The Seahawks should get some serious reinforcements for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers after playing without several key players in last week's loss at Tampa Bay.
Free safety Earl Thomas (hamstring), cornerback DeShawn Shead (hamstring) and center Justin Britt (ankle) are all expected to play Sunday after missing last week's game with injuries, and Michael Bennett also could be back following a five-game absence due to a knee injury.
"It does feel good to have guys coming back," Carroll said. "On the other side of it, we're really proud of the guys who stepped up and played in place of those who were out, but it feels good. These guys are pumped and looking forward to it."
Britt's return should help an offensive line that struggled without him last week. While coaches have praised the play of rookie Joey Hunt in his first start, there's no replacing the experience and chemistry the line had playing with Britt this season.
"There's no question that you could see the difference," Carroll said. "As we looked at Joey last week, Joey did a nice job playing his position, but there was a loss of chemistry and the kind of things that you count on on an offensive line that showed up some. It was not the fault of anybody, so you couldn't do anything about it, it's just the connection that Justin has as kind of the captain of that group, so we're really thrilled to get him back out."
As for Bennett, the Pro Bowl defensive end did practice this week, though he is listed as questionable.
Carroll did seem relaxed enough about Bennett's status to make jokes about one of his team's most unique characters
"He's highly questionable," Carroll said before adding with a grin, "and he also has some injury issues."
Carroll went on to say that Bennett "did fine" in practice this week, but that "we rested him a little bit to make sure that we don't overdo him in back-to-back days so he'll be ready to play."
Running back Troymaine Pope is expected to be back this week after missing only one game with a high-ankle sprain, and perhaps more significantly, starting running back Thomas Rawls "had his best week" of practice after being pretty beat up a week earlier following his first game back from injury.
"He truly had his best week he has had," Carroll said. "I'm really excited about that. He looked good going into his first game when he came back the second time around, and it was a heavy load for him coming out of that game, and you could see it last week. He showed no signs of that this week. He looks like he's ready to go, and that's a real good thought for us. We like that."
The Seahawks will be without linebackers Brock Coyle (foot), Jordan Tripp (thigh) and receiver Paul Richardson (hamstring), while they will activate linebacker Mike Morgan off of injured reserve before Sunday's game, Carroll said.
On Richardson's hamstring, Carroll said, "It has kind of been ongoing, and it just got kind of aggravated. He was able to finish the game, but still felt it and we just couldn't get him back this week."
Tight end Luke Willson (knee) and defensive end Damontre Moore (foot) are both questionable for Sunday's game.
The Panthers, meanwhile, are missing several key players, including All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly (concussion), starting safety Kurt Coleman (concussion), starting right tackle Daryl Williams (ankle), and defensive end Mario Addison, who leads the team in sacks with 6.5.
RB C.J. Prosise (shoulder, did not participate in practice)
WR Paul Richardson (hamstring, did not participate in practice)
LB Brock Coyle (foot, did not participate in practice)
LB Jordan Tripp (thigh, did not participate in practice)
DE Michael Bennett (knee, limited participation)
TE Luke Willson (knee, limited participation)
DE Damontre Moore (foot, limited participation)
RB Troymaine Pope (ankle, full participation)
LB Luke Kuechly (concussion, did not participate in practice)
S Kurt Coleman (concussion, did not participate in practice)
DE Mario Addison (foot, did not participate in practice)
OT Daryl Williams (ankle, did not participate in practice)
The Seahawks and Panthers face off on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023. Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. PT. Take a look back through history at the Seahawks' matchups against the Panthers.