Seattle Seahawks’ Defense Could Be Without Three Key Players
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By Chris Cluff
It sure is a good thing Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are going to play in Chicago on Sunday, because it looks like Marcus Trufant will not.
If Sherman and Browner had been suspended this week, the Hawks would have been left with injury-prone Walter Thurmond and Byron Maxwell as the starting cornerbacks because Trufant is doubtful with a hamstring injury suffered Thursday.
Instead, Thurmond figures to replace Trufant as the nickel back.
“We’re really surprised that popped up,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters Friday. “It’s going to be really hard for him to get back from that (this week).”
On top of that, defensive end Red Bryant and linebacker Leroy Hill did not practice all week and will be game-time decisions in Chicago.
Bryant has been hobbled for several weeks by plantar fasciitis. Hill injured his ankle last week in Miami.
“Red did not do much today,” Carroll said. “We’re going to take him all the way up until game-time. He’s dying to play.
“Leroy Hill ran and changed direction, did all the kind of stuff, had a legitimate workout today. We’ll check him out tomorrow and take him all the way up until game day and see how that goes.”
If Bryant is out, tackle Alan Branch likely would start at end and rookie Greg Scruggs would play inside. But Carroll indicated to reporters Friday that he might move players around. He and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley do that a lot anyway. Jason Jones could play end as well, and Clinton McDonald and rookie Jaye Howard should be available at tackle to help Brandon Mebane.
“Alan’s played some of the same techniques that Red did last week,” Bradley told reporters. “And he’s practiced it through the week, and all the way up through the season, because we’ve had to have a backup ready in case that happens.”
If Hill is out, Malcolm Smith would start at outside linebacker.
The offense is mostly healthy, but it would not be the same if a receiver or lineman were not injured. Thus, Sidney Rice is questionable after his calf tightened up late in practice Friday.
“We just limited his work at the end of practice,” Carroll said. “He made it through two-thirds of it. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. We think he’s OK.”
Surprisingly, Rice is the only receiver who has not missed a game this season.
DOUBTFUL: CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring).
QUESTIONABLE: DE Red Bryant (foot), LB Leroy Hill (ankle), WR Sidney Rice (calf).
PROBABLE: RB Marshawn Lynch (back), DT Greg Scruggs (oblique).
IR: DE Dexter Davis (hip), TE Cameron Morrah (toe), RB Vai Tuau (knee), WR Ben Obomanu (wrist).
OUT: WR/KR Devin Hester (concussion) and OG Chris Spencer (knee).
DOUBTFUL: WR Alshon Jeffery (knee).
PROBABLE: RB Matt Forte (ankle), LB Lance Briggs (ankle) and CB Charles Tillman (ankle), TE Kellen Davis (ankle), DT Stephen Paea (shoulder), OG Edwin Williams (shoulder).
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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.