The Seahawks returned to work Monday following their bye week, and did so adding some significant reinforcements on both sides of the ball.
Pro-Bowl linebacker K.J. Wright, who missed Seattle's first six games following arthroscopic knee surgery, practiced for the first time since August, while tight end Ed Dickson, a key free-agent addition this offseason, returned to action after spending the first six weeks on the reserve/non-football injury list.
In addition to those two making their way back from long-term absences, the Seahawks also saw rookie defensive end Rasheem Green return to practice following a three-game absence caused by an ankle injury. Tight end Nick Vannett, who missed Seattle's Week 6 win in London with a back injury, was also back in action.
"It was fun," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said when asked about Wright's return. "Those guys gave him a hard time because he was finally back on the practice field. It was good to see Ed Dickson back out there too, and also Rasheem Green came back today, so it's a nice day to bring some guys back onto the practice field."
With the Seahawks coming out of the previous two games relatively healthy in terms of new injuries, the return of Wright and Dickson leaves Seattle in pretty good shape heading into a Week 8 game at Detroit.
"We're not too bad right now," Carroll said. "We're fortunate that we're coming back out—the last few games we've made it through for the most part. Guys feel good coming out of last week, then going into the break, it helped us. So to get a few guys back too, it's a nice little boost."
Carroll noted that both players were limited in practice on Monday, but said it was "enough to get them going and get them feeling a part of it. Really this is just kind of break-the-ice day for them. They've been working really hard so that this isn't a big jump for them, that's part of their rehab, particularly for Ed who has had a lot time to work at this. He has been running really hard, so he should not feel it's a big step for him to get back on the practice field. He should be able to play extensively on the weekend if he makes it through the week."
Carroll said it was too soon to know how much Wright can play on Sunday, adding, "we're not going to overdo it with him, there's no reason to do that." And if the Seahawks do want to ease Wright, who's usually an every-down player, back into game action, they can do so feeling good about the play of Barkevious Mingo, who took on a significantly larger role on defense in the past two games, playing as one of the two linebackers in nickel packages along with Bobby Wagner. Previously Mingo had played strongside linebacker in base defense while also serving as an edge rusher in nickel packages.
"(Wright) has been such a fixture for us, he adds so much," Carroll said. "It's not a transition really. Although what has happened is that Barkevious has had a lot of extensive work, and he is really well-versed to do a lot of things for us now, much more so than I would have thought would have happened during the course of the season. He was kind of just forced in there a bit, and he really showed us some stuff that we were surprised to see. He hasn't played behind the line of scrimmage that much in his career—all the way back to college even—and he looked very comfortable. He learned a lot over the years watching and paying attention through practice reps and stuff like that, and he did a nice job. So that just gives us some flexibility that we didn't know we would have, so that's a real positive."
Carroll also provided an update on running back J.D. McKissic, who remains on injured reserve but is eligible to return following Seattle's Week 9 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
"He's still two weeks away from when he can come back," Carroll said. "So he, like Ed, has to really push these next two weeks so that the transition he could make could be right away. That's the goal that he could be available to us two weeks from now, we'll see what happens. I don't have a good update to that for right now other than that he has been doing great and working out and doing all that stuff, but these two weeks are really huge for him."