Week 6 Injury Report (Seahawks)

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Steelers.com 13 October, 2021 - 03:08pm 4 views

James Washington among Steelers expected to step up after Smith-Schuster sidelined

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 13 October, 2021 - 07:10pm

With the season-ending injury to receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, coach Mike Tomlin said the Steelers will rely on other receivers such as James Washington and Ray-Ray McCloud to replace him.

“My heart aches for JuJu,” Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. “But I’m equally excited for those guys.”

Tomlin did not dismiss the possibility the Steelers would sign a free agent to replace Smith-Schuster, indicating they would be more interested in a player with NFL experience.

“We’re going to need depth,” Tomlin said. “Often times, experience is preferred as opposed to the best skill set.”

Smith-Schuster sustained a severe shoulder injury late in the first half of Sunday’s victory against the Denver Broncos. He had a surgical procedure that night but will have another surgery Wednesday to correct the problem.

“We have a lot of guys we have confidence in,” Tomlin said. “We have confidence in James Washington. It’s an opportunity for James to expand his role and do the things he’s capable of doing. Those opportunities are big opportunities.”

Some of the available free agents with NFL experience are former Arizona Cardinals receiver John Brown, who most recently played with the Buffalo Bills; and former Houston Texans receiver Anthony Miller, who was cut last week. Another option is Golden Tate, 33, who played the past two seasons with the New York Giants.

The Steelers promoted wide receiver Cody White from the practice squad to the 53-man roster last week as a replacement for injured James Washington.

Even though he is 24 (he will turn 25 next month), Smith-Schuster is the oldest wide receiver of the team and looked upon as the leader of the young group. How do the Steelers replace that?

That’s easy,” Tomlin said. “Guys do that simply by being themselves, the same way JuJu developed that persona simply by being himself. It happens organically.”

Meantime, Tomlin said Washington (groin), cornerback Cam Sutton (groin) and nose tackle Carlos Davis (knee) are expected to return to practice Tuesday after missing the Broncos game. They should be available for Sunday night’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.

He did not sound so certain about inside linebacker Devin Bush (groin), who was injured against the Broncos. Tomlin said the team is still evaluating two players who have been on injured reserve – right tackle Zach Banner and running back Anthony McFarland Jr.

The Steelers have to decide during the bye week if Banner should be added to the 53-man roster or be returned to injured reserve for the remainder of the season. They have until the following week to make a decision on McFarland.

First Published October 12, 2021, 5:03pm

NFL betting: How much is Russell Wilson worth to the line?

Yahoo Sports 13 October, 2021 - 07:10pm

My pseudonym is NOT a fan of irony.

Nor is it a fan of paragraphs.

Which is why I am ignoring a certain member’s suggestion that I should write an article in paragraph form if the Hawks fell to the FTRs.

I did find the suggestion amusing though - which is why I am going to offer to write an article next week using nothing but paragraphs IF ...

For those that may have missed it, ESPN’s Brady Henderson sent out this Tweet after Seattle’s most recent Jekyll and Hyde performance:

From @ESPNStatsInfo: The Seahawks have allowed 450-plus total yards in four straight games, the longest streak in team history and tied for the longest streak in NFL history.

Focusing only on the last 4 games (i.e. the ones that “matter” for the record):

Bottom line: Seattle’s defense has been equally bad in both phases - and pretty consistently too.

Next up: The Pittsburgh Steelers ... at Heinz Field.

On the bright side, the Stealers (yep, still bitter) are struggling and have a 2-3 record to prove it. They’re currently the cellar dweller in the AFC North and their offense is averaging a hair under 320 yards per game.

On the not-so-bright side, it is very likely that none of that will matter when it comes to Seattle’s defense.

Let’s start with the most recent game.

The Rams (476) average 391.3 yards per game when they’re not playing Seattle. That’s a difference of 84.7 yards.

It’s actually the defense’s best -slash- smallest difference over the last 4 weeks.

Here are the other 3 “performances”:

Okay, fine ... Seattle’s defense allowed the Titans to accumulate 178.5 more yards than they averaged against their other 4 foes ... 532 vs. Seattle; 353.5 vs. everyone else.

And, before you go thinking the Titans’ numbers are skewed because they have played some really good teams ...

Just to drive this point home ...

The Seahawks gave up 284 more yards to the Titans than the Cardinals did, 164 more yards than either the Colts or the Jaguars did, and 82 more yards than the Jets did.

After watching the Steelers put up 391 yards against the Broncos on Sunday, who thinks they can top 450 yards against the Seahawks?

Personally, I don’t think it will happen.

Which is why I’m willing to wager the dreaded paragraph-style article on it.

Call it blind naivety, unbridled optimism run amok, or a combination thereof, but I think Seattle’s defense is going to shock the world on Sunday Night Football.

And NOT in a bad way.

I think they have too damn much pride to allow 450+ yards five straight games.

I also think Seattle will win, 28-14, and even their record at 3-3.

Steelers notes: Devin Bush, Cameron Sutton, James Washington could play this week

TribLIVE 13 October, 2021 - 07:10pm

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As he is wont to do, Mike Tomlin was short on specifics regarding the list of injuries afflicting the Pittsburgh Steelers. But Tomlin didn’t rule out three starters from playing Sunday night against the Seattle Seahawks.

Of inside linebacker Devin Bush, cornerback Cameron Sutton and wide receiver James Washington — in addition to reserve defensive lineman Carlos Davis — Tomlin applied his trope that “practice availability and the quality of that practice participation will be our guide” in regards to those players’ availability to face the Seahawks.

Bush suffered a groin injury during Sunday’s win against the Denver Broncos. Washington and Sutton did not play because of groin injuries, and Davis missed his fourth consecutive game because of a knee injury.

“All will be working in some capacity, I imagine, (during practice) on Wednesday,” Tomlin said, “and then progress hopefully in a positive way toward game time.”

Tomlin spoke similarly of offensive tackle Zach Banner and reserve running back Anthony McFarland, each of whom remains on injured reserve but have been cleared to practice.

Because of a league rule that a player must be activated off IR within 21 days of his return to practice, a decision regarding Banner must be made by Oct. 20. McFarland’s drop-dead date is Oct. 27. The Steelers are idle next weekend and visit the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 31.

Tomlin left the door open either could play against Seattle.

“It’s good to have them back out there,” Tomlin said. “We’re still within that 21-day window on those guys. We’ll evaluate the quality of their work (at practice) and then make a determination on whether they can be positive contributors to our effort (Sunday) if it’s appropriate.”

Sutton, Washington and Bush join outside linebackers Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt and cornerback Joe Haden as starters who missed at least one game this season because of a groin injury.

Other soft-tissue ailments, such as hamstrings, also seem to be disproportionately affecting the Steelers this season. That has led some to question whether the Steelers are doing something wrong in their approach to training or recovery or to addressing injuries.

Tomlin, though, said the organization hasn’t gotten to the point that it is examining it internally.

“Not at this juncture, no,” he said.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at cadamski@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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Tim Benz: Steelers' win over Broncos wasn't a swing game, but a win over Seahawks could be

TribLIVE 13 October, 2021 - 07:10pm

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If the phrase has been used once about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ victory over the Denver Broncos Sunday, it’s been used one thousand times.

It was a “swing game”!

But if it makes Steeler Nation enthused, reinvigorated and reinvested in what appeared to be a lifeless 2021 season, who am I to rain on anyone’s parade?

Maybe if Pittsburgh football fans truly are rejuvenated following that win Sunday, we’ll see fewer than 9,000-10,000 empty seats under pristine weather conditions as we’ve witnessed the last two games at Heinz Field.

Buy into that belief that the Steelers won a “swing game” over the Broncos if you like. Just allow me to advance a slightly different theory: The swing game is actually this week against the Seattle Seahawks.

And it started swinging last Thursday when Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson busted his finger during a loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

I looked at that victory over Denver, and I didn’t see the Steelers swinging their season back in the right direction. I just saw them stopping the bleeding. I saw them preventing a death spiral. I saw them pulling over to the side of the road just before driving off a cliff.

Especially after watching that Broncos club for four quarters. It became abundantly clear that Denver is much closer to the team that got outclassed by Baltimore 23-7 in Week 4, instead of the one that began the year 3-0 against a schedule that featured vanquished opponents (the Jets, Jaguars and Giants) currently at a collective 2-13.

Grabbing a win over Denver at Heinz Field was one the Steelers had to have to avoid a complete meltdown. It was one most assumed before the season. It was one many in Pittsburgh talked themselves into picking before kickoff despite the team’s three-game losing streak.

If the Steelers had lost, the only question would’ve been, “How bad can it possibly get?” Instead, many of us are suddenly asking, “How quickly can the Steelers get back into contention?”

I think I can answer that one. November 14. That’s when.

Don’t be surprised if the Steelers leave Heinz Field that Sunday afternoon solidly in wild card contention at 5-4, having just beaten the currently winless Detroit Lions.

On the Monday after the loss in Green Bay, at 1-3, every Steelers fan in Western Pennsylvania would have signed up for that. The game that makes such a climb out of the doldrums feasible is a potential win over the Seahawks Sunday.

It’s an outcome that was possible prior to Seattle’s loss of Wilson. Now it’s an outcome that is well within reach because backup Geno Smith is quarterbacking.

Just don’t tell Mike Tomlin that.

“He’s got some understanding of how that system of football is built,” Tomlin said of Smith. “He’s 31 years old. He’s been in this league a long time. I’d imagine he is in place there because he gives them an opportunity to function in a very similar manner — at least schematically — in terms of their personality.”

Fair enough. Smith did look capable in relief against the Los Angeles Rams Thursday night. He does have two excellent receiving weapons in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf as help. Plus, as Tomlin pointed out, the offense doesn’t change much functionally with him under center.

Once the ball is snapped, how that offensive functionality actually — um — functions with Smith instead of Wilson is a different question.

It’s also a question if Seattle’s struggling defense will be enough of a deterrent to slow a Steelers offense that has begun taking baby steps in the right direction each of the past two games. The Seahawks are last in the league in total yards allowed (450.8), 30th in pass yards per game (305.6) and 31st in rush yards per game (145.2).

If Wilson isn’t at quarterback to help the offense keep up with what the opposition gets against his own team’s defense, it could be a long day for Seattle. Even if that opposing offense is the usually anemic one wearing Black and Gold.

When the schedule came out, if I was squinting hard enough, I could vaguely see a Steelers win over Seattle. Now it is staring me right in the face — even if this 2021 version of the Steelers franchise is diluted compared to what we are used to watching.

After the loss in Green Bay, I felt like even if the Steelers did scrape by Denver, Wilson would be throwing bombs over their heads and the Cleveland Browns would be running the ball down their throat two weeks later after the bye. Therefore, whatever good that would’ve been built up by the Denver game would’ve been washed away before an apparent chance to rebound against the Chicago Bears and Lions at home.

I was even thinking 1-6 for the first time since 1988 was a possibility, with players emotionally checking out and failing to buy into the coaching they were getting.

Or, for that matter, coaches perhaps no longer buying into what their players could do.

“That wasn’t — and is not — our focus,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “I proceed with the assumption that there is buy-in, because that is what we build culturally, and those are our values.”

Luckily for Tomlin, he’ll never have to find out how bad things could’ve gotten if that game against Denver went the other way. But he’ll need a win over Seattle to return to .500 and truly return to respectability.

That’s the kind of swing Tomlin and his players need. Fortunately for them, it may have started in their direction last Thursday night.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at tbenz@triblive.com or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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Seahawks Notebook: Carroll on Geno Smith, CBs without Tre Flowers

710 ESPN Seattle 13 October, 2021 - 04:49pm

The 2-3 Seahawks travel to Pittsburgh this weekend to take on the 2-3 Steelers on Sunday Night Football.

The Seahawks are in an interesting spot with injuries at key positions like quarterback as well as major defensive struggles.

Head coach Pete Carroll provided some thoughts and updates on the team during his Wednesday press conference.

Here’s a bit of what Carroll had to say.

After surprisingly winning a starting job during the offseason, cornerback Tre Flowers is no longer longer with the Seahawks after he was waived on Wednesday.

That put an end to Flowers’ four-year run with the Seahawks, who drafted him in the fifth round of the 2018 draft and converted him from a safety at Oklahoma State to a pro cornerback. He started for the Seahawks his first two years but he was benched in favor of Quinton Dunbar in 2020. He played on and off due to injuries to other players in 2020, and he started each of Seattle’s first three games in 2021 before Sidney Jones took over at left cornerback.

Carroll said it was a move that he feels is best for Flowers going forward.

“I think it was time for a change for him. He had a couple guys that were getting playing time ahead of him,” Carroll said. “I love that guy. I love the kid. I’ve been working with him as close as anyone I’ve worked with since I’ve been here. I feel it’s better for him to get out of here and get going again. There’s a lot of teams that need corners and I hope he gets a great shot.”

Carroll said he was very high on Flowers coming out of training camp this year because he’d exceeded all expectations and came back to the team better and more aggressive.

“In my opinion, it just didn’t stay as much as I’d hoped,” Carroll said when asked why Flowers struggled in 2021. “We gave him a great shot at it and he did everything he could.”

Reports surfaced Tuesday that Flowers was to be cut, with some reporting that Flowers asked to be released or traded.

“He never said anything like that to me ever,” Carroll said.

With Flowers out, Jones and D.J. Reed are the clear starters at cornerback. But that could change soon, too.

Not only does Carroll have a high opinion of Bless Austin, who has starting experience with the New York Jets, but rookie corner Tre  Brown is set to return from injured reserve very soon.

Carroll said the fourth-round pick should be ready to play as soon as this Sunday.

“I’ve already talked to him about how this is the time he comes back to action,” Carroll said. “… When he got hurt, he was right at the verge of competing for playing time. He’d done a lot of positive things and unfortunately his knee acted up and he couldn’t respond right then.”

Carroll said he has “no apprehension” in starting the rookie if he earns it, but they need to get him on the practice field before that’s possible.

“We drafted him to let him compete for the job and see what happens and we’re sticking to that. That’s what’s happening right now.”

Brown returned to practice last week, but with the team playing on Thursday, it was a short week and the Seahawks were in walkthroughs rather than normal practices.

Carroll also wouldn’t say whether Brown is still practicing on the left side, where Jones plays, or on Reed’s right side.

Speaking of Jones, Carroll thought he played better against the Rams in Week 5 than he did in his first game with the Seahawks in Week 4 against the 49ers.

“He’s a real smart kid and all that, he just needed to get out there with us,” he said. “Unfortunately the first time out there were a couple of plays (that got away from him). He played a solid game (against the Rams). The ball really went on the other side of the field more than his way.”

With star quarterback Russell Wilson out of action for a few weeks, the Seahawks turn to Geno Smith, who has been Seattle’s backup QB since 2019.

Carroll said he was “really pleased” with Smith’s performance against the Rams after Wilson suffered a finger injury because he’d been given very few opportunities to play in recent years.

(via @NFL)pic.twitter.com/GSgjQTOnez

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 8, 2021

“Not that that was a surprise,” he added. “I was just pleased for him and happy for us knowing that we need him.”

Carroll said that Smith has a “real good position” on the Seahawks because of how he’s viewed by players, coaches, the organization as a whole and the fans.

“I’m grateful that he’s been with us. Now it’s his time and chance to do this and help this club, and I couldn’t be more excited for him,” Carroll said. “He’s going to be really tuned in. He’s really smart with the scheme and system and all that. He’s really sharp at the line of scrimmage and in the huddle; all that kind of stuff he’s really good at.  He gives himself every chance to have a good performance and help us win.”

Asked later in the press conference about why Smith is so trusted and respected, Carroll went in-depth.

“Geno’s a really good quarterback. He really throws the football, he’s really athletic, he’s tough, he’s really got a great calmness around him,” he said. “He’s the guy that guys respect. They really respect him because of who he is as an athlete and a player and a teammate. When he gets a chance and does something well, everyone’s cheering for him – just like anyone on the team, but Geno’s got a way about him.”

Carroll said that Smith has “had a lot of stuff he’s been through” that he’s grown from. That plays a part in why he’s as beloved as he is.

“We are lucky to have him. And the players feel that way too, I think,” Carroll said. “They’re cheering for him and supporting him and we need him to come through while Russ is out, and we really don’t have any thought that he’s not going to. Everyone believes he’s going to do a great job just like he showed the other night.”

Speaking of “Russ,” Wilson is expected to miss anywhere from four to eight weeks with a right middle finger injury that required surgery. The Seahawks could place Wilson on injured reserve for three weeks, which would open up a spot on Seattle’s 53-man roster. Carroll didn’t say whether or not that is the team’s plan.

“We don’t have to do that yet,” he said. “We’re going to use all the days that we need to make a really good choice there.”

Someone who both Wilson and Smith love giving the ball to is running back Chris Carson, who missed Week 5 with a neck injury. Carroll said Monday that Carson made a “turn” in the positive direction over the weekend, and he appeared optimistic of Carson’s chances of playing this weekend in Pittsburgh.

“He went through the walkthrough today,” he said. “I think we’re going to hold him out today and bring him back tomorrow and see how he does.”

When looking at the Seahawks’ defense, it’s hard to find many positives.

One of the lone bright spots, though, has been the play of defensive end/linebacker Darrell Taylor.

Taylor is technically in his second NFL season, but he missed all of his rookie campaign with a shin injury and didn’t even practice until the playoffs.

Now, Taylor has four sacks to lead the Seahawks, who have struggled for the most part with their pass rush.

Welcome to the league, @darrelltaylorst! 💪

📺: #SEAvsIND on FOX pic.twitter.com/RvkUKf1Nhl

— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) September 12, 2021

Carroll made it clear Taylor will be playing more going forward.

“He’s really ready to be given more opportunities. He’s off to a really good start,” Carroll said. “He’s growing with us and all that.”

While Taylor has been a standout on defense, Carroll said the young defender is also shining on special teams.

“Which is way more of a statement than you guys might realize,” he said. “For a young guy who’s a pass rusher on the edge to be the first guy down on kickoff teams and be contributing to a great kickoff team and be on the punt team and all that stuff that he does, he’s all-in. It’s just giving him more, so his play time and his opportunities will increase. He’s earned that.”

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