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NFL Team Report - Seattle Seahawks - INSIDE SLANT
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was listed as questionable on Friday's injury report, although coach Pete Carroll indicated he expects Lynch to play against Tennessee on Friday.
"We were treating him for a little hip thing, but he's fine," said Carroll.
If Lynch is out or limited, it will lead to an increased workload for Robert Turbin and likely rookie Christine Michael as well.
Tight end Zach Miller is also listed as questionable, with Carroll saying, "He's got a chance" after Miller missed last week's game.
"We're going to work him out on game day," said Carroll.
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is doubtful with an ankle injury. K.J. Wright is expected to slide into the middle with Malcolm Smith starting on the outside.
--Some help has arrived. Some is still delayed.
Seahawks Pro-Bowl center Max Unger was a full participant in practice all week. That's a good sign for a Seattle offensive line that has been without three starters the past two weeks.
Unger (triceps) gives the Seahawks calm on the line, plus improved knowledge of assignments. Both of which head coach Pete Carroll hopes help a line that has been mediocre to poor the past two weeks without Unger.
"Max Unger is really the guy that has the greatest command of what we're doing up front," Carroll said. "He'll help other guys play well and make the right choices and decisions. He'll help the quarterback too and identification. Which is important and which we have missed some over the last couple of weeks periodically. And, it's made a difference in our pass protection. So counting on that showing up a little more so and we need team leaders, and a guy like Max Unger coming back is a big deal for us."
The Seahawks put the NFL's youngest starting offensive unit on the field in Week 5. The downtrodden Jacksonville Jaguars were the second-youngest unit. Jacksonville is well on its way to the No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft. The Seahawks are Super Bowl contenders.
But, without an improved offensive line, the Seahawks will have a hard time getting there.
"The biggest issue has really been a little bit of the inconsistency on identification and getting everybody on the same page and that's just the continuity," Carroll said. "That's so crucial up there that you lose, when you lose three guys, plus the tight end. So we had to suffer through a little bit and that's why Russell (Wilson) has had to run more. He has had to take off, in order to kind of even out that factor. So hopefully we should see us improve. We're counting on that."
They're not able to count on wide receiver Percy Harvin -- yet. Harvin had hip surgery in early August. He's back in Seattle training at the team's facility. The first time he's eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list list is Week 7 against Arizona. The trouble is, that would give him just three official days of practice. That won't be enough according to Carroll, who said the idea of Harvin joining the Seahawks for that game is not "realistic."
"I think that is too soon to expect that to happen, but it'll happen," Carroll said. "When it's ready, and he's ready to go, and we get a chance to prepare him so he's physically capable of being safe. He's a full on, full speed football player; he's got to be ready to go. Really when he comes back, we want him to be able to endure the rigors of the end of the season.
"It's not important to rush him back, it's important to wait it out and be patient and get him out there when he's ready to go and withstand the load of the game."
When he does come back, Harvin is expected to be one of if not the most dynamic playmakers for a Seahawks team that is already stacked.
If the offensive line gets healthy -- right tackle Breno Giacomini had knee surgery to clean up loose bodies and will be out a couple more weeks, plus All-Pro left tackle Russell Okung is out until at least Week 11 -- and joins Harvin back on the field, Seattle could be much more dangerous late in the season.
SERIES HISTORY: 15th regular-season meeting. Seahawks lead series, 9-5. The last time the two teams met, Tennessee won, 17-13, on Jan. 3, 2010. The Seahawks beat the Titans in Tennessee, 28-24, in 2005.
NFL Team Report - Seattle Seahawks - NOTES, QUOTES
--The Seahawks have been woeful on third down the past two weeks. Combined, Seattle is 5-for-26 on third down (19.2 percent). It's no coincidence this is the same time period the offensive line has been without three starters. Coach Pete Carroll thinks the offensive line is getting better. "The biggest issue has really been a little bit of the inconsistency on identification and getting everybody on the same page and that's just the continuity," Carroll said.
--The Seahawks' secondary has been grumpy ever since last week's loss. Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton torched them for a career-high 140 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown. The group -- which calls itself the "Legion of Boom" -- expects to allow less than 100 yards passing per game. "The lessons were really strong because they were really basic fundamental things," Carroll said. "Tried to get something extra out of a play and put us in a bad position. That hasn't happened very often, it's not characteristic of us at all, and I don't think that it's going to continue. So it might have been a little wakeup shock."
--The Seahawks signed wide receiver Sidney Rice to a $41 million deal in the summer of 2011. He has 10 catches after five games, five of which came when Seattle dump-trucked the Jacksonville Jaguars. He had 50 catches for 748 yards and seven touchdowns last season. "I'd love for him to be making his plays and it hasn't happened," Carroll said. "It has nothing to do with the plans; it's just the way the games have gone. I would just like him to be a bigger factor. He didn't have as many targets this week for whatever reason, and it wasn't by design in any way. I know he feels real good this week, and we're going to try to get it going because we're better when he's getting the football."
BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Number of times Seattle has started 5-1, a mark it will try to get to Sunday, in franchise history.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We still have out swag." -- Safety Earl Thomas, when talking about Sunday's loss in Indianapolis to the Colts.
NFL Team Report - Seattle Seahawks - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--MLB Bobby Wagner has a high ankle sprain and is listed as doubtful. Wagner sprained his ankle last Sunday against the Colts, but came back into the game. If he can't play Sunday, K.J. Wright will likely move into the middle and Malcolm Smith will take Wright's spot. But, the linebackers get thin after that. Heath Farwell and Mike Morgan are the only remaining backups.
--RB Marshawn Lynch was listed as questionable on Friday's injury report, with coach Pete Carroll saying it's a "little hip" thing and indicated he's confident Lynch will play Sunday.
--C Max Unger (triceps) practice this week and will play after missing two games.
--TE Zach Miller (hamstring) did not practice Friday, but coach Pete Carroll said he'll be worked out Sunday before deciding his status vs. the Titans. He's officially questionable.
-- CB Jeremy Lane (hamstring) was limited participation Friday and is probable
-- RB Marshawn Lynch (NIR) went from not practicing to full participation.
-- CB Walter Thurmond (knee) went from not participating to full participation.
--RG Breno Giacomini is back with the team after knee surgery. He's out this week.
--FB Spencer Ware (ankle) didn't practice Friday.
--LB Bruce Irvin has made the full conversion from defensive end. He played 95 percent of his snaps last Sunday at linebacker. It was Irvin's first game back from a four-game suspension for a violation of the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.
--WR Jermaine Kearse is coming on for the Seahawks. He blocked a punt last week and high-pointed a Russell Wilson pass for a touchdown. Kearse has been targeted four times this season and has four catches, along with two touchdowns. Carroll said they are going to try to find more opportunities for Kearse.
GAME PLAN: Though his numbers are down this year, the first concern for the Seahawks is Tennessee running back Chris Johnson. Johnson is averaging only 3.1 yards per carry. That's a career-low. The Seahawks are still concerned about Johnson's speed, however. They want to hem him in where it's "muddy"? to borrow a term from linebacker K.J. Wright. Handling Johnson will allow them to put the game in the hands of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick who took over for the injured Jake Locker last week. Fitzpatrick threw two interceptions against the Seahawks last year when he was with the Buffalo Bills. One thing Tennessee has going for it: it's tough defensively on third down. Third-best in the NFL. Third-down offense is a problem for the Seahawks.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Titans CB Alterraun Verner vs. Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin -- Baldwin works out of the slot and is the Seahawks' leading receiver. That's not saying much since they rarely throw.
Seahawks LB K.J. Wright vs. Titans RB Chris Johnson -- Wright will likely be moved from the outside to the middle for the injured Bobby Wagner. He'll have to handle defensive calls and help contain Johnson.
Titans QB Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Seahawks secondary -- Fitzpatrick has 94 career touchdowns and 83 career interceptions. Last year with Buffalo, he was just 21-for-38 with two interceptions against the Seahawks.