New playoff week. Same Seahawks situation with Marshawn Lynch.
Wait and see.
Pete Carroll said Monday his star running back did not have a health setback on Friday, the day Lynch decided he couldn’t play in Sunday’s wild-card playoff win at Minnesota.
So the sixth-seeded Seahawks (11-6) have started preparations for Sunday’s divisional playoff game at top-seeded Carolina (15-1) in the same spot with Lynch they were at this time last week: hopeful he can play for the first time since Nov. 15, but with no clear indication whether he will or won’t.
They can only hope he responds better to this week’s practices than he did after last week’s.
Multiple reports Saturday quoted Lynch’s Bay Area-based agent, Doug Hendrickson, saying Lynch “had a little setback on Friday” when he did not accompany the team to Minneapolis.
“No,” Carroll said Monday. “He just didn’t feel like he could go.”
The Seahawks had listed Lynch as a full participant in all three of last week’s practices. Those were his first workouts with the team since Nov. 12. His progress and appearance had Carroll saying Lynch was “ready to rock.” As late as Friday around noon time the coach told Seattle’s 710-AM radio Lynch “will play” against the Vikings.
Following Friday’s light practice Lynch informed the Seahawks just before they were leaving for Minnesota that he didn’t believe he was in good enough health to play. He also decided he wasn’t making the trip to Minnesota. He stayed back on the West Coast Sunday while his teammates pulled out a crazy, 10-9 win over the Vikings in the third-coldest game in NFL history.
“He really didn’t have the confidence that he would be able to go,” Carroll said Monday. “You know, this is his first surgery, and it happens to be right in his core. You all have watched him and you know what kind of runner he is, and all of the lateral things that he does with his body (that) is so abrupt and so sudden, he needs to feel that he can do those things in the end.
“Even though he can run fast and look like he is moving (in practice), he didn’t have the confidence he could go out there and react to guys and do that.
“So, there’s nothing we can do about that.”
Not now. The Seahawks years ago set the precedent of allowing Lynch to determine his own training regimen and readiness for games. It’s how Carroll and the team have gotten so much excellence and production on game days out of him. He became the foundation for the best five-year stretch in the history of Seahawks football as Carroll and general manager John Schneider have been giving him autonomy between and sometimes during games in exchange for yards and touchdowns on Sundays.
So will he play this particular Sunday?
“We’ll see how it goes,” Carroll said. “Get him out there practicing and see what that means. We don’t know yet.”
Carroll indicated “it really could” go up to Sunday’s 10:05 a.m. Pacific game time at Carolina before the Seahawks know whether Lynch can play against the Panthers.
“I don’t know. I can’t tell you. He doesn’t know yet,” Carroll said. “So we’ll have to wait and see. … One day at a time.”
Christine Michael had 70 yards on 21 carries against the Vikings with tough running through holes often clogged by defenders.
Carroll was impressed, saying Lynch’s fill-in “played like a pro in a difficult situation” against Minnesota.
We’ll likely find out Friday, Saturday or Sunday morning if Michael or Lynch will be doing that against the Panthers.
CARROLL SEEKS ANSWER FROM NFL
Carroll called the league’s officiating department to ask for an explanation as to why Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor got called for pass interference late in Sunday’s game in a downfield collision with Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph.
The two banged into each other as Chancellor, as he put it, “stood my ground.” But the call was on Chancellor and put the Vikings in Seattle territory to spark their drive to the eventual missed field goal with 26 seconds left that ensured the Seahawks’ win.
Chancellor said after Sunday’s game he thought the call was bad.
“I called the league office to find out what their interpretation of that was. It’s so close, because the defender has his right to his area, and the receiver is supposed to have to avoid to get by,” Carroll said. “As Rudolph was avoiding, Kam’s right hand came up, so his hand was outside here. They hit head to head. He made a move and came right into him, and Kam’s hand came up. That’s what they saw, so that’s what they called. Had his hand been inside, then they didn’t need to be a call because Kam was in his own space, and the receiver needs to be trying to avoid.
“They would have just overlooked that, they wouldn’t have called it, usually. They couldn’t have called it offensive interference, they wouldn’t call it defensive. They would just call it incidental (contact). Because his hand was out there, it gave the guy a reason to make the call.”
LUKE WILLSON RETURNING
The Seahawks expect TE Luke Willson, the starter with Jimmy Graham out since November with season-ending knee surgery, to play at Carolina after missing the win over Minnesota.