RENTON — Bradley McDougald is questionable, Lano Hill is out and the Seattle Seahawks are suddenly thin at safety.
That means the Seahawks have been preparing rookie Marquise Blair to potentially make his starting debut Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
“I want him to kick butt, man,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Friday afternoon. “I’m counting on him playing really good. He’s a runner and a hitter. He’s shown that. I don’t have any question about that. It’s just, can he settle in, be comfortable with the calls and adjustments and all that stuff and just play good ball? There’s no question about his ability. It’s just getting acclimated.”
McDougald has started 31 consecutive games for the Seahawks, including all six games this season as the strong safety. He has not practiced this week after first experiencing back spasms Tuesday, Carroll said.
“He’s not right today. Couldn’t go today yet,” Carroll said Friday. “This is the kind of thing, it’s not an injury, it’s more of a condition. He might be able to pop out of this. We’ll see.”
Hill has an elbow injury and will likely be sidelined for a couple weeks, Carroll said.
That leaves, for now, the Seahawks with just three healthy players at the two safety spots: Tedric Thompson and two rookies — Blair and Ugo Amadi.
Another potential option is free safety Adrian Colbert. Colbert was on the 53-man roster for two weeks earlier this season; he was waived last week and re-signed to the practice squad Tuesday.
A second-round pick out of Utah, Blair has appeared in four games this season, playing mostly on special teams. He was inactive against the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams.
Blair has played 12 total snaps on defense this season, including a career-high eight last Sunday at Cleveland.
Thompson has started four games at free safety this season, including the last three, with diving interceptions in the last two.
Carroll said last week that Blair was being specifically used as a free safety, but he said Friday that Blair will be ready to play strong safety if McDougald is unable to go Sunday.
“(Blair) had a really good week of practice — he’s had a ton of work because of the situation with the safeties,” Carroll said. “He’s as ready as he could possibly be at this point right now, so we’re looking forward to having him out there — if that’s the call.”
Brown, Fluker questionable
Left tackle Duane Brown and guard D.J. Fluker are listed as questionable for Sunday. Both sat out last week against Cleveland.
Fluker (hamstring) practiced Friday and appears close to a return.
Carroll said earlier this week that Brown (biceps) would likely need another full week to heal. George Fant would start at left tackle again in his place.
“Fluke’s looking pretty good, and we’ll see,” Carroll said. “We’re going to wait all the way up until game time with Duane.”
Defensive ends Ziggy Ansah (ankle) and Quinton Jefferson (oblique) are also questionable for Sunday.
Jarran Reed said he worked out daily with a personal trainer in Seattle during his six-week suspension, and Carroll praised the defensive tackle’s conditioning after three days of practice.
“He must have worked really hard. He would tell you that he did,” Carroll said. “The challenge of the practice was nothing for him. He’d been working hard enough so that this is not a step up for him, which is what you hope so that he doesn’t have a fall out coming off the practices.”
Reed, second on the team with 10.5 sacks in 2018, said he is “beyond ready” to play Sunday.
“We’re doing all this talking — I’m ready to go,” he said. “I feel great, man. Had a great week of practice. We got it going, going good, and now it’s time to unload.”
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