By Chris Cluff
It was bound to happen.
The Seahawks had started all 11 first-string defensive players in every game this season, but that streak finally will end Sunday when linebacker K.J. Wright sits out the game against the New York Jets.
Wright suffered a concussion on the first play against Minnesota last week.
Also out for Sunday is left guard James Carpenter, who surprisingly missed last week with his own concussion issue.
The Seahawks have a bye in Week 11, which gives Wright and Carpenter plenty of time to clear their heads.
“Both of those guys need a little bit more time,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters, per The News Tribune. “We’ll take great care of them and get them in after the bye, and we’ll be ready to go.”
Wright is the team’s second-leading tackler, his status at the top ended only because he missed almost all of last week’s game, so his loss is not insignificant.
Mike Morgan will replace Wright at outside linebacker. Morgan had trouble at times last week as Adrian Peterson ran all over the Seahawks. But Carroll is confident in him. Would you expect anything less?
“Mike is a core special teams guy, and he’s got a lot of special teams duties,” Carroll said. “So having the chance to focus not just on that, but playing down after down, is really important. He had a very good week. He knows our system really well, and he’ll be a good factor for us.”
Carpenter had started five straight games before last week. John Moffitt, who returned from his own five-week injury absence, will start in Carpenter’s place again.
It means the Seahawks still will not have started their five best linemen together this season. But the lineup of (left to right) Russell Okung, Moffitt, Max Unger, Paul McQuistan and Breno Giacomini paved the way for season highs of 195 yards on 45 carries against Minnesota, so they should be fine against the Jets, who are giving up 141 rushing yards per game.
Meanwhile, defensive tackle Jason Jones (ankle) and receiver Braylon Edwards (knee) are both expected to play after missing the past two weeks. Carroll has lamented the absence of Jones from the interior pass rush.
Newly activated cornerback Walter Thurmond (broken leg) and rookie defensive tackle Greg Scruggs (oblique) will both be game-time decisions.
The Hawks have a bunch of other players nicked and bruised as well. It looks like most of them will play, but the bye week can’t get here fast enough.
OUT: OG James Carpenter (concussion), LB K.J. Wright (concussion).
QUESTIONABLE: DT Clinton McDonald (groin).
PROBABLE: WR Doug Baldwin (ankle), DE Red Bryant (foot), SS Kam Chancellor (thigh), RB WR Braylon Edwards (knee), DT Jason Jones (ankle), Marshawn Lynch (back/wrist), OG John Moffitt (knee), DE Greg Scruggs (oblique), CB Richard Sherman (illness), C Max Unger (finger).
IR: DE Dexter Davis (hip), TE Cameron Morrah (toe), RB Vai Tuau (knee).
OUT: RB Joe McKnight (ankle), DT Kenrick Ellis (knee).
QUESTIONABLE: C Nick Mangold (ankle), OG Brandon Moore (hip), DT Sione Pouha (back), RB Bilal Powell (shoulder), LB Bart Scott (toe), S Eric Smith (knee).
PROBABLE: TE Jeff Cumberland (wrist), DE Mike DeVito (finger), WR Clyde Gates (shoulder), DT Damon Harrison (thumb), WR Jeremy Kerley (heel), S LaRon Landry (heel), LB Calvin Pace (shin), QB Mark Sanchez (back), OG Matt Slauson (knee).
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Chris Cluff worked as a sports editor and writer for The Seattle Times for 11 years and has written two books on the Seattle Seahawks. Since leaving the Times, he has written about the Seahawks and Seattle sports for Bleacher Report and the blog he shares with a fellow sportswriter, outsidethepressbox.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.