NFC West: Seattle Seahawks

RENTON, Wash. – The sacks have been few and far between for the Seattle Seahawks this season, with only seven sacks in the first six games.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll believes it’s going to get better for two men the team is counting on to bring pressure: defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett.

Bennett
Avril
Avril has only one sack this season and none in the last five games. Bennett has three sacks, but none in the last four games.

“These guys have rushed really hard and been very aggressive,” Carroll said of his starting defensive ends. “I’ve looked at every one of their rushes and situations and I think we’re going to count on those guys to continue to do what they’re doing and try to help around them."

Carroll said earlier this week that the team will make changes this week to try to improve the pass rush. He was a little more specific about it Wednesday.

“We’ve got to get Mike active inside and get him to be the disruptor that he can be,” Carroll said, hinting they might use Bennett on more snaps as a defensive tackle. “We need to help him with some stuff there, some stuff scheme-wise we’ll tweak here and there.

“Those guys are bringing it. In my mind it’s going to happen and we’ll just keep working until it does because we know it’s there.”

Both Bennett and Avril are playing more snaps than they did last year. Bennett played 90 of the defensive snaps at St. Louis. Does Carroll believe it causes them to tire late in games?

“No, no I don’t," Carroll said. “Their effort has been really good and they’ve shown good conditioning. We haven’t overplayed those guys. We’ve just played them more than we did before. It’s really a percentage of plays that we’re talking about, so we’ll see if that factors in our favor.”

Bennett believes the sacks will come.

“It’s one of those things," Bennett said Wednesday. “There are a couple of sacks we should’ve made. It is what it is. We just have to get back to make sure we’re making those plays we used to make. There’s no excuse. We’ve just got to get there.”
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The Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers are reeling as they enter Sunday's 1 p.m. ET game at Bank of America Stadium.

The defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks have lost two straight games to fall to 3-3, two games behind Arizona in the NFC West. The defending NFC South champion Panthers have gone 1-2-1 over their past four games and fallen to 3-3-1. They still lead the division because the other three teams have defenses that are just as porous as Carolina's.

Seattle and Carolina are meeting for the third straight year in Charlotte, with the Seahawks winning the previous two by scores of 16-12 and 12-7.

ESPN Seahawks reporter Terry Blount and ESPN Panthers reporter David Newton are here to break this one down for you:

Newton: Terry, the folks in Seattle have to be a bit shocked the Seahawks are .500 and two games out in the division. Is there a sense of concern at this point?

Blount: Nobody is jumping off the Space Needle, but you'd better believe the fans are concerned and a bit bewildered. There is time for the Seahawks to recover, but can they? The team hasn't played well at the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball. They can't get much of a pass rush, and the offensive line has been whistled for 14 penalties in the past three games. Injuries to key starters have hurt them: tight end Zach Miller, center Max Unger, cornerback Byron Maxwell and especially middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who was playing the best football of his career until suffering a nasty turf toe injury two weeks ago.

You're probably getting this question a lot, but what in heaven's name is going on with the Carolina defense? The Panthers have gone from No. 2 in the NFL last season in points allowed (15.1) to a team that has given up at least 37 points in four games this season. What has been the biggest factor in the dramatic change?

Newton: Not sure the editors will give me the space to fully explain this one. You can start with the loss of defensive end Greg Hardy, who is on the commissioner's exempt list until his domestic violence case is resolved. It's hard to replace everything he did. But it goes much deeper than that. You can also look to the secondary. There are three new starters: strong safety Roman Harper, free safety Thomas DeCoud and cornerback Antoine Cason. They're making every quarterback look like Peyton Manning the way receivers are running free. The lack of a pass rush has hurt. Teams are hitting Carolina with a lot of quick passes to negate the four-man rush, just as I suspect is happening in Seattle. But, as linebacker Thomas Davis said earlier in the week, the Carolina defense as a whole simply isn't playing smart and swarming to the ball as it did last season.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is playing at high level. Where has he shown the most improvement and how will his threat as a runner affect an undisciplined Carolina defense?

Blount: Dave, it's scary to think where the team would be without Wilson. He single-handedly won the Redskins game on Oct. 6, becoming the first quarterback in "Monday Night Football" history to pass for more than 200 yards and run for more than 100. His brilliant 80-yard drive in overtime defeated Denver last month, a game the defense tried to give away at the end of regulation. He's doing almost everything at a higher level now in his third NFL season, but most importantly, he understands where he needs to go with the football more quickly and when to tuck and run. That has been essential considering Wilson had been under duress more than any other QB. Believe it or not, he rarely looks to run. He has to run to avoid pressure. The key for any defense is trying to cut off the perimeter and keep him in the pocket -- easier said than done.

Rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin looks as if he's everything the Panthers hoped he would be as a first-round pick. But do they miss Steve Smith, and do you think Benjamin can be as good as, or better than, Buffalo rookie receiver Sammy Watkins?

Newton: Benjamin hasn't disappointed. He's 13th in the NFL in receiving yards with 477, and his five touchdowns are one more than Smith has in Baltimore. I'm not sure Benjamin would have developed as quickly if Smith were in Carolina. As I've said before, overall the team is better at wide receiver than it was a year ago.

As for where Benjamin stacks up against Watkins, I'd say they're pretty much the same player except Watkins has more explosive speed. But Benjamin runs routes much better than anyone gave him credit for coming out of college. He's a player even Seattle's talented secondary will have to pay extra attention to. And you do that at the expense of leaving open Greg Olsen, who leads all tight ends with 493 receiving yards.

I found the comments by Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin on the Percy Harvin trade interesting. Has that been a distraction, and how will that affect the Seattle offense?

Blount: Baldwin admitted after the St. Louis loss this past weekend that the shock of the Harvin trade, which happened less than 48 hours earlier, had an impact on the way the Seahawks started the game in getting behind 21-3. However, I firmly believe the impact going forward will be a positive one. Harvin's anger issues -- fights with teammates and taking himself out of two games -- were more than anyone could tolerate any longer.

It also was a problem on the field because Seattle revamped its entire offense to revolve around Harvin. The Seahawks got away from what they do best: run the football to set up open receivers downfield. They looked like last year's offense in the second half against the Rams, scoring on three consecutive drives of 80 yards or longer. Wilson set another NFL record, becoming the first player in league history to pass for more than 300 yards and rush for more than 100 in a game. Baldwin had his best game of the season with seven catches for 123 yards and a score. Trading Harvin was addition by subtraction in so many ways.

I'm shocked to see that Cam Newton is Carolina's leading rusher with 190 yards. What has happened to the Panthers' running game?

Newton: You wouldn't be shocked if you looked at all the injuries, a new line and opponents putting eight in the box to stop the run. Panthers all-time leading rusher DeAngelo Williams has missed the past three games with an ankle injury and has played less than six quarters this season. Jonathan Stewart has missed three starts. Mike Tolbert is on injured reserve. If you've heard the names Darrin Reaves, Fozzy Whittaker and Chris Ogbonnaya, you're either related to them or desperate in a fantasy league.

Then there's the line, which took another blow last week when starting right guard Trai Turner suffered a knee and ankle sprain that will keep him out this week. At one point Sunday, undrafted rookie David Foucault, who should be on the practice squad developing, was playing left tackle. I could go on, but I won't.

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RENTON Wash. -- Why are the Seattle Seahawks 3-3? Here’s yet another reason: The defense isn’t forcing turnovers, especially interceptions, the way it did last season.

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Seattle’s defense had 28 interceptions last season. It has two in the first six games this year, which puts the Seahawks on pace for only five after 16 games. And it’s not just one area of the field. All three areas are way down.

The Seahawks had 13 interceptions on the left third of the field in 2013 but have only one this season. They had nine picks on the right third of the field last season and have only one this year (Kam Chancellor’s pick vs. Denver is borderline between the middle and the right side of the field). And the defense had six interceptions in the middle of the field last year but don’t have any so far this season.

Richard Sherman had eight picks last season but doesn’t have any in the first six games this year, partially because some opposing quarterbacks have avoided throwing his way.

Free safety Earl Thomas had five interceptions in 2013 but is still looking for his first this year.

The only picks this year were by Chancellor (which may have saved the game against Denver) and one by cornerback Byron Maxwell in the season opener against Green Bay.

So Seattle has no interceptions in the last three games and only one in the last five games.

Seahawks need to improve pass rush

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
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ESPN Seahawks reporter Terry Blount says the team will make changes to improve its pass rush against the Panthers.

The Film Don’t Lie: Seahawks

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
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A weekly look at what the Seattle Seahawks must fix:

This team is known for its success on special teams, but there was nothing special about the Seahawks getting faked out of their socks on Sunday at St. Louis, including a 90-yard punt return for a TD by Stedman Bailey.

Now the Seahawks face one of the top punt returners in the league in Philly Brown of the Carolina Panthers, who averages 11.4 yards per return and has a 79-yard TD this season.

But this is all about not being outsmarted. Bailey's return was a trick, with the Rams coaxing all the Seattle defenders to go to the wrong side of the field because that’s where the Rams' blockers went.

And the Seahawks were fooled again on one of the key plays of the game, a fake punt by the Rams on a fourth-and-3 at their own 18-yard line late in the fourth quarter. Rams punter Johnny Hekker threw to a wide-open Benjamin Cunningham in the left flat for an 18-yard gain.

The good news for the Seahawks is these mistakes are easily fixable by being more aware and expecting the unexpected. The blame goes to the Seattle coaches on the fake punt, not realizing that a 1-4 team with nothing to lose would be willing to gamble to try to get a second win.

And the odds of a similar magic trick on a punt return working again and fooling any team, much less the Seahawks, are more remote than Percy Harvin getting traded for a sixth-round draft pick.
The Seattle Seahawks had a rough few days on the injury front, including fullback Derrick Coleman breaking his foot in warm-up drills Sunday at St. Louis. But several key players could return this week.

Starting cornerback Byron Maxwell, who has a strained calf, could be back, along with backup cornerback Tharold Simon, who suffered a sprained ankle in St. Louis is his first NFL start.

Unger
"It blew up, but it's not a bad sprain," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Simon. "He's popping around pretty good [Monday], so he has a chance, and Maxey has a chance to get back, too. We'll see."

Carroll also said starting center Max Unger, who has missed the last two games with a foot injury, could return, but starting tight end Zach Miller (ankle surgery) still is out.

"Max is working at it," Carroll said. "He's doing some stuff this week and we'll see as the week goes along. Zach is a little farther away. He's still in a boot right now, so he's not that close yet."

Carroll expects back-up tight end Luke Willson to return after suffering a groin strain in practice last Wednesday and missing Sunday's game.

"He almost made it back [for the Rams game]," Carroll said. "But we felt like it was better to hold him out with the chance to be back fully this week."

Carroll said back-up defensive tackle Jordan Hill who missed Sunday's game with a sprained ankle, will practice on Wednesday. But middle linebacker Bobby Wagner still is out. He is wearing a cast over a turf toe injury.

"It's going to be a while," Carroll said of Wagner's status.

Jeremy Lane, Seattle's starting nickel cornerback who was placed on injured reserve/designated to return at the start of the season with a groin injury, will return to practice this week. But Lane can't come off IR until the New York Giants game on Nov. 9.

The one area where the Seahawks may need to make a roster move is at fullback since Coleman is the only true fullback on the roster and will be out at least six weeks. Running back Robert Turbin filled in a fullback Sunday.

Carroll was asked if former Seattle fullback Michael Robinson was an option. When the Seahawks didn't re-sign him after last season, Robinson retired and now works as an analyst for the NFL Network.

"He's doing a really good job in the media right now and he's quite busy," Carroll said of Robinson. "He seems to be very well-grooved in his business."
ST LOUIS -- Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman says he had the football in his arms at the bottom of the pile.

The officials said he didn’t and the last chance for the Seahawks was over in the 28-26 loss to the St. Louis Rams.

Rams running back Tre Mason fumbled on the next to last play of the game. The ball was loose and several players had a shot at grabbing it, but Sherman said he got it.

“I had the ball,” Sherman said. “I was down. I thought they would have blown the whistle, but they stopped the ball and moved it back to the old spot. Obviously they didn’t give it to us. I wasn’t surprised. That’s kind of how the game went for us.”

Seattle free safety Earl Thomas was shocked.

“We won everything last year, but we’re battling the referees now,” Thomas said. “I don’t know what’s going on with that. Sherm had it. We’re playing more than out opponents. We’re playing the referees, too. I don’t care what anybody says. Something’s wrong and that needs to be brought up.”

Seattle coach Pete Carroll was surprised the play wasn’t reviewed. At first he thought maybe it wasn’t reviewable because there was no change of possession. He later said he learned it was reviewable.

Most of the Seahawks thought they recovered it.

“I thought we had the ball, but I guess not,” said Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. “I don’t know.”

 

 
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ST LOUIS -- The St. Louis Rams entered Sunday's game with only one sack all season, the worst start in league history.

But the Rams sacked Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson three times in the first half Sunday in another bad performance by Seattle's offensive line. Wilson was hit seven times and under duress 14 in the 28-26 loss to the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome that dropped the Seahawks to 3-3.

[+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesIt doesn't bode well for the Seahawks when Russell Wilson tops 100 rushing yards.
The offensive line was the weak link on a Super Bowl team last year. It still is, but it's worse now.

ESPN Stats & Information research shows Wilson was sacked, hit while throwing or under duress on 32.6 percent of his dropbacks Sunday. That's actually lower than his season average of 37.3 percent, which remains the worst rate in the league among 33 qualified passers.

He has been pressured on at least 30 percent of his dropbacks in five of Seattle's six games, the most in the NFL.

The Seahawks were also flagged for holding three times and had a false start. One holding call brought back a 15-yard touchdown by Marshawn Lynch. And it was called on Alvin Bailey, who was in the game to help block as a third tackle.

The Seahawks had 171 yards rushing, but that's misleading. Wilson rushed for 106 yards, most of which came when he was forced to scramble. The three running backs -- Lynch, Robert Turbin and Christine Michael -- rushed for 65 yards on 22 carries, less than three yards a carry.

By the way, in two of the three games in his career in which Wilson rushed for 100 yards, the Seahawks have lost because if he's running that much he's under too much pressure.

The line has been whistled for 14 penalties in the past three games that resulted in four potential touchdowns being called back. It isn't just one or two guys. Everyone is making mistakes at key moments that are hurting the offense.

St. Louis Rams rookie defensive tackle Aaron Donald, making only his second NFL start, consistently blew through the interior of Seattle's line. Donald had a sack, another quarterback hit and two other tackles for losses.

Yes, the offensive line is banged up. For a few plays Sunday they were down to their third-team center in Patrick Lewis when backup Stephen Schilling left the game briefly in the second half. And left tackle Russell Okung is playing with a labrum tear in his left shoulder.

Even so, the offensive line isn't playing well when all the starters are on the field and healthy. It appears to be a problem that isn't going away anytime soon, but Wilson remains optimistic after another game in which he had to improvise to try to stay upright.

"I think adversity is opportunity," Wilson said. "We have a team full of fighters. You can't look back. I believe in what we'll do moving forward."

Rapid Reaction: Seattle Seahawks

October, 19, 2014
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ST LOUIS -- A few thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 28-26 loss to the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome.

What it means: The Seahawks are reeling and fall to 3-3, having lost the last two games and three of the last five. The team was completely out of sync Sunday. Were they still in shock from the Percy Harvin trade two days earlier?

Stock watch: What has happened to the Seattle pass rush? One of the team's strengths a year ago is almost non-existent now. The Seahawks didn’t have a sack Sunday, and they weren’t exactly facing the world’s greatest offensive line. The inability to get to Rams quarterback Austin Davis was a big factor in St. Louis' last touchdown that made it a two-score game with less than six minutes to play.

The offensive line is not much better: The Seahawks' offensive line was the weak link on a Super Bowl team last season. It still is, but it’s worse now. The Rams entered the game with only one sack all season. They had three sacks in the first half and put constant pressure on Russell Wilson. The Seahawks were flagged for holding three times and another false start. The line usually does a decent job in the running game, but not Sunday. Take out Wilson’s 106 yards, mostly while scrambling, and Seattle had 65 yards rushing on 22 carries. It wasn’t good even when they used Alvin Bailey as an extra tackle on several plays.

Receivers: Don’t blame the loss on Harvin being gone. Doug Baldwin, who called out his teammates last week, had his best game of the season with seven receptions for 123 yards and one touchdown. Rookie receiver Paul Richardson had four catches for 33 yards, and Jermaine Kearse had three receptions for 50 yards.

Game ball: That goes to another player making catches. The Seahawks were down to third-string tight end Cooper Helfet on Sunday. Don’t call him third-string anymore. Helfet had three receptions for 61 yards, including a brilliant 19-yard touchdown catch when he stretched to make the grab and came down with both feet in bounds in the end zone.

More injury problems: Maybe it was a bad omen when fullback Derrick Coleman hurt his foot in warm-ups and didn’t play. Cornerback Tharold Simon, playing in his first NFL game and starting for injured Byron Maxwell, suffered an ankle injury in the first half when he was flagged for pass interference and a face mask. He also had a shoving match with Rams receiver Brian Quick, who was flagged but it could have gone against Simon. He didn’t return after the injury but was listed as questionable. So was his judgment. Three other starters already were out -- tight end Zach Miller, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and center Max Unger. It has become painfully obvious the next man up isn’t ready to step up.

What’s next: The Seahawks will hit the road again with an East Coast trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, to play the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 26. The Seahawks opened the 2013 season with a 12-7 come-from-behind victory at Charlotte.
ST. LOUIS -- Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider said things weren’t working out with wide receiver Percy Harvin and it was time to move on without him.

Harvin was traded to the New York Jets Friday for a conditional 2015 draft pick.

“We made a bold move in acquiring him [from Minnesota in March of 2013],” Schneider said on the 710 ESPN Seattle pregame radio show. “But it became apparent that things weren’t going to work out and it wasn’t a good fit.

“We have to prepare this team for moving forward all the time, and I’m not just talking about this week or next week. I’m talking about 2015 and 2016. We constantly have to look at how we improve the team. This was the appropriate move at the appropriate time.”

Schneider was asked what the Seahawks offense will look like without Harvin.

“Percy is such a unique talent that he has to be used in a specific manner,” Schneider said. “I think you’ll see us playing a little bit more like we did last year when Percy wasn’t playing. It’s an opportunity for guys like [rookie wide receivers] Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood to step forward.”
ST LOUIS -- Seattle Seahawks backup tight end Luke Willson is inactive Sunday because of a groin injury, which leaves the Seahawks without their first two tight ends for the game against the Rams.

Starting tight end Zach Miller is out after undergoing ankle surgery three weeks ago. The Seahawks are down to third-string tight end Cooper Helfet and rookie RaShaun Allen, who was brought up from the practice squad Saturday and will be making his NFL debut.

It’s possible the Seahawks could use offensive tackles Garry Gilliam or Alvin Bailey as a third tackle on the line. Gilliam played tight end for three seasons at Penn State and lined up a tight end for one play in the Washington game. Bailey came in as a third tackle on several plays in the last few games last season.

Four starters are out Sunday for the Seahawks – Miller, cornerback Byron Maxwell (calf) center Max Unger (foot) and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (turf toe). Backup defensive tackle Jordan Hill also is out with a sprained ankle. The other inactive of backup offensive tackle Andrew McDonald.
ST. LOUIS -- As expected, the Seattle Seahawks placed rookie defensive end Cassius Marsh on injured reserve Saturday and brought up two players off the practice squad -- cornerback Steven Terrell and rookie tight end RaShaun Allen.

Marsh suffered a broken foot in practice Wednesday and will undergo surgery that will take six to eight weeks to recover, but placing Marsh on IR has ended his season.

Terrell played in his first NFL game last weekend in the 30-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, coming in at nickel cornerback after Byron Maxwell injured his calf. Marcus Burley moved from nickel back to Maxwell’s cornerback spot. Maxwell will not play Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.

The Seahawks added Allen because starting tight end Zach Miller is out after undergoing ankle surgery and backup tight end Luke Willson is questionable with a groin injury. Allen (6-foot-4, 250 pounds out of Southern University) will be playing in his first NFL game.

Five Seahawks on the 53-man roster are out for Sunday’s game -- Maxwell, Miller, center Max Unger, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and defensive tackle Jordan Hill.

 

 
ST LOUIS -- It will be interesting on Sunday to see how the Seattle Seahawks align their offense against the St. Louis Rams. It’s possible they could move Doug Baldwin back to the slot receiver spot, where he excelled before moving to split end this season to replace Golden Tate and make room to start Percy Harvin in the slot.

Harvin
If so, the Seahawks could start Ricardo Lockette or rookie Paul Richardson outside in the three-wide receiver sets. Or they could leave Baldwin at split end and play Richardson or Bryan Walters in the slot.

Harvin also was returning kickoffs, so the Seahawks probably will use Walters or Baldwin in the role.

Almost 17 hours after news first broke that Harvin had been traded to the New York Jets, the Seahawks released this statement from general manager John Schneider:

"Although this was an extremely difficult decision, we are constantly evaluating our team and believe at this time, that this is in our best interest to move the team forward. We thank Percy for his efforts that contributed to a Super Bowl XLVIII victory and wish him well."

The Seahawks arrived in St. Louis Friday night, but did not say anything about the trade until releasing this statement at noon on Saturday. Harvin arrived in New York Saturday morning and underwent a physical. Both teams officially announced the trade afterward.
RENTON, Wash. -- No team in the NFL was better than the St. Louis Rams at getting to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson last season.

The Rams sacked Wilson 11 times in the two NFC West matchups. The Seahawks managed to win both games, but the St. Louis defensive line made for some painful moments for Wilson.

If the Rams are going to keep up the pace against Wilson, they will need to do a lot better job at rushing the passer than they have in the first six games this season.

St. Louis was third in the league last season in sacks with 53, but the Rams have only one sack this season. Defensive end Robert Quinn, who had a league-leading 19 sacks last season, doesn’t have a sack in the first six games this year.

[+] EnlargeJosh McCown
AP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackThe Rams' Robert Quinn isn't getting to the quarterback in 2014.
“The ball’s coming out pretty fast,” Quinn said Wednesday on a conference call with Seahawks reporters. “But what can you do? Our back seven are covering their tails off and making plays. One of these days, hopefully, we can have another big sack day.”

And it could be Sunday, based on what the Rams did against the Seattle offensive line last year. Quinn might line up a few times against rookie offensive tackle Justin Britt on Sunday.

“He’s a young guy, and I’m sure he’s still trying to learn and really getting the feel for it,” Quinn said. “But they believe in him, and there’s a reason why he’s out there. He must be doing something right.”

The Rams did a lot of things right in pressuring Wilson last year, but one of the key components to that pass rush won’t play this weekend. Defensive end Chris Long is out after undergoing ankle surgery last month. Long had a big night in the 14-9 loss to the Seahawks last year in the Monday night game at St. Louis.

“I had three sacks, and Chris had three that night," Quinn said. “We held them to 135 yards [total offense]. We played a heck of a ballgame overall. Of course, they came out with the W, but we went toe-to-toe with the world champs.

“That’s the same kind of team we have now. We just have to put it all together and catch fire. We just have to get momentum swinging our way.”

Quinn revealed a little bit on how the Rams were able to get to Wilson last season.

“He’s a shorter quarterback, but trying to take anything away from him,” Quinn said. “But if you keep him in the pocket with linemen who are 6-4 and 6-5 and make it hard for him to see his receivers, that’s the best thing.

“It kind of changes the way you rush a guy. You can’t do a speed rush every single down or Russell will get out and make a play downfield. It can be a little frustrating, but if you collapse the pocket, sometimes you can fall into a couple of sacks. If we have to do that to win a game, we’ll do whatever it takes.”
RENTON – Significant injuries are piling up for the Seattle Seahawks, with four starters and two backups out for Sunday’s road game against the St. Louis Rams.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Friday that starting cornerback Byron Maxwell will not play because of a strained calf he suffered last week in the game against the Cowboys.

Other starters already listed as out are middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (turf toe), center Max Unger (foot) and tight end Zach Miller (ankle surgery).

The Seahawks also are thin on the defensive live with defensive tackle Jordan Hill (sprained ankle) and rookie defensive end Cassius Marsh (broken foot) out.

Carroll said Marsh cracked a bone in his foot in practice Wednesday. He will undergo surgery and be out six to eight weeks.

The Seahawks also list backup tight end Luke Willson (groin) and wide receiver Percy Harvin (thigh) as questionable for Sunday.

“Luke has a sore groin, so we rested him again,” Carroll said after practice Friday. “We’ll take it all the way to game time to make sure he’s OK. Percy practiced and got through [Friday].”

With so many players out or questionable, expect the Seahawks to make some roster moves before Sunday’s game. They might bring up rookie tight end RaShaun Allen from the practice squad if Cooper Helfet is the only healthy tight end.

It’s also unlikely they would carry Marsh for six to eight weeks. He probably will be placed on injured reserve.

Carroll would not say who will start in place of Maxwell, but second-year cornerback Tharold Simon will make his NFL debut, whether he starts or not. Simon, who missed his entire rookie season after undergoing two foot surgeries, had minor knee surgery on Sept. 4.

“He looks in top shape and ready to go,” Carroll said of Simon. “He had an excellent week.”

The Seahawks re-signed defensive end Greg Scruggs Tuesday after releasing him last weekend to make room for defensive back Steven Terrell to move up from the practice squad. But Terrell was released Tuesday and later returned to the practice squad.

Scruggs (6-3, 310) played in 12 games as a rookie in 2012, but missed all of last season with a knee injury. He has not been on the active roster this season, but will be part of the defensive line rotation Sunday.

“We like the way he works,” Carroll said of Scruggs. “He’s a good, tough kid. He can play a lot of spots for us.”

K.J. Wright will move from an outside linebacker spot to start for Wagner, who is in a cast and is likely to miss several games.

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