Pete Carroll said following today's indoor practice that tight end Tony Moeaki has a "very slight strain" of his calf and will be a game-time decision to play Saturday in the Seahawks' NFC divisional playoff game against Carolina. Carroll said Moeaki, the midseason pickup whose last four catches have been for first downs, injured his calf in practice Tuesday.
"We're going to find out on game day," Carroll said. "Cooper Helfet (the third tight end) is ready to go, if we need him."
Carroll said Max Unger came out of the week for full practicing fine. The two-time Pro Bowl center will start Saturday for the first time in eight weeks, since he sustained a high-ankle sprain and twisted knee six games ago at Kansas City.
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"We're excited about that," Carroll said.
No wonder. When Unger was back at center following a sprained foot, for the November win over the New York Giants, the Seahawks rushed for a team-record 350 yards and scored 38 points in a blowout win. They had 200 more yards rushing and 20 points the following week through three quarters and six minutes against the Chiefs. After Unger got hurt with 9 minutes left and fourth-stringer Patrick Lewis had to come in, Seattle netted four yards, scored no points and sustained what is their last loss.
--Safety Jeron Johnson hasn't practiced all week and won't play because of the elbow injury he got Dec. 28 in the regular-season finale against Green Bay. The rest of the active roster is good to go following the first-round playoff bye, including wide receiver Jermaine Kearse. He missed the Rams game with a strained hamstring that's fine now.
Kearse and Doug Baldwin are well aware Carolina is starting two rookies in the secondary, cornerback Bene Benwikere and safety Tre Boston, that didn't start when Seattle played the Panthers Oct. 26.
--A lot of media from North Carolina here today two days before the game. One visitor asked Carroll what it's like to be such a heavy favorite (11 points) over the Panthers.
"Well, the only place we are heavy favorites is outside of here. That's somebody else's gauge," Carroll said. "We know we are up against very difficult opponent. They challenge us in many ways. We have respect for their players, coach and how they do things. We've had nothing but tough games against these guys. We don't need anymore understanding. Whatever the talk is on the outside is on the outside to us. This is a huge game for us, a championship game, and we are going for it. The rest of that stuff doesn't matter -- at all."
--I asked Carroll what struck me as funny yesterday, Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart telling us that when he made a recruiting visit to USC before he graduated from Timberline High School in Lacey Carroll, then SC's coach, led the Trojans in singing Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot" during a team meeting.
Carroll laughed and thought I was asking if he remembered Snoop Dogg visiting. After I clarified I meant Stewart, Carroll said: "I could tell you all about Snoop being there. ... I don't remember it. That's probably why we didn't get him."
Stewart signed with and starred for Oregon instead of USC.
--ESPN reported today that Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a partially torn calf muscle but is expected to play anyway Sunday when the Packers host the Cowboys in the other NFC semifinal game.
--Three-time Super Bowl referee Terry McAulay is the referee for Saturday's game. The last time he worked a Seattle game was last February's Super Bowl. That worked out OK for the Seahawks.
--Here is the audio of the rest of Carroll's comments: