The Seahawks will host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at CenturyLink Field, and will do so with a different-looking interior offensive line because of injuries.
Ethan Pocic, who started the first two games of the season at left guard, is out because of an ankle injury. The good news for Seattle is that right guard D.J. Fluker is back after missing the first two games with a hamstring injury, allowing J.R. Sweezy, who filled in for Fluker in the first two games, to slide over to the left side. Less certain is the situation at center, where starter Justin Britt is listed as questionable having not practiced all week due to a shoulder injury sustained late in Monday’s game at Chicago.
“We’re going to go all the way up to game time with that one, see how he’s doing,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s feeling way better. He didn’t get to work this week though, but he has been out there with us a long time and he knows what’s going on, so he could play on Sunday in this instance.”
If Britt can’t go, the Seahawks have confidence in backup center Joey Hunt, who took over for Britt on Monday and was on the field for Seattle’s 99-yard touchdown drive late in the game.
“Joey did really well last week when he played, and he has always done well when he’s in there,” Carroll said. “He’s a really savvy football player, and he’s strong and tough and all that. He has always answered the call when we need him, so we’re fine with him. We got good work with him in the huddle, making calls and all the things that he does, and he’s one of our smartest guys and has always been great at all that.”
Asked about Pocic’s injury—he was able to finish Monday’s game despite hurting his ankle—Carroll said, “He turned his ankle in the game, just out in space. He was running in an open area and he turned his ankle, and it just flared up. I’m surprise for how it looked that it didn’t respond, but he’s certainty got something; we found it in the MRI and all that, so we’ve got to take care of him.”
Carroll said it is not yet known if this injury could keep Pocic out beyond this week.
Sweezy, a right guard throughout his career, says transitioning to the left side hasn’t been too problematic in practice.
“It has been fun,” he said. “It was a little bit foreign the first few days, but the more I do it, the more natural it feels. I’m just excited to be out there… It’s just kind of opposite, but it’s all there. I know what I’m doing. It’s just filling out the angles and knowing what I should do to put myself in good position.”
Added Carroll, “He says it’s no problem for him at all. He never balked at it for a second, he feels very comfortable doing it. He has had a lot of work there for us, not in the games but in practice. It’s something we’ve had in mind a long time when we brought him in that he would be able to compete at that spot if Fluke held onto his spot, so it has worked out where now he gets a chance. It’s a good chance for us to see these guys go together and play at the same time.”
On getting Fluker back at right guard, Carroll said, “He just got right back in and took all the reps and really did a good job, he’s ready to go. It’s great to have him back, he’s got such a great spirit and he’s such a tough guy, it’s really nice to have him back in the huddle.”
Other than Britt, the only other players listed questionable for the Seahawks is linebacker Mychal Kendricks, though Carroll made it sound like Kendricks should be able to go, which would be good news for a defense that will again be without its usual starter at that spot, K.J. Wright.
“Mychal just came down wrong on his foot yesterday and it’s just sore, so we think it’s going to be OK,” Carroll said. “It’s not swollen or anything like that, but we just want to make sure we don’t overwork him going into it.”
In addition to Wright and Pocic, the Seahawks will also be without Doug Baldwin for the second straight game, but Carroll noted that the Pro-Bowl receiver is making good progress in his recovery from the MCL injury he sustained in the season-opener.
“Doug ran really well the last couple of days, he’s going to take tomorrow off I believe—he’s gone four straight days, so that’s a really good sign and he’s feeling really good about it,” Carroll said. “I don’t know what to tell you about projecting that, but he was weaving and running and changing direction some and all that today, so he’s coming close.”
In addition to Fluker and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, the Seahawks are also getting back cornerback Tre Flowers, who started the season-opener at right corner but missed last week’s game with a hamstring injury.
Though not injury related, safety Earl Thomas was held out of practice Friday for what Carroll described as personal reasons. Thomas was present for Friday’s practice but not participating.
Here are the full injury reports for both teams:
WR Doug Baldwin (knee, did not participate in practice)
G Ethan Pocic (ankle, did not participate in practice)
LB K.J. Wright (knee, did not participate in practice)
C Justin Britt (shoulder, did not participate in practice)
LB Mychal Kendricks (ankle, limited participation in practice)
DT Maliek Collins (knee, did not participate in practice)
C Travis Frederick (illness, did not participate in practice)
S Xavier Woods (hamstring, limited participation in practice)
LB Sean Lee (hamstring, limited participation in practice)
WR Cole Beasley (ankle, limited participation in practice)
The Seahawks and Cowboys will meet for the second time in the postseason this Saturday in Dallas. Take a look back at photos from past games played between the two teams.