Seahawks Insider Blog

Four Seahawks starters out for Sunday at STL, so are two in DL rotation; Percy Harvin, Luke Willson questionable


Percy Harvin is a surprise designation as questionable for Sunday's game at St. Louis with a thigh injury, even though the wide receiver around whom so much of the Seahawks' game play revolves practiced Friday. He sat out a Thursday for the second consecutive week. Harvin was listed as probable at this time last week and started as usual last weekend against Dallas. I'd be shocked if he didn't play against the Rams.

Key Seahawks stopper Bobby Wagner is in a cast and on a bent-knee, wheeled cart for his turf-toe injury. So it appears the middle linebacker who had played every snap of the season until he got hurt in the second quarter last weekend against Dallas will miss multiple games beyond Sunday's at St. Louis.

Seattle will be without three other starters against the Rams: tight end Zach Miller (still a ways from returning following ankle surgery), center Max Unger (sprained foot) and cornerback Byron Maxwell (strained calf). Jordan Hill (sprained ankle) and rookie Cassius Marsh (broken foot), who have been rotating onto the defensive line as early as the first drives of games, are also out.

Coach Pete Carroll said Marsh, the speedy fourth-round pick from UCLA, broke a bone on the outside of his foot during one-on-one drills in practice on Wednesday. Carroll estimated Marsh will miss six to eight weeks.

That makes him a likely candidate for the season-ending injured-reserve list; he only played nine snaps last week against the Cowboys, and the more pressing need is depth at tight end. That's because Luke Willson, the fill-in starter at tight end for Miller, missed a second consecutive practice day with groin injury and is questionable to play Sunday.

"He's got a sore groin, and we wanted to make sure to rest him today ... and we will take it all the way t o game time to make sure he is OK."

If Willson is not OK, Cooper Helfet would make his first career start. If Willson is out Seattle could put Marsh on IR tomorrow and sign the only other healthy tight end in the franchise, ReShaun Allen, off the practice squad onto the active roster for Sunday's game.

Asked if Marsh will come back this season or go on IR, Carroll said: "We'll see. We don't know that yet."

Here's video of some of what Carroll said this afternoon following a light, indoor practice here at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (sorry for the headline on the video; it's still only four starters out plus two key reserve defensive linemen -- I can't find a way on YouTube to edit that):

Those of you wanting to see rookie wide receivers Kevin Norwood and Paul Richardson plus running back Christine Michael active on Sunday in St. Louis could get your wish. At least six and perhaps all eight of the inactive players could be injured guys.

Without Maxwell, Carroll said Tharold Simon is "ready to go" in what will be his NFL debut. Simon missed all of his rookie season of 2013 with foot injuries. This week he returned to full practicing for the first time since he had knee surgery six weeks ago.

"He had an excellent week and we expect him to play," Carroll said.

Asked if it will be fill-in nickle back Marcus Burley or Simon starting for Maxwell Sunday, Carroll said "we'll show you on game day." A likely scenario is Burley starting and playing that cornerback spot opposite Richard Sherman (as he did last week after Maxwell got hurt in the first half) on early downs and then Simon coming in at corner and Burley to nickel when Seattle goes to five defensive backs for St. Louis' passing formations and situations. That could be the arrangement for much of Sunday's game; the Seahawks have been in nickel for the majority of defensive snaps in most games so far this season, and the Rams are seventh in the NFL in yards passing per game (270).

Carroll said with Marsh and Hill out on the defensive line, Greg Scruggs will be playing in his first Seahawks game since 2012. Scruggs, Seattle's seventh-round draft choice in 2012, missed all of last season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

--Curt Warner was at practice, and was chatting up fellow former Penn State player Hill after it. Warner, of course, was Seattle's third-overall draft choice in 1983 who rushed for 1,449 yards as a rookie then tore his ACL in the first game of the next season. He rushed for 6,705 yards as a Seahawk from 1983-89 and is third on the team's all-time rushing list behind Shaun Alexander (9,429 yards) and Chris Warren (6,706). Warner was selected for three Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Seahawks' Ring of Honor in 1994. He still lives in Washington state