Seahawks linebackers Smith, Toomer return to practice

RENTON — As loaded as the Seattle Seahawks defense is overall, it’s easy to forget just how thin Seattle has been at linebacker this preseason.

Yet in their first two preseason games, the Seahawks were without three of their top four, and arguably four out of their top five linebackers with Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, Malcolm Smith and Korey Toomer all sidelined by injuries.

On Monday, the Seahawks got two of those linebackers back — Smith, the Super Bowl MVP, and Toomer, who after missing all of last season with a knee injury was one of the standout players in offseason workouts, or as head coach Pete Carroll put it at one point, “The hottest player in camp.”

Smith, who had offseason ankle surgery, and Toomer, who opened camp on the physically unable to perform list with a hamstring injury, were both limited in Monday’s workout, but it was a good step for the Seahawks in getting their linebacking unit whole again.

“It’s good to see those guys back out there,” Carroll said. “They’ve been dying to get back on the practice field … Tomorrow they’ll try to take a little bit more, and we’ll work them through the week and see what happens, see what that means.”

The Seahawks are still without Ivrin (hip) and Wagner (hamstring), who could both return to practice next week, though Carroll said Irvin, who is also on the PUP list, might not come back until after Seattle’s final preseason game.

With Toomer and Smith returning to action Monday, and with Irvin and Wagner getting closer, linebacker is going from a position with depth concerns to one of the strongest position groups on the team.

In their first two preseason games, the Seahawks started undrafted rookie Brock Coyle at middle linebacker and Mike Morgan, a special teams standout who has had very limited defensive playing time since first singing with the Seahawks in 2011, at strongside linebacker. If the Seahawks are at full strength by the end of this month, neither of those preseason starters is even a lock to make the 53-man roster, though both have certainly made a very strong case to be included.

When everyone is healthy, Irvin, Wagner and K.J. Wright will start, meaning the Super Bowl MVP is likely the top backup at both outside linebacker positions, while Toomer, Morgan and Coyle lead a group of roster hopefully that also includes the likes of rookie Kevin Pierre-Louis and veteran Heath Farwell.

“It’s a really good group,” Carroll said. “We are really excited about these guys, and it’s been thin all throughout the camp. Mike Morgan, Brock and K.J. have really held it together for us, so it’s really fun to see these guys come back. Not only do they do well in scrimmage plays, they’re a fantastic addition to special teams too so we will get faster and more experience real quick as they return.”

More in Sports

Local orienteering league lets kids get back to nature

Competitors use only a map and a compass to navigate through woodsy terrain toward checkpoints.

How Lake Stevens’ Walles rediscovered his love for swimming

Helping teammates improve has reignited the senior’s passion in the pool.

High school swimming: Five storylines to watch this season

Jackson and Kamiak both appear poised to make waves this winter

Carroll critical of Seahawks after ugly end to Sunday’s game

Seattle coach: ‘We don’t want to look like that. Ever.’

VIDEO: An introduction to competitive orienteering

Several Snohomish County high schools compete in the Washington Interscholastic Orienteering League.

BLOG: Carter Hart named WHL Goalie of the Week (yes, again)

Carter Hart has been named the WHL Goaltender of the Week for… Continue reading

Monday’s prep results, with links to recaps

Here are Monday’s prep scores, with links to recaps: BOYS BASKETBALL Northwest… Continue reading

Community roundup: Local runners help win a national title

Club Northwest won the Men’s Masters division at the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships

WSU defensive lineman voted a first-team All-American

Washington’s Pettis and WSU’s O’Connell make the second team; UW’s Vea earns a spot on the third team

Most Read