By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — Jason Jones isn’t a starter on Seattle’s defense, but the defensive tackle is still a key player, particularly on passing downs. So it is not good news for the Seahawks that Jones is doubtful for Sunday’s game against Detroit, a team that throws the ball with greater frequency than any other in the NFL.
Johnson will travel to Detroit, so there is a chance he could play, but he did not practice all week because of a bad ankle. A “doubtful” listing by NFL injury-reporting standards means there is at least a 75 percent chance he won’t play.
Jones’ absence in any week would be felt by the Seahawks, but he has been particularly important against pass-happy offenses, and the Lions are nothing if not pass-happy. Their average of 46.2 pass attempts per game leads the NFL, and their 307 passing yards per game rank second. Jones, signed by Seattle in the offseason to help upgrade its pass rush, has helped to do just that. He has been on the field for 37 percent of Seattle’s defensive snaps this season, the vast majority of them passing plays. He has recorded 2.5 sacks, but that number doesn’t begin to tell the story of how disruptive he has been as an interior rusher, one who often collapses the pocket and disrupts the quarterback even if he doesn’t record a sack.
“He’s really important,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, “It’s a really big deal if we can’t get him out there. We’re starting to learn how to rush together and we have a chance to get pretty good here as we grow together. Jason’s a big deal, he’s been involved in a lot of stuff … so we’ll miss him if we can’t get him out there.”
Assuming Jones can’t play, that likely means an increased role for rookie Greg Scruggs, who has seen his playing time increase the past few weeks. Scruggs recorded his first sack in last week’s loss to the 49ers.
“Scruggs is a better pass rusher than we thought,” Carroll said. “We didn’t know that he would have the creativity that he has, so he’s got a chance to be a real good player for us. We’re really excited about him.”
Guard John Moffitt, who has missed four games with a knee injury, is listed as questionable. Even if he is available Sunday, Moffitt is not ready to start, Carroll said. In addition to receiver Doug Baldwin, who was ruled out earlier in the week with an ankle injury, the Seahawks will be without cornerback Byron Maxwell (hamstring), a key special-teams contributor.
Cornerback Walter Thurmond, who practiced this week for the first time since breaking his leg last season, is eligible to come back from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, but Carroll would not say if Thurmond will be activated prior to Sunday’s game. Carroll said the decision has been made, but wouldn’t say what that decision was. If they don’t make a move to add him to the active roster this weekend, the Seahawks can keep Thurmond on the PUP list for one more week. After Week 9, players on the PUP list must be activated, placed on injured reserve or released.
Herald Writer John Boyle: email@example.com.