By John Boyle
Here’s what Pete Carroll said when asked what losing Sidney Rice means to the team: “It affects us because he’s a guy we’ve gone to for a number of years. We’ve trusted the heck out of him, he’s a terrific football player, a great catcher. He really knows the system really well—he’s been around Bev for so long that he really has it mastered—so he really helps people around him play well and adjust to things as need be. I was sick for him. It was a very unusual situation, because he didn’t think he was hurt that badly. It wasn’t a real violent play that took place, but it just caught him exactly wrong. Nobody thought he was that seriously hurt until they took the MRI. It’s very unfortunate and he’s been a big part of it, so we’re going to miss the heck out of him.
“But as always, it calls for the next guys, so Doug Baldwin steps up and Jermaine (Kearse) steps up to fill in, and we move up Ricardo Lockette (from the practice squad), and we count on all those guys to take up the slack. But you have a veteran guy like that that we’ve counted on a long time who’s big in the system, we’re going to miss him.”
Of course any talk about receivers brings up the question about when Percy Harvin will return to game action, and it sounds like that may not happen this week.
“He’s still with the rehab guys today and we’ll see how that goes, then we’ll see what tomorrow means,” Carroll said, later clarifying that Harvin would not practice Wednesday.
Asked if there had been a setback with Harvin, Carroll answered: “With the workload that he’s had to endure to get back and to get in shape, there’s going to be some stuff, and he’s been a little bit sore from last week. So we just want make sure we don’t go too far, too fast; we’re looking for the long-haul thinking in recovery, so we just make sure that we can manage our way through that. We’re being very careful. He didn’t do a whole lot last week, he did very little. So it seems like it’s best to keep him in that mode for a little bit longer. So we’ll see. That’s today for right now.”
On injured tackles Breno Giacomini and Russell Okung, Carroll said, “Russell has a chance to come back Friday for the first time, and Breno is chomping at the bit, he’s getting really close. Russell has a process he’s got to get through, but the first day he can practice is Friday. Breno’s really day-to-day right now, I would think by next week he’ll be pretty active in what’s going on, so we’ll see what that means.”
The process Carroll mentioned is that of coming off injured reserve/designated for return. Okung cannot play until the Nov. 17 game against Minnesota, but as Carroll mentioned, the left tackle can begin practicing as soon as Friday.
Going to back to receivers, Doug Baldwin is expected to take over Rice’s starting spot, though as Carroll mentioned, Kearse will also take on a bigger role. Despite being known primarily as a slot receiver, he’s comfortable playing as an outside receiver, and in fact scored his first NFL touchdown playing Rice’s position.
As Baldwin noted, “It’s kind of hard to replace Sidney Rice, because he knows the entire offense and he does a lot of things we can’t replicate, so we’re just going to try to fill his role the best we can.”
Aske what’s hard to replicate, Baldwin said, “I mean, I can’t grow. I can’t get any taller. Sidney’s just a bigger target for Russell obviously, and he’s amazing at catching anything, and like we know he’ll give up his body to do so. It’s difficult to replicate the things he does in those positions. He’s great at having awkward-body catches.”
Receiver Golden Tate, meanwhile, doesn’t figure to see his role change as much, but says everyone needs to step up and do more with Rice out, “We’re mature enough that we’re ready to do that. We’re ready for more of a load, we can handle that. This is what we’ve been waiting for—not an injury, obviously—but we’ve been waiting to get more balls, to be more involved in the offense, and I think that’s what’s going to happen with us.”
Tate, of course, was also asked about his 80-yard touchdown and the taunting penalty that came with it. As he was the case after the game, Tate said he needs to be mature and not do things that can hurt his team, but he was also a little annoyed it’s still such a big topic.
“I definitely heard from the NFL, definitely got fined,” he said. “I received a fine, I think it should be kept at that. I don’t know why days later, the national media’s still talking about it, still showing it. I made a silly mistake by waving bye, and I’ve seen guys do way worse and not get talked about for days and day and days after. But I’m taking full responsibility, I don’t need to put this team in that type of situation, I don’t need to draw that type of attention to this organization, and it won’t happen again.
“Why are we still talking about it guys? We’ve got another week of freaking football, why is it being highlighted as a bigger deal than it is?”