RENTON Kam Chancellor is apparently going to miss his second consecutive game with a pulled hamstring, which means the Seahawks are preparing Kelcie McCray to start again at strong safety Sunday night at Arizona.
McCray can only hope this game is less eventful and scrutinized for him than the last one.
“He’s listed as doubtful for the game,” coach Pete Carroll said following Friday’s indoor practice. “He had trouble both (Thursday) and (Friday). We don’t have to rule him out, but we’ll go to game time. But he was not able to do much” in practices this week.
Jimmy Graham is OK. He practiced fully Friday and will play against the Cardinals. He missed practice Thursday with what the team listed as a hip injury, Carroll on Friday said Graham merely had “general soreness” from last weekend’s win over Atlanta.
“Great. He’s doing good,” Carroll said of his tight end that has 18 catches the last three games. “He had a great day (Friday), so he’s ready to go.
“He was just sore from the game ... in the hip-age area.”
The Seahawks listed fill-in starting strongside linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis as out because of a sprained ankle. Cassius Marsh could start there, and recently signed Jordan Tripp could see time, too. But expect the Seahawks to be in nickel the majority of the time with the fifth defensive back, Jeremy Lane, replacing the strongside linebacker position.
The last time Seattle’s defensive starters played a full game against the Cardinals, last Nov. 15, the Seahawks were in nickel for 51 percent of its defensive snaps.
The Cardinals’ running game is better now than it was then, with big, fast David Johnson leading the league in yards from scrimmage and co-leading with eight touchdown runs. Arizona is fourth in the NFL averaging 124 yards rushing per game. But the Seahawks shut down a New York Jets’ running game that was averaging 131 yards per game, holding it to 58 yards on the ground, while playing nickel 87 percent of the time on Oct. 2.
We’ll see how they play it. Carroll was noncommittal on who will play strongside linebacker Sunday.
“We will show you that on game day,” he said with his usual Friday grin when discussing injuries.
Rookie defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson has a new knee injury he got in practice on Thursday. The team is not yet sure of the severity, pending tests.
McCray is preparing to make his fifth start in two seasons while Chancellor has been injured. One of those starts was Jan. 3 in last season’s regular-season finale at Arizona.
“Back at it again, man,” McCray said.
McCray became a focal point in the postgame of last Sunday’s win over Atlanta when three-time All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman mentioned McCray not playing much and Seattle missing Chancellor’s experience and communication as a reason for the blown coverages that led to Atlanta’s two touchdowns that quickly tied what had been a 17-3 game in the third quarter.
Asked if last weekend was weird for him to hear that, McCray said: “Naw, it wasn’t weird for me. It wasn’t weird, for me.”
I made the mistake of asking McCray what his “version” was of the blown coverages. Bad word choice.
“My version of what happened?” he replied.
I amended that to, what did happen?
“I’m not here to throw nobody up under the bus. We just got to do better, as a team,” McCray said. “The whole defense, we’ve got to do better. You know, it wasn’t one person’s fault, regardless of what everybody is saying or people are saying. It wasn’t one person’s fault. We’ve got to do better. We’ve got to do better.”
The Cardinals studied this week what the Falcons did last weekend to score two touchdowns in the third quarter on the confused Seahawks. On the play that Sherman blew up over, Atlanta used pre-snap motion with their outside receivers. Then the Falcons sent Jones out of the slot wide -- and wide open -- down the left sideline behind an in-then-out route short by tight end Austin Hooper, who was outside Jones wide left at the snap.
McCray and the Seahawks expect the Cardinals to try the same motions and crossing of receivers outside, high and low, on Sunday.
“Yeah, probably so, with the plays that we gave up last week, you know, it is a copycat league,” McCray said. “We’ve been seeing those concepts all year, anyway, but we will probably see those concepts more the next couple weeks because we had problems with it last week.”
The Cardinals, as you can see above, listed quarterback Carson Palmer as questionable. The team has said he has a strained hamstring. Palmer said the reason he came out of Monday’s 28-3 win over the Jets was because of cramping caused by dehydration.