By Mike Jones
The Seahawks survived a squeaker in their season opener, relying on a last-second touchdown to beat Miami 12-10. The Seahawks were heavily favored against the Dolphins, and this week the Hawks are still the favorite, but by just a field goal and a-half margin on the road against the Rams. Both teams raised plenty of questions in week one, with the Rams getting destroyed by the 49ers 28-0 on Monday Night Football. Looking ahead to week two, here are four questions raised by the Seahawks’ opening performance.
How mobile will Russell Wilson be?
So great is the concern over Russell Wilson’s ankle sprain that Yahoo! Sports posted Wilson’s Instagram video of him riding a bike. Wilson’s ankle was stepped on by 305-pound defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Wilson stayed in the game but was clearly immobile on the next play. He finished the game and returned to practice Wednesday, but as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times pointed out, the portion of the practice open to the media is limited to light throwing and conditioning. Condotta reported that “Wilson’s ankles were taped but otherwise he looked no different than in the past.” Reason enough for cautious optimism?
What happened to the running game?
The rebirth of Christine Michael and return of Thomas Rawls fueled a positive outlook for the running game, but the Dolphins doused that optimism fairly efficiently. Michael and Rawls combined for 98 yards, 3.6 yards per carry. Michael started week one, but Carroll said Wednesday that Rawls will start against the Rams. Carroll also shared that rookie C.J. Prosise, who rushed for -2 yards on his lone carry, will practice this week despite breaking a bone in his hand against Miami. Practice is one thing; the cast on his hand should be a concern come game day. Seattle needs to improve the running game, but the Rams represent a challenge: in their 23-17 win last December the Rams held the Marshawn Lynch-less Seahawks to just 59 yards, 2.7 yards per carry.
Will Germain Ifedi be able to shore up the offensive line?
The ever-positive Pete Carroll said Wednesday that the Ifedi is getting better following the high ankle sprain he suffering prior to the season opener, but CBS Sports reports “there doesn’t appear to be much optimism he’ll be on the field Sunday.” Ifedi is a first-round pick who was looking like the starter at right guard before he was hurt. J’Marcus Webb would start again in Ifedi’s absence. Miami has a stout defensive front led by Suh, and the Dolphins managed 3 sacks and 3 tackles for loss. But the pressure should rise with the Rams, who have a knack for getting to the Seattle quarterback. In their two meetings last season, the Rams tallied 10 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. The Rams’ Aaron Donald had 2 sacks and 4 tackles for loss against Seattle. He was thrown out of Monday night’s loss to the 49ers and can be expected to be much better behaved for his debut at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Can Cassius Marsh keep it up?
Defense end and special teams contributor Cassius Marsh wasn’t perfect on Sunday. Pumped at the prospect of hitting quarterback Ryan Tannehill on Miami’s second drive, Marsh rushed the QB and missed his assigned man, Arian Foster, who blew past him, caught a short pass and bolted for a 50-yard gain. After some, um, “encouragement” from his coaches, Marsh recovered to record three tackles on special teams and made two huge plays that helped seal the win. Marsh blocked a fourth-quarter field goal attempt (in a two-point win, after all) and sacked Tannehill on the next-to-last play of the game. Carroll said Marsh “was ridiculous,” and Cliff Avril said Marsh “played lights out… He bounced back and had a heck of a game.” Marsh lost out to Mike Morgan in the battle to be starting strong-side linebacker, but more big plays against the Rams and Marsh’s stock will keep rising.