Coming off a brutal game for tailback injuries, it seems as if the Seahawks depth chart is already settling nicely for the showdown Sunday at Tampa Bay.
Thomas Rawls is improving. His bumps and bruises are healing just fine. He is entrenched as the workhorse starter.
A week after being inactive, Alex Collins now moves up to backup duties. The fifth-round rookie from Arkansas has 10 carries for 19 yards and a touchdown.
And it now appears the No. 3 tailback spot will be occupied by George Farmer, the second-year pro from USC. He is expected to be signed from the practice squad and active for a NFL game for the first time Sunday.
“These guys have been really diligent about preparing for the opportunity,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
Carroll did note that Troymaine Pope, who left the game Sunday with a high-ankle sprain, has been “bouncing around” the facility already. Pope is still expected to miss multiple games. C.J. Prosise (shoulder) is out indefinitely.
Farmer is an intriguing talent. Coming out of Serra High School, he was arguably the top wide receiver prospect in the country for 2011. He was also a teammate of Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson.
As a freshman at USC, Farmer played in four games at running back.
After playing sparingly as a sophomore, mainly at wide receiver, Farmer suffered a serious left knee injury during a noncontact drill in April 2013 and missed that season. At the time, he was battling current NFL receivers Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor for starting spots.
Farmer could never shake injuries at USC, and he declared for the 2015 NFL Draft after his junior season. Dallas signed the 6-foot-1, 220-pounder as an undrafted free agent but waived him a few months later.
Seattle signed him to its practice squad before last season and converted him to cornerback. This season, Farmer moved to tailback.
“It was kind of difficult,” Farmer said. “I played a little running back here and there in college. It took watching some film to get acclimated to the position.”
After injuring his right foot in August, the Seahawks cut him. He said he spent the next eight weeks rehabilitating the injury.
In early November, he rejoined the team — but was cut again when Pope was signed. A week later, he was back on the practice squad — and was officially added to the 53-man roster Wednesday.
“Like we’ve said, it is next man up,” Farmer said. “It is the game of football. Guys go down. I am expected to come in and do what they ask. I am up for that opportunity. It is a huge opportunity.”
ODHIAMBO MAKES WEBB EXPENDABLE
To make room for Farmer, that roster spot opened up when the team waived veteran offensive lineman J’Marcus Webb on Tuesday, eating his guaranteed $2.45 million salary.
Webb started the first three games of the season with Germain Ifedi hurt but saw his role reduced mainly to special teams. He was inactive for the game against Philadelphia.
Webb’s release coincided with the way Rees Odhiambo has come on in the past couple of months. Carroll said that at the end of September the team noticed a “jump” in his production.
When George Fant was injured against the Eagles, Odhiambo came in to play left tackle.
“This is a really good deal for us,” Carroll said. “It’s really what we were hoping to see. ... If he plays this week, we’ll feel fine about it. If not, he’ll also be able to back up in a number of spots, which is really valuable to us.”
It appears defensive lineman Michael Bennett (knee) will be out again this week, missing his sixth consecutive game. Carroll is confident he will return next week for Carolina. ... Linebacker Mike Morgan (sports hernia) should also return for the Panthers, Carroll confirmed.