By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — The Seattle Seahawks survived against one of the NFL’s top pass rushers without their starting left tackle.
Actually, they did much better than survival; the Seahawks thrived, thumping the Dallas Cowboys 27-7 on Sunday. But they are hopeful that they’ll have Russell Okung back when they play the Green Bay Packers next Monday.
Okung, who suffered a knee bruise in Seattle’s season opener, was able to practice late last week, and tested his knee before Sunday’s game, but was unable to play. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll thinks that with a little extra rest — because of the Monday game, Seattle won’t practice until Thursday — Okung should be ready to play against the Packers.
“I think he should be (back), yeah,” Carroll said. “He was close enough that he should be able to make it, particularly with a couple of days here we can rest him. So he won’t have to practice until Thursday, so that will give him a good break.”
With Okung sidelined, backup Frank Omiyale was solid in relief, helping limit the impact of Cowboys Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware.
“He got knocked around a couple of times — he was playing against a great player — but he held his own and had a good credible game and we’re thankful he was able to get that done,” Carroll said of Omiyale.
Okung’s potential return was just one piece of good news on the injury front for Seattle. Other than a hamstring injury to backup cornerback Byron Maxwell, which Carroll described as a “first-degree hamstring kind of thing,” the Seahawks came out of the game healthy.
Receiver Sidney Rice (knee) and tight end Zach Miller (foot) were both able to play after being limited last week in practice. Carroll said Rice came out of the game fine, but that Miller will need some time off this week to rest, and should benefit from the extra day off.
“Sid looked fine,” Carroll said. “He made it through. The trainers handled him beautifully. Zach limped his way through this game some. He was not full speed, but he made it through and toughed it out. He needs these days. He’s got a sore foot, but he needs these days to get over this. He won’t get any work done at all early in the week. We’ll wait until for sure Thursday or Friday until he gets on the field and really does much. But they made it through, and the management of it allowed us to get two guys out there playing in their starting positions and play successfully for us, so it was good.”
Decision at guard
Though not injury related, the Seahawks will also have a decision to make at right guard. John Moffitt started Sunday ahead of rookie J.R. Sweezy, the Week 1 starter, but both players saw significant playing time (Moffitt was on the field for 56 percent of the offensive snaps and Sweezy for 44 percent). No decision has yet been made on who will be the starter moving forward.
“We’ll wait and see,” Carroll said. “John did fine, he got banged up a little bit so JR jumped in there and got some good play at the end like we had hoped. So we just keep making progress and go, we’ll decide that during the week how it’s going, but the competition is definitely on there. John did all right, and J.R. played pretty good too. Neither one of them had any glaring mistakes that would hurt their cause. Both can play better, but they did a nice job.”
As for James Carpenter, who is back practicing but not yet ready for game action, Carroll said the guard who is coming off of knee surgery is ahead of schedule and will practice fully this week, though he’s still not yet ready for game action.
“Full go in practice,” Carroll said. “The first day of the week is the big day for him, that’s with the pads on and all of that stuff. He should be feeling pretty good, he had a very good week last week. We’re a couple weeks away.”
Tate’s big block
A day after Golden Tate leveled Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee with a block that helped spring Russell Wilson for a 14-yard run, the play remained a big talking point. The Cowboys believe Tate should have been penalized for hitting a defenseless player, while Carroll thinks Tate made a hard, but legal, hit. NFL rules state that a defenseless player can’t be hit in the head or neck area, but Tate’s hit on Lee was aimed at the linebacker’s chest, though the receiver’s helmet appeared to get up towards Lee’s chin.
“I don’t think he could have done it any cleaner,” Carroll said. “It was very physical, but he didn’t hit the guy in the head and he didn’t hit him with his helmet, and he tried not to. That’s the idea and the guy jumped up and he was okay. It wasn’t a long run where you see it coming from 15 yards back, he turned saw the guy and banged him. It was more him (Lee) getting caught off guard than anything.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org