Running back Mike James #25 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes against middle linebacker Bobby Wagner #54 of the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 3, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Buccaneers 27-24 in overtime. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - Despite two narrow victories over the St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Seattle Seahawks' run defense has become a bit of a concern.
RB Zac Stacy ran for 134 yards a week ago in Seattle's 14-9 victory over the Rams while RB Mike James rushed for 158 yards on Sunday.
"We were sloppy in our run fits, again," head coach Pete Carroll said.
While Seattle's offensive line has been struggling mightily with the absences of T Russell Okung and T Breno Giacomini, it's the run defense that could be the more concerning aspect of the team's play recently. At least with the offensive line, there is a clear reason for the struggles and an obvious reason to believe the unit will greatly improve with the return of their starting tackles to the lineup.
However, the Seahawks defense is healthy and has been gashed on the ground the past two games.
"We missed some reads on a couple of new plays that they ran," Carroll said. "They did a nice job in changing up and we weren’t as sharp and the ball got out on us. A couple of defenses, we were trying to pressure and we got hit while we were pressuring them and we didn’t execute the run part of it well. So we’re just off a little bit and we have not fixed it in these two weeks."
Seattle's defense had been strong against the run the first seven weeks of the season. Only Houston's RB Arian Foster broke the 100-yard rushing mark in Seattle's first seven games of the season. Now they've allowed 200 yards rushing in consecutive games.
"It becomes everybody’s issue," Carroll said. "The linebackers are tied together strictly with what goes on up front. Front guys are doing okay. I thought that on the second level, with the DBs and the linebackers fitting in complement with what’s going on up front. But it fits all together, everybody has got their plays. So it’s just not as clean as it needs to be."
C Max Unger and DE Red Bryant both were suffering from concussion-related symptoms after Sunday's game and will have to clear the league's concussion protocol in order to play this week.
Carroll said they will plan on Unger and Bryant not be available this week but should have a better feel by Thursday if they will be able to make it back in time.
T Breno Giacomini and T Russell Okung are both expected to return to practice Wednesday if everything goes well leading up to then. Carroll said it's still unlikely Giacomini will be able to play this week. Okung can't play until next week against the Minnesota Vikings as he remains on the short-term injured reserve list.
WR Percy Harvin is still working back from hip surgery and Carroll said they are still in a day-to-day outlook for Harvin. Carroll said they aren't counting on Harvin being able to play this week. Seattle needs to activate Harvin to their 53-man roster by next Tuesday otherwise they will lose him for the season.