RENTON Looks like Mike Davis will be the Seahawks’ lead running back through the end of the regular season.
Health willing, of course.
Coach Pete Carroll said Friday before the team left for Sunday’s game at Jacksonville that rookie Chris Carson, Seattle’s lead back to begin this season until his leg fracture and ankle injury Oct. 1, had a “setback” in rehabilitation this week trying to return from injured reserve and ankle surgery. That dashes the team’s hopes Carson might return for one of the final two regular-season games at the end of this month.
“Chris had a little bit of a setback in his rehab,” Carroll said of his seventh-round draft choice from Oklahoma State who seized the featured role in the offense with decisive running in August and September.
“A little bit of an ankle turn, just caught it a little bit. So just got to make sure we know what that means as he bounces back from it. We were looking to try to find a time when we could put him back on the practice field, next week or the week after that. We were looking with real optimism.”
“I don’t know if that’s going to happen after the little setback,” Carroll said.
The coach said the team won’t know more until perhaps “Wednesday or something of next week.”
Davis has taken the lead role in Seattle’s anemic running game since the team promoted him from the practice squad before the loss to Atlanta on Nov. 20. The former San Francisco 49er the Seahawks claimed off waivers in the spring has 82 yards on 22 carries in his new role he’s got over relegated Eddie Lacy and mothballed Thomas Rawls. Quarterback Russell Wilson remains the Seahawks’ leading rusher with 432 yards, almost all of those on scrambles away from defenders on pass plays. Carson’s 208 yards remains second on the team, even though he hasn’t played in more than two months.
Carson became eligible to come off injured reserve last week--teams can bring up to two players off IR to return to play in a season, provided they stay out for at least eight consecutive weeks of the regular season. Earlier this week, Carroll said Carson was “unbelievably” ahead of schedule in his recovery.
Turned out, that was too good to be true. Carson could return during the playoffs, should the Seahawks (8-4) qualify for the sixth consecutive January. Seattle currently holds the fifth of six playoff spots in the NFC and is one game out of the West-division lead. The Seahawks could move to as high as third in the NFC and the lead in the West with a win Sunday and a loss by the division-leading Los Angeles Rams at home against Philadelphia the same afternoon. The Seahawks host the Rams next week.
Defensive end Dion Jordan is the only Seahawk whose playing status is in doubt for the Jaguars game Sunday. His neck-stinger issue that’s sidelined him the previous two games got only incrementally better this week. The team lists him as questionable, though Carroll made it sound like Jordan is unlikely to play.
Not only is Oday Aboushi out for the third consecutive game with his shoulder injury, Carroll said the veteran right guard who started eight consecutive games before his injury won’t play again this season. Rookie Ethan Pocic will start again at right guard Sunday.
Aboushi joins strong safety Kam Chancellor as out for the year. Yet the Seahawks have not put either on injured reserve. Why not? The team is hard up against its salary cap limit and cannot add any more players, even ones with minimum-salary contracts, at this time. Players on IR continue to earn their base salary for the season, so IR moves and corresponding ones to add players would mean a net add of two more salaries to Seattle’s cap.
So, the Seahawks are essentially operating with 51 available players on the 53-man roster--50 for the game at Jacksonville, since rookie defensive tackle Nazair Jones is out with a sprained ankle he got in practice last week. The team is likely waiting for Carson and perhaps running back C.J. Prosise (eligible to come off IR in mid-January following a high-ankle sprain) to be healthy enough to return and then possibly take either Aboushi’s or Chancellor’s place on the active roster during the would-be playoffs. That would result in no net add to the team’s payroll because the Seahawks are already paying Carson, Prosise, Aboushi and Chancellor.
The Jaguars list Jalen Ramsey as questionable to play because of a hamstring injury that kept him out of Wednesday’s and Thursday’s practices and limited him in Friday’s. But there’s no way in the Sunshine State that the yappy, second-year star cornerback is going to miss this game. Ramsey is not going to miss this chance to show out--and trash talk--for his upstart team against one of the recent kingpin teams of the NFL.
Carroll was in a jovial mood following the light practice outside in the Seattle sun, and before the team left for Florida late in the afternoon.
The coach also said the Seahawks are fired up for the Sounders playing Saturday at Toronto trying to win a second consecutive MLS Cup. Carroll said he’s been showing his players Sounders soccer highlights this week.