Pete Carroll on Seahawks' offense: "Big swing we've made last 3 weeks"
Let’s check on the current state of the Seahawks’ resurgent running game.
Their impressive starter for the last two games, rookie C.J. Prosise, has a broken shoulder blade. He might not be back this season.
His replacement as lead back for Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay (5-5) and beyond is Thomas Rawls. He was set to be the starter this season — until he was out two months with a cracked fibula. He played far more than expected last weekend in the win over Philadelphia. Monday, his coach said Rawls was “trashed” like he’d been in a “train wreck” from plowing his body into Eagles the day before.
The supposed relief for Prosise and Rawls, rookie Troymaine Pope, has a high-ankle sprain. That usually takes a month or so to heal — unless you are Russell Wilson.
The next option is a drafted rookie. But the Seahawks (7-2-1) didn’t think enough of Alex Collins to even have him in uniform against Philadelphia. He was healthy but inactive on Sunday, and he has just 19 yards on 10 carries through the team’s 10 games.
Other than that, Seattle’s shipshape at running back.
“It’s amazing to see it like that,” Carroll said Monday. “I may have mentioned just a week ago (after beating New England) we had one guy with a turned ankle that was coming out of the game. Then you see all these guys coming out on both sides of the ball, particularly the running backs took a big hit. It was unusual.
“It was a crazy day (Sunday) for the league. A lot of crazy stuff happened.”
It doesn’t sound good right now for Prosise.
The former Notre Dame wide receiver gained 234 yards rushing and receiving, including 142 on the ground, in his two starts the last two games, the wins over the Patriots and Eagles. He had a 72-yard run on his second carry against Philadelphia for the game’s first touchdown. Prosise got hurt on the third-to-last play of the first half, when Philadelphia linebacker Nigel Bradham hit him.
“We don’t know anything about that right now. We’re not going to know that for a couple weeks and how it’s turning,” Carroll said of Prosise’s fractured shoulder blade.
At least the coach said the injury will not require surgery.
Rawls got 40 snaps against the Eagles, far more than planned for his first game in two months. Rawls is now the lead back for perhaps the remainder of the regular season — and beyond.
“Oh, he’s banged up now. He threw his body around, like he was in a train wreck,” Carroll said. “But he’ll be taken care of this week. We’ll get him back and we’ll be excited to see him play for us.
“I think Thomas is one of those guys that he’s going to push the limits. He’s out there. We have to really take care of him during the week, which he’ll do, it’s already underway. This is his first real contact and he legitimately got after it. He’s a little bit trashed (Monday).”
Carroll said he’s been happy with Collins. In addition to his scant work, he fumbled and failed in short-yardage runs earlier this season.
“Alex has made a lot of progress. He’s really done some marvelous stuff since we were in camp,” Carroll said of his fifth-round pick. “He’s kind of restructured his body a little bit. He’s gotten in a different level of conditioning that we’ve seen him change. Lost some weight, trimmed down (he’s listed at 5 feet 10 and 217 pounds) ...
“I really feel comfortable with him fitting in our offense. He can do all of our stuff, third down, first down, short yardage. ... He’ll just figure in.”
He has to.
Pope’s high-ankle sprain is “legit,” Carroll-speak for major and a length absence. So for now it’s Rawls and Collins as the runners for Sunday at the Buccaneers.
If the Seahawks were truly loving Collins, he wouldn’t have been a healthy inactive while the undrafted Pope, days after getting promoted from the practice squad, played against the Eagles instead of him.
Carroll said George Farmer, on the practice squad, could be an option as a reinforcement at running back.
THOMAS, SHEAD UPDATE
Half of the Seahawks’ starting secondary has hamstring injuries that Carroll said Monday usually take up to two weeks to heal.
But the coach added a caveat to three-time All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas and starting cornerback DeShawn Shead being hurt.
“That’s what normal hamstrings are (10-14-day recoveries). But these guys... those guys are rare guys,” Seattle’s coach said.
“We’ll see what happens,” Carroll said. “We’ll see how they adapt and see what can happen.”
Thomas left the win over Philadelphia in the third quarter after grabbing his left hamstring while covering with Richard Sherman deep on Sherman’s interception of Carson Wentz.
Shead left after six plays Sunday. He felt the same pain in his hamstring he first noticed during a walk-through practice on Saturday.
“DeShawn thought he was going to be able to play. ... Then he felt a little bit of tightening and we thought, ‘Let’s not take a chance.’ That’s when you can really (injure) it badly.”
Thomas has never missed a game since the Seahawks made him the league’s 14th overall draft pick in 2010. That’s 118 consecutive starts, including postseasons and Super Bowls, to begin his career. He played Super Bowl 49 at the end of the 2014 season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder that required surgery the following offseason.
Shead has played in 55 consecutive games since late in the 2013 season. He’s started all 10 of Seattle’s games this season at cornerback opposite Richard Sherman.
Steven Terrell, a veteran special teams mainstay, replaced Thomas against Philadelphia. Terrell played 37 of Seattle’s 80 defensive snaps against the Eagles.
Usual nickel back Jeremy Lane moved to cornerback after Shead went out against the Eagles. Neiko Thorpe, another special teams mainstay and kick-cover ace since Seattle signed him Sept. 13, entered in nickel situations to play corner and Lane went back to his nickel spot.
Asked if Terrell will be the free safety and the Lane-Thorpe arrangement in nickel will continue against Tampa Bay and star receiver Mike Evans (who seems likely to get Sherman shadowing him) Sunday, Carroll said: “You’ll wait and see. We’ll show you that on the weekend. And we’ll wait and see how it goes. We’ve got to look at matchups. We’re not far enough into the plan yet.”
The coach said it “looks like” rookie starting left tackle George Fant’s shoulder he injured in the first half of the Eagles game is OK enough for him to make his fifth consecutive start on Sunday in Tampa. “He’s responded really well,” Carroll said. Fant missed 10 of the offense’s 67 plays against Philadelphia while getting treatment and examinations. Rookie Rees Odhiambo got his first sustained play of his career while Fant was out, and Carroll said he looked comfortable against a very good Eagles defensive front, the best Seattle’s played so far this season in the coach’s mind. ... Strongside linebacker Brock Coyle has a sprained foot, and rookie wide receiver Tanner McEvoy has a sprained toe. The team will determine their status for Sunday’s game through the week.
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle