Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks try to protect himself before being sacked by Brooks Reed #58 of the Houston Texans on September 29, 2013 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
The Seattle Seahawks have struggled in their last two games to protect QB Russell Wilson as they've adjusted to several moving parts along their line. The Houston Texans forced Wilson to scramble nearly every snap. Wilson was again forced to run frequently to create plays in Seattle's 34-28 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
With the offensive line struggling, it hasn't allowed the offense as a whole to develop any consistency either.
"The last couple of weeks, it really shows that protection issues have really been at the root of it and there’s a number of things that we can do better," head coach Pete Carroll said. But, just the protections issues has made the quarterback move quite a bit and it hasn’t allowed us to be on time the way that we’d like to."
T Russell Okung, C Max Unger and T Breno Giacomini have all been out the last two games. It's forced G Paul McQuistan to slide out to left tackle and G James Carpenter, C Lemuel Jeanpierre and T Michael Bowie to assume starting roles. G J.R. Sweezy is the only member of the Seahawks opening day starting offensive line to start the past two games in the same position he started the opener.
That kind of inconsistency in personnel is going to cause communication issues among the offensive line. Offensive line coach Tom Cable says he is seeing improvement from the group as a whole and thought they played better against Indianapolis than they did against the Texans the week before.
"We had five free runners on the quarterback. The week before we had 11," Cable said. "That's a big upgrade. Hopefully we can keep cutting that down."
The Seahawks are expected to get Unger back this week. He's missed the last two games with a triceps strain. Carroll said they're counting on him being able to play this week and hope he can help steady the ship up front.
"It’s really good to have him back," Carroll said. "Lemuel JeanPierre doing a really fine job for us in filling in. But Max Unger is really the guy that has the greatest command of what we’re doing up front and he’ll help other guys play well and make the right choices and decisions."
Giacomini is likely still a couple weeks away from being able to return to action and Okung has to miss another five weeks while on the short-term injured reserve list. Seattle will still be short-handed for a few more weeks but a healthy Unger could be an important step in solidifying the line.
Carroll said they are counting on C Max Unger being ready to play this Sunday. Unger was a full participant in practice on Wednesday and Carroll indicated he would get a full workload on Thursday and Friday as well.
"Max Unger is really the guy that has the greatest command of what we’re doing up front and he’ll help other guys play well and make the right choices and decisions," Carroll said.
TE Zach Miller and LB Bobby Wagner are expected to be game-time decisions for Seattle on Sunday. Miller strained his hamstring last week in practice and Wagner suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday's loss against the Colts.
Carroll said Wagner thinks he can be ready to play by this Sunday but LB K.J. Wright will work at middle linebacker in his absence during the week.
CB Jeremy Lane and RB Spencer Ware will also be game-time decisions. Lane is dealing with a hamstring strain as well and Ware is recovering from a high ankle sprain.
Carroll said he had a chance to see WR Percy Harvin run the last couple days. He said it's not realistic to expect Harvin to be ready to play next week against the Arizona Cardinals and that they want to make sure he can make it through the remainder of the season before putting him back on the field.
Did Not Participate
QB Jake Locker (hip)
RB Shonn Green (knee)
DT Sammie Hill (ankle)
CB Coty Sensabaugh (concussion)
DE Derrick Morgan (shoulder)
LB Patrick Bailey (hamstring)
LB Zaviar Gooden (hamstring)
T David Stewart (calf)
CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson (hamstring)
RB Jackie Battle (neck)
S Michael Griffin (foot)
Did Not Participate
T Breno Giacomini (knee)
RB Spencer Ware (ankle)
CB Jeremy Lane (hamstring)
TE Zach Miller (hamstring)
LB Bobby Wagner (ankle)
CB Walter Thurmond (knee)
DE Michael Bennett (quadriceps)
RB Marshawn Lynch (non-injury)
C Max Unger (arm)