RENTON — In the early stages of his NFL career, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has shown a tremendous knack for evading pressure.
That ability will likely be tested once again Sunday, because, in addition to having both starting tackles out, the Seahawks could be without center Max Unger (arm) and their best blocking tight end, Zach Miller (hamstring), both of whom did not practice Friday and are listed as questionable.
“Zach tugged his hammy a little bit,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We’re going to try to wait it out and see if it’s going to be a factor for the game. We’re going to wait all the way to game time. … He’s questionable.”
Unger, who also missed last week’s game, “got some work done this week,” Carroll said “It hasn’t gone as quickly as we had hoped. I can’t tell you more than that. He goes in questionable and we’ll see what happens on game day.”
The Seahawks will be starting rookie Michael Bowie at right tackle for the second consecutive week in place of Breno Giacomini, who had knee surgery Monday. Converted guard Paul McQuistan again will play left tackle in place of Russell Okung, who is on injured reserve with a toe injury and will be out until at least mid- November. If Unger can’t play, Lemuel Jeanpierre again will start at center.
The hope is that Bowie getting his first start under his belt, and everyone else getting the experience of playing together last week will lead to better results than last week, when Wilson was sacked five times and hit a bunch more.
“You can see the difference,” Carroll said. “Michael Bowie feels much more comfortable, and Paul’s a week older at his spot. Really we’ve had no trouble with Lem at all, he just stepped right in and did a really good job. The fact that those guys get to come back, they’re more ready than they’ve been. We expect them to play really clean and sharp football and they’re going to have to play well for us. That’s what we’re counting on.”
One reason Carroll says the line has to play well is that the Colts’ pass rush includes Robert Mathis, who is tied for the league lead with 7.5 sacks. Despite his mobility, Wilson has been sacked 13 times already this season compared to eight through four games last season. If that pace kept up and Wilson ended the year being sacked 52 times, that would tie for the most of any NFL quarterback in the past five seasons (Jay Cutler in 2010).
And if Miller can’t play, that takes away another good blocker, one who would spend more time in pass protection than usual with both starting tackles out. Even so, Carroll expressed faith in rookie tight end Luke Willson and backup Kellen Davis, and more importantly, he likes his quarterback’s ability to make plays against heavy pressure, which the Colts are sure to bring.
“I think he’s doing fine,” Carroll said of Wilson. “He knows when people pressure you there are opportunities to make big plays. As long as we give him a chance and pick it up, I don’t know anybody I’d like to have back there more when the heat is on. He has a variety of solutions to the problems. We don’t mind that at all and he doesn’t mind it either.”
Irvin to debut Sunday
Bruce Irvin, who returned to practice this week after serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, likely will play Sunday, Carroll said after watching Irvin in practice for the past three days.
“He’s done really well,” Carroll said. “He’s a little rough around the edges on some stuff, but he’s in great shape and he’s ready to go and really charged up. He’s done a lot of studying over the time he was out of here and has come back ready to take advantage of this. He doesn’t want to wait another game to get going; we’d like to play him this week.”
If Irvin is indeed going to be active this week, the Seahawks will have to release a player by Saturday to make room on the roster.
New QB versatile
The Seahawks added rookie B.J. Daniels off waivers Wednesday a day after the seventh-round pick out of South Florida was released by the 49ers, and Carroll said Daniels is a player they’ve had their eye on going back to their preparation for the draft.
“We evaluated B.J. at length and really liked him and wanted to see if we could get him on the club, then he got chosen earlier than we had an opportunity to pick him,” he said. “So we’ve had an eye on him the whole time, keeping in our mind that maybe if he got loose we would grab him.
“He’s a guy that brings a lot of versatility. He played a lot of football in college, (he’s) done a lot of cool stuff. He can throw it, run it, and really was the guy in his program who was the focal point guy for four years. We really just liked everything about him, so when we had a chance to grab him, we did.”
Daniels saw action at positions other than quarterback during the preseason with San Francisco, and did some moving around in his first week with the Seahawks, but Carroll said the plan is to keep Daniels at quarterback.
“He’s done a little bit of everything,” Carroll said. “He’s obviously an all-around athlete. We like him as a quarterback. That’s where we like him.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.