RENTON – In recent weeks, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has recognized the sad reality that game or practice injuries have sent young offensive linemen John Moffitt and James Carpenter to the sideline for the remainder of the season.
But to lose tackle Russell Okung to an injury sustained during a Greco-Roman takedown against Philadelphia on Thursday was hard to swallow. Okung suffered “extensive damage to his (pectoral muscle),” Carroll said Friday.
The Seahawks later confirmed Okung has a torn pectoral muscle, but did not say if he will have surgery. Several news outlets reported Okung will have surgery and be out for the final month of the season.
“He got thrown down after the whistle – really blatantly,” Carroll said of Okung’s encounter with Eagles defensive end Trent Cole. “Stuff like that happens in the game sometimes, but this was most unfortunate because he was damaged by it.”
Carroll said he was certain the NFL would “take a look at this one ... it’s worthy of their efforts ... he got grabbed under the arm and thrown down to the ground ... it had nothing to do with the play.”
Okung, the No. 6 overall pick in 2010, had been maturing into his role at left tackle, and had become an anchor on the burgeoning offensive line that has cleared the way for Marshawn Lynch to rush for more than 100 yards in four of the past five games.
Moffitt and Carpenter have had their knees operated on already, but their readiness for offseason work and next season’s training camp could be affected, as will Okung’s.
Paul McQuistan would be next at left tackle, with Lemuel Jeanpierre likely to step in at right guard, although Carroll did not want to speculate. Signing a free agent is another possibility.
The loss of both tackles and a guard cripples the continuity up front, Carroll observed, but “we’ve learned a lot, and we know a lot more where we’re going and what we’re capable of doing.”
Okung played “a fantastic football game” against Philadelphia, Carroll said. “He’s so much better than he was last year ... he looked great.”
Okung had a big block on one of the Seahawks’ highlight plays from the 31-14 win over Philadelphia – Lynch’s 15-yard touchdown run in which he somehow escaped what appeared to be a cordon of 11 Eagles.
“A defensive lineman was on Marshawn’s back; really had a wrap-up tackle from behind,” he said. “As Marshawn showed so many times, he’s not going to let that stop him, he’s going to keep digging and scratching and clawing. Russell came in and blocked about three guys who knocked that guy off the tackle.”
Lynch’s two touchdowns and 148 rushing yards caused the topic of his contract to arise, as he’s scheduled to be a free agent after the season.
“He’s a very important player to us,” Carroll said. “As we look ahead, and John (GM John Schneider) and I talk about what we’re doing, we really like this team and like the guys we’re developing. We like the guys who are coming up, and want to keep it together and keep this thing in order the best we possibly can. These are the guys we’ve chose to go with. We’ve got a great core of guys and we’re going to grow these guys up together.”
In addition to Lynch, he put defensive tackle Red Bryant and a few others also in that category. “There’s on-going (contract) talks,” he said.
Carroll was still excited by the completeness of the game against Philly as it featured a strong running attack, effective quarterbacking by Tarvaris Jackson, and a turnover-creating defense.
“This is what we’ve talked about since the day I got here,” he said.
Carroll pointed out a strong effort by cornerback Brandon Browner, who had two interceptions after having committed a number of penalties in recent weeks. Golden Tate’s four catches and a touchdown also were impressive, he said.
“I believed in his talent since the day he stepped on the field,” Carroll said of Tate. “We took him high and I’ve loved his natural playing ability and ball sense in general.”
Tate had been slow to have an impact, and Carroll said he’s been tough on him.
“I love him, and I have been hard on him,” Carroll said. “I’m always on his butt about something, but it’s because he’s really good and he’s going to be a really good player for us.”
TIME OFF FOR HAWKS
The payoff for playing games on Sunday and Thursday is that the Hawks don’t take the field until a week from Monday when St. Louis comes to CenturyLink Field.
“We’re going to take a break now, guys will be off until Tuesday, coaches are going to get out of here a couple days,” Carroll said. “This is a terrific opportunity for us to get fresh and see where this takes us, but we’re looking forward to a big finish here and get cranked up on Monday night. That will be a big event, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks