Week 2 Players To Watch: Seahawks vs. Steelers
The Seahawks are likely to be without two starters and maybe a third for Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh.
Plus, Ziggy Ansah’s Seattle debut remains in question.
Defensive tackle Poona Ford and free safety Tedric Thompson are doubtful to play against the Steelers, according to the injury report the Seahawks sent to the NFL on Friday. Under coach Pete Carroll, players who have been listed as doubtful have rarely played.
Ford strained his calf in last week’s opening win over Cincinnati.
Thompson got a hamstring injury, apparently in that game. He misplayed a lofted pass into a Bengals touchdown.
“We find out what happens here at the end of the week,” Carroll said back at team headquarters following Friday’s practice, before the team’s flight here to Pennsylvania.
Asked if Thompson was going to be on that flight, Carroll said: “We can check the itinerary, or whatever that thing is called...the manifest.”
The options to start in Pittsburgh in the likely event Thompson does not: Lano Hill, back from a cracked hip that ended his 2018 season prematurely and limited him in August, and rookies Marquise Blair or, less likely, Ugo Amadi.
Hill and Blair would be strong safeties and move Bradley McDougald from strong to free safety. McDougald would stay at strong safety, where he played last week, if Amadai plays safety. The rookie fourth-round draft choice from Oregon is a free safety.
Carroll said Hill “has done really well. He’s come back to be back at full speed. He’s been practicing with us for quite some time now.
“If he gets a chance to play,” Carroll said of Hill, “he’s ready to go.”
Amadi was the first nickel defensive back last weekend. Since then, the Seahawks have re-signed veteran Jamar Taylor to be a new nickel back. Taylor has played Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers four times, from when he was a starter for the Cleveland Browns in 2016 and ‘17.
I asked Taylor if he thought that experience against Pittsburgh was a factor in the Seahawks signing him back this week. They cut him Aug. 31.
“We’ll see,” he said, grinning.
Ansah is coming off shoulder surgery that ended his 2018 season with Detroit, then a strained groin last month. The 30-year-old was listed as questionable to play last weekend then did not play. The 2015 Pro Bowl defensive end is eventually going to be Seattle’s bookend edge rusher with newly acquired Jadeveon Clowney.
We’ll see if that will begin in Pittsburgh.
“He practiced all week long,” Carroll said. “He did all right. ...He wasn’t limited, at all.
“At this point, he’s almost there. He may be there. We’ll find out, see if we can get him to play this week. He’s getting really close. If he doesn’t go this week, he certainly has a great chance for next week.”
Special-teams captain Neiko Thorpe is doubtful because of a hamstring injury he got in the win over the Bengals.
Carroll said rookie first-round draft choice L.J. Collier is fully recovered from the severely sprained ankle in late July. Collier hasn’t played since, but the defensive end was back practicing this week.
“L.J. is back. He’s ready to play in this game,” Carroll said. “If we want to put him up (among the 46 players active on game day Sunday) he can go. ...
“In our mind, he can play. And we just have to wait and see what the rotation would be if we put him up.”