RENTON The Seahawks have lost another starting offensive lineman, likely for at least a month. And that’s being optimistic.
Luke Joeckel’s knee surgery last week means the team needs a new left guard.
The news is better about Michael Bennett; the Pro Bowl defensive end practiced in a morning walk-through Wednesday and thinks he can play Sunday at the New York Giants after a plantar-fascia injury in Seattle’s previous game, the win over the Rams.
The team may have definitive news on the playing future of fellow Pro Bowl end Cliff Avril later this week.
And Malik McDowell is doing some conditioning drills with a trainer for the first time since the Seahawks’ top rookie draft choice got a serious head injury in an ATV accident in July. His playing future remains unknown, though.
Those were the news points to coach Pete Carroll’s first media address in more than a week, following Seattle’s bye.
Joeckel had what the team last week termed a “clean-up” surgery on his knee that had been repaired 12 months ago, when he was with Jacksonville. Carroll said Tuesday doctors found much to clean up, and said it’d be at least three weeks before the Seahawks would even know an estimate of when the left guard Seattle is guaranteeing $7 million this season can get on the field again.
“We are going to be optimistic that maybe he can make it back in four or five weeks, and we’ll see what happens,” Carroll said.
“He definitely needed to get some stuff cleaned up and get taken care of. And everything went beautifully. So he’s very optimistic, as well. So we’ll see what happens.
“We won’t be able to know probably until three weeks, anyway, to know where he is.”
That would be the week of the Thursday night game at NFC West rival Arizona on Nov. 9.
Until at least mid-November and perhaps longer, Mark Glowinski will get the first chance to be the starting left guard with rookie second-round draft choice Ethan Pocic also perhaps playing as early as Sunday at the Giants.
Glowinski was Seattle’s starting left guard last season, his first full one as an NFL starter. The fourth-round pick in 2015 from West Virginia was the Seahawks’ starting right guard, his college position, for the first two games of this season before veteran Oday Aboushi took his job.
Pocic was a center at LSU who also played right guard and right tackle in college. He played left tackle in high school, so left guard is as new as any position Pocic has played on the offensive line. Seattle drafted him so high because of his versatility.
“We are so encouraged by Ethan's play we want to give him a chance to show" what he can do over the next few weeks at left guard, Carroll said.
The coach added he wouldn’t be surprised if both Glowinski and Pocic play there against the Giants, though Pocic’s better chance to play may come next week when the Seahawks host Houston.
Either way, this will be the seventh and then potentially eighth offensive lineman to start for the Seahawks, by the seventh game of the season.
Before the season even began Seattle lost starting left tackle George Fant to a season-ending knee injury and surgery, in August.
And Carroll confirmed the team had “long” talks with free-agent left tackle Branden Albert but could not come to an agreement on a contract Seattle offered him. Not yet, anyway.
So Seattle’s most iffy position group remains in flux entering a test against the strength of the 1-5 Giants: their defense. Rush end Jason Pierre-Paul had three sacks in New York’s 23-10 domination at Denver last weekend. That was a 20-3 game for much of the second half.
On defense, Carroll said Tuesday brought “good signs” that Bennett will be able to play after an injury that can keep guys out a while.
“He went through walk-through (Tuesday). He’s going to, I think, practice (Wednesday) a little bit. So he feels he’s going to be able to play,” Carroll said. “He’s going to need all these days (to do so).”
Avril hasn’t played since Indianapolis quarterback Jacoby Brissett kicked him under the chin while Avril was chasing the quarterback from behind during Seattle’s home win Oct. 1. His head jerked violently back and his arms and hands went numb from neck and spine issues.
The 31-year-old is at peace with whatever the many specialists that he’s talked to in the last couple weeks have been telling him about whether he should continue playing or walk away from a career in which he’s earned $25 million the last few years.
Asked if there was anything new on Avril’s situation, Carroll said: “There’s a little bit...we are continuing to help him look and figure out what comes next. We can’t say anything to you (Tuesday). Maybe in the next couple days we’ll know more. He’s continuing to see specialists, to make sure he knows what his situation is. We are encouraging all of that.
“We don’t have an official update for you yet.”