carroll said, “we pretty much win.”
Wright still on hold
On Sunday, K.J. Wright missed his ninth start in 12 weeks since his arthroscopic knee surgery in August that was supposed to sideline him a month, at most.
On Monday, Carroll had no more word on when—or if—his Pro Bowl weakside linebacker will play this season.
“Nothing yet,” Carroll said. “He had a very successful week of rehab, the procedures that he went through. We’re hoping that he’ll be able to get going. He has not done a lot of running yet. That’s not been part of the process. So, this week starts the conditioning stuff back.
“I don’t know how much he’ll get to do this week. We just have to see how he feels. I don’t know that yet.”
Kendricks ready for a full game
Austin Calitro had 10 tackles against San Francisco, second only to Superman Bobby Wagner on Sunday.
But it sounds like Calitro will yield to Mychal Kendricks the job as the weakside linebacker for Wright.
Kendricks started two games in September, the first one in Chicago in week two days after Seattle signed him. That was following his release by Cleveland in late August. The Browns cut him after he admitted to insider trading. The NFL suspended Kendricks for that, from October. Terms of his suspension allowed him to return to practice two weeks ago, and play again for the first time Dec. 10 against Minnesota.
“Yeah, he’ll be ready to go. He practiced really hard the last two weeks and he stayed in shape going into it,” Carroll said.
“He looked great in the last two weeks. So we don’t have any hesitation that he can play a full game.”
Running back C.J. Prosise is having abdominal surgery, Carroll said.
The Seahawks put their oft-injured third-round pick on injured reserve Saturday. He’s played in 16 of a possible 44 regular-season games since Seattle drafted him. This is his eighth injury in less than three seasons with the team.