Sports

CB Tre Flowers questionable, Jamar Taylor may be more prominent for Seahawks vs. Saints

Suddenly, the Seahawks may be without a starting cornerback.

The team listed Tre Flowers as questionable to play Sunday against the New Orleans Saints because of a ankle injury that showed up for the first time on Thursday’s practice-participation report.

Flowers walked away with a trainer after stretching while his teammates began Friday’s walkthrough practice.

After practice, coach Pete Carroll said running back Rashaad Penny injured his hamstring during the walkthrough, which is unusual. Penny got added to the report as questionable for Sunday.

C.J. Prosise would move up to the second running back behind Chris Carson if Penny can’t play.

The Seahawks’ options at cornerback if Flowers can’t play Sunday would appear to start with Jamar Taylor. They signed the seventh-year veteran back last week to play nickel defensive back inside. He was a right cornerback backing up Flowers in training camp. Taylor was perhaps Seattle’s best cover guy in practices this summer, and he played well in his limited playing time against Pittsburgh. He was in tight coverage multiple times the Steelers threw incomplete his way to slot receivers.

The team released Taylor Aug. 31 among its final preseason cuts to set its original, 53-man roster for the start of the regular season. He spent a week at home in the Phoenix area, where his wife is from, before he re-signed with the Seahawks last week.

Taylor played 19 snaps at the nickel back in the win at Pittsburgh last weekend, 34 percent of the defense’s plays. Seattle has gone more than twice the amount of base 4-3 defense with linebackers K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks flanking Bobby Wagner instead of nickel with two linebackers this season.

The options at nickel if Taylor plays cornerback against the Saints are Akeem King, who was the sixth, dime defensive back for two snaps against the Steelers, and rookie fourth-round draft choice Ugo Amadi. Amadi was the nickel in the opener against Cincinnati, when Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw for 418 yards.

Tedric Thompson is the other Seahawks questionable to play Sunday. The free safety’s hamstring injury from the opener kept him out of the Pittsburgh game. Lano Hill played strong safety and Bradley McDougald moved to free safety for Thompson and had an interception in the third quarter against the Steelers.

Coach Pete Carroll said this week if not this week next week for Thompson. Even if he proves healthy by Sunday to play, signs are the Seahawks may stay with Hill and McDougald as the safety pairing against the Saints, who will be without 12-time Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees.

With Brees out following thumb surgery this week, the Seahawks are preparing for former Minnesota starter Teddy Bridgewater to start on Sunday. Taysom Hill, a college quarterback at BYU the Saints have used far more as a runner and receiver in three NFL seasons, may also play some at quarterback for New Orleans in Seattle.

Ziggy Ansah is not on the injury report. Seattle’s top offseason acquisition missed the first two games trying to come back from shoulder surgery then a strained groin last month. Ansah, the 2015 Pro Bowl defensive end with Detroit, is set to make his debut Sunday as the bookend pass rusher opposite fellow new guy Jadeveon Clowney.

Starting guards D.J. Fluker and Mike Iupati missed some practice time earlier this week and some game time last weekend in Pittsburgh. Neither are on the injury report, so they are ready to start together on Sunday against the top sack team in the NFL through the season’s first two weeks.

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.
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