The Seahawks are likely going to be without two starters on the offensive line opposite the second-best pass rusher in the NFL right now.
That’s sub-optimal for Seattle heading to Cleveland to face Myles Garrett and the Browns on Sunday.
The Seahawks listed left tackle Duane Brown and right guard D.J. Fluker as doubtful on their injury report for the game.
“That means that when you are optimistic as I am, that’s there a chance,” Carroll said following Friday’s practice.
But even Carroll sounded less than optimistic Brown and Fluker will play.
Of the biceps injury Brown has played through for two weeks since hurting it during the loss at home to New Orleans in week three, Carroll said: “It’s not responding as well as we had hoped” in the eight days since the win over the Los Angeles Rams.
“He played Thursday night. That was heroic. I mean, he just toughed it out,” Carroll said. “It was hard, and it wasn’t...it was really uncomfortable for him. But he just wouldn’t say anything about it and finished the game and got it done. And...he knew, you know, that he was hurt. He knew it. And he played with it and he played through it.
“So we’ve got to take care of him and make sure. Sometimes the guys are so tough...he just toughed his way through it, is what happened.
“Couldn’t have been more admirable the way he pulled off a great game for us.”
Fluker pulled his hamstring in the Rams game. The coach said only “he’s got a hamstring” and that Fluker was making Friday’s trip to Ohio.
Jamarco Jones played so well in an emergency role for Fluker at right guard against the Rams the usual backup tackle seems likely to make his first NFL start Sunday, at right guard for Fluker again. That puts George Fant, the Seahawks’ other backup tackle, in line to start for Brown at left tackle. Fant has been playing about a dozen snaps per game at tight end as an extra blocker on running plays.
The Seahawks may have to go without that luxury Sunday if Fant plays for Brown. Then again, Cleveland is 30th in the NFL allowing 5.2 yards per rush, 29th in the league in run defense (150.8 yards per game) and allowed San Francisco to rampage for 275 yards on the ground Monday night. So Seattle hopes it can run against the Browns without extra blockers.
Ethan Pocic would be an option to start for Fluker at guard, if he was healthy. The backup guard and center is out for Sunday with a back injury. Pocic hasn’t played since Sept. 15, Seattle’s win at Pittsburgh in week two.
“So we are trying to figure out what we are going to do next,” Carroll said when asked about Pocic.
Asked if that ensures Jones will be the right guard against the Browns, Carroll didn’t bite.
He pretty much gnashed his teeth, instead.
“We are still working on that. We are going to get that worked out,” the coach said. “If you don’t mind we’ll let you know on the weekend.”
When Carroll got another injury question, about No. 2 running back Rashaad Penny being questionable with a hamstring injury that’s bothered him for weeks, Carroll said: “You can ask other questions if you want, you know. They’d be a lot better than these.”
One health issue Carroll did confirm is running back Chris Carson will play at Cleveland. The lead rusher coming off consecutive 100-yard rushing games was limited in practice Thursday with a new listing of a shoulder injury. But Carson is not on the injury list for Sunday’s game. So he’s playing.
“He’s fine,” Carroll said.
Each week the Seahawks issue three injury and practice reports between Carroll, the team’s only source of health information on players, talking to the media before practice Wednesday and not again until after practice Friday, when the official injury report for the game comes out.
That’s why the coach gets peppered with questions about injuries on Friday.
He was even more coy about them on this Friday than he normally is. He acknowledged that.
“There may be an edge (competitively) somewhere for us. I don’t know,” he said. “But if there is, we are reaching for it. A small edge. A little, teeny edge. But we are reaching for it. We are going to wait.
“You are asking questions I don’t want to answer. They are good questions, though...
“Just wait and see.”