The center position on the Seattle Seahawks’ embattled offensive line is not necessarily Drew Nowak’s to keep.
So says Pete Carroll.
The coach said this week between practices for Sunday’s game between Seattle and the unbeaten Bengals in Cincinnati that part-time 2014 starter Patrick Lewis remains a candidate to start.
Carroll declared there’s a competition at center with Nowak, the former college defensive tackle and 2014 practice-squad guard who has made his first four NFL starts this season.
In those starts, Seattle (2-2) has just five touchdowns in 42 offensive drives and has allowed 18 sacks in four games.
Lewis started four games late last season when two-time Pro Bowl center Max Unger, now with New Orleans, was injured and Seattle was rallying with six wins in a row. Lewis drew Carroll’s and line coach Tom Cable’s praise at the time for being stout.
Lewis then entered training camp as a candidate to replace Unger as the full-time starter, but spent much of August as the fourth-string snapper.
Yet he made the 53-man roster for the regular season, and Lemuel Jeanpierre, the primary backup to Unger for five seasons, was released at the end of preseason.
Did Lewis do anything to fall so far out of favor with Seahawks coaches this summer?
“No, it just turned a little bit, the competition of it,” Carroll said this week.
“And Patrick’s not out of this thing. He’s a good player. He has won games for us in the past. We know that. And so he continues to stay very close, and the competition is good there.
“There will be a time if the opportunity opens up for him, he’ll be ready to jump at it.”
Carroll said there will be no changes on the starting offensive line “right now.” Asked if there would be any changes this week, Cable said “No. Competition, always. But no.”
LYNCH is LIMITED IN RETURN TO PRACTICE
Marshawn Lynch practiced on a limited basis, keeping his status for Sunday’s game in doubt, but with a lean toward playing for the first time in two weeks.
Lynch hadn’t practiced since Sept. 24, three days before he left the win over Chicago in the second quarter with what Carroll has since said was a “slightly pulled” hamstring. Carroll said the team will likely take through the end of this week before deciding whether the NFL’s rushing leader since 2011 plays or misses a second consecutive game.
Running back Fred Jackson did not practice again, but Carroll says the 34-year-old has looked surprisingly good for having sustained a high-ankle sprain against the Lions only days ago. The team isn’t ruling out Jackson for the Bengals game.
Brandon Mebane practiced for the second consecutive day, increasing the likelihood the nose tackle will play Sunday. He missed the Lions game with a strained groin.