The Seahawks wrapped up their week of practice Friday ahead of a regular-season finale that head coach Pete Carroll called "a big, big matchup. It feels like a championship game, it felt like a championship preparation, and I'm really excited to come out and play really well for the 12s at CenturyLink. Everybody's pumped up about it. You can tell these guys are jacked up and looking forward to it."
The Seahawks host the Cardinals needing a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive, and fortunately will do so with a relatively healthy roster. One area of concern, however, is depth at tight end, with both Luke Willson and Nick Vannett listed as questionable.
Willson, injured his ankle in practice Thursday, and while Carroll described the sprain as minor, they'll have to wait until gameday to determine his status. Vannett, meanwhile, was a late addition to the injury report Friday with a back injury.
"He turned his ankle yesterday," Carroll said of Willson. "It's a minor sprain, we'll see what happens. We've got to give him a day here and we'll see what happens on gameday."
Two players, linebacker D.J. Alexander (concussion) and defensive tackle Nazair Jones (ankle) have been ruled out, but otherwise everyone on the 53-man roster is expected to be available, including two players listed as questionable, linebacker Bobby Wagner (hamstring) and left guard Luke Joeckel (foot).
On Wagner, Carroll said the middle linebacker, who has been battling a hamstring injury for several weeks, "is in good shape. He's ready to go. We did it the right way to get him through the week. This is the best he has been, like I said last week, and he's better again. We're in good shape."
Carroll conceded Wagner still has "a little bit more to go" before he's 100 percent, but added, "He's doing everything he can. Everything he can possibly do, he's doing."
On Joeckel, Carroll said, "He practiced today. He's fine."
This will be a fifth consecutive game missed by Jones, an unfortunate development consider how well the rookie was playing this season.
"We really do miss him," Carroll said. "He was making plays, he was making things happen—knocking balls down, getting penetration, being active, chasing the ball. He has done a lot of great things for us. He's a terrific draft pick from last year's draft class."
In addition to injuries, the Seahawks are also battling illness this week. Both Michael Bennett and Matt Tobin were held out of Thursday's practice but returned Friday, and on Friday Earl Thomas and Eddie Lacy were sent home sick.
Carroll also noted that cornerback DeShawn Shead is ready to increase his workload this week after making his return from a knee injury last week.
"He looks like he's ready to do even more than he did last week, so we're really pleased with him," Carroll said. "It's great to have him back out here, he's such a great competitor for us. He makes a difference, he helps other guys. He's smart and so aware of what's going on adjustment-wise and anticipation of things, it's great. So he's ready to play in all aspects."
DT Nazair Jones (ankle)
LB D.J. Alexander (concussion)
LB Bobby Wagner (hamstring, limited participation in practice)
TE Luke Willson (ankle, did not participate in practice)
G Luke Joeckel (foot, limited participation in practice)
TE Nick Vannett (back, limited participation in practice)
LB Josh Bynes (ankle, did not participate in practice)
RB Elijhaa Penny (hand/groin, limited participation in practice)
TE Troy Niklas (ankle, full participation in practice)
RB Kerwynn Williams (quadriceps/ribs/back, limited participation in practice)
G Earl Watford (ankle, limited participation in practice)
The Seahawks and Cardinals face off on Sunday, Jan 7, 2024. Kickoff is set for 1:25 p.m. Take a look back through history at the Seahawks' matchups against the Cardinals.