The Seahawks face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, and one big question prior to kickoff will be the status of defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who is listed as questionable for the game.
Ansah, one of Seattle’s top free-agent signings who is coming back from shoulder surgery that ended his 2018 season, was inactive last week, but has been practicing the past few weeks and is close to being game-ready.
“He practiced all week long,” Carroll said “He did all right, he practiced all week. He wasn’t limited at this point. He’s almost there, he may be there, we’ll find out, see if we can get him to play this week. He’s getting really close. If he doesn’t go this week, he certainly has a great chance for next week.”
And Ansah isn’t the only defensive end hoping to make his Seahawks debut in Pittsburgh. First-round pick L.J. Collier, who went down with an ankle injury early in training camp, also practiced all week and is ready to go, Carroll said, though that doesn’t guarantee he’ll be active after such a long layoff.
“L.J. is back,” Carroll said. “He’s ready to play in this game if we want to put him up, he can go. He had a great week, and that’s a really good return for him. He worked really hard, he maintained his conditioning through the rehab. He looked really well-conditioned in the practices, it wasn’t overburdening him at all. So in our mind, he can play, we’ve just got to see what the rotations would be if we put him up.”
A couple of Week 1 starters are listed as doubtful, meaning they’re unlikely to go: safety Tedric Thompson (hamstring) and defensive tackle Poona Ford (calf). Also doubtful is cornerback Neiko Thorpe (hamstring).
Asked about Thompson’s injury, Carroll said, “Hamstring in the game. We had to just quiet him down. We’ll find out what happens here at the end of the week, which we’re almost at, I understand.”
One candidate to replace Thompson if he can’t go is fellow 2017 draft pick Lano Hill. Hill started two games in place of an injured Thompson late last season and played well, but he sustained a hip injury in Week 17 that caused him to miss time in offseason workouts and early in camp and the preseason.
“He has done really well,” Carroll said. “He has come back to be back at full speed. He has been practicing with us for quite some time now. If he gets the chance to play, he’s ready to go. We all remember that he finished really well last year, and he has jumped right back at it. He’s ahead of where he was in terms of awareness of the scheme, what’s asked of him and all of that. So we’re very comfortable with him playing.
“He’s really fast, he’s 216 or something, good size. He was always a really good cover guy. One of the most physical tacklers—we thought he was the best tackler in the draft when he came out, and he has not disappointed since then. So he’s got all of the right stuff, he just needed to kind of grow up with us and we feel like he has had the time to do that.”
Veteran guard Mike Iupati is likely going to play this week after serving as a backup at left guard last week, Carroll said. Iupati, the starter at that spot to open camp, missed most of camp and the preseason with foot and calf injuries, and only returned to practice last week, leading to Ethan Pocic getting the start. But earlier this week Carroll said Iupati will step back into the starting lineup when he’s ready, and it sounds like that could happen on Sunday.
“Mike had a really good week,” Carroll said. “He was able to take the workload, and Mike has got a great chance to play in this game.”
Receiver Tyler Lockett practiced each of the last two days after missing Wednesday’s practice with back spasms, and is good to go, Carroll said.
“He had back spasms, woke up with them, just slept wrong,” Carroll said. “He’s practiced fine after that day. He came back fine.”
Fellow receiver David Moore, who is recovering from a fractured humerus bone, won’t play this week, but did practice each of the last three days, and could return to game action as soon as next week.
“David practiced really well,” Carroll said. “Next week is a really big week for him, he has a chance to come back to us. He won’t make it this week, but he has a chance next week to come out and play for us. He looked great, he feels really good. Like we’ve said all along, he’s going to feel better than the tests show, but the scans he had this week really gave us a really optimistic thought that he has a chance next week.”
Here are the full injury reports for both teams:
C Joey Hunt (ankle, did not participate in practice)
WR David Moore (shoulder, limited participation in practice)
DE Poona Ford (calf, did not participate in practice)
S Tedric Thompson (hamstring, did not participate in practice)
CB Neiko Thorpe (hamstring, did not participate in practice)
DE Ziggy Ansah (shoulder, full participation in practice)
FB Roosevelt Nix (knee, did not participate in practice)
CB Joe Haden (shoulder, full participation in practice)
C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle, full participation in practice)
The Seahawks and the Steelers will meet this Sunday in Pittsburgh at Heinz Field for the second game of the 2019 season. Take a look back at photos from the past games between the two teams.