By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — There has been a lot of talk this week about the Seahawks’ defense, and more specifically, about what might be wrong with it.
What for most of the season has been a team strength has faltered at times over the past month, most notably in road losses to Detroit and Miami when the Seahawks surrendered fourth-quarter leads.
“We were disappointed in how we played, particularly at the end of that game,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of last weekend’s loss in Miami, which saw the Dolphins score 17 fourth-quarter points.
If the Seahawks defense is going to right the ship Sunday in Chicago, it may well have to do so short-handed. Defensive end Red Bryant (foot) and linebacker Leroy Hill (ankle) are both listed as questionable after sitting out the entire week of practice. Both will be game-day decisions, Carroll said Friday.
“Red did not do much today, and we’re going to take him all the way up to game time,” Carroll said. “He’s dying to play. Leroy Hill ran and changed direction and all that stuff, had a legitimate workout today. We’ll take him all the way to game-day and see how that goes.”
Starting defensive tackle Alan Branch would move to end if Bryant can’t play, and rookie Greg Scruggs would move into Branch’s spot in the rotation. If Hill is unable to go, he would be replaced by Malcolm Smith.
The Seahawks also likely will be without cornerback Marcus Trufant, who while not a starter does play a big role in the defense as Seattle’s nickel cornerback. Trufant injured his hamstring in practice Thursday, did not practice Friday, and is listed as doubtful.
Trufant’s absence likely would open the door for Walter Thurmond to make his 2012 debut. Thurmond, who broke his leg last season and opened the year on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, has been practicing for the past five weeks, but has yet to see game action. He figures to take over the nickel spot if Trufant doesn’t play.
Receiver Sidney Rice is also listed as questionable after having his calf tighten up during Friday’s practice.
“We’ve just got to see what happens tomorrow,” Carroll said of Rice, “but we think he’s OK.”
No decision at left guard
After missing two games with a concussion, James Carpenter returned to his starting spot at left guard last weekend, but shared time with John Moffitt, who replaced Carpenter while he was injured. Carroll still wasn’t sure Friday who would get the start this week.
“Both those guys are ready to go, we’ll see,” Carroll said. “We’re waiting all the way to the end of the week. I haven’t heard (offensive-line coach Tom Cable’s) final call on that one yet. Those guys are battling for their playing time this week.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.