Depth-Starved Seahawks ‘Anxious’ to See Rookie G Phil Haynes Fits
Playing without two of their starters along the offensive line, the Seahawks survived a tough road test on Sunday, edging the Browns 32-28 at FirstEnergy Stadium for their fifth win of the season.
Though protection was anything but perfect, coach Pete Carroll felt the line played adequately with George Fant replacing Duane Brown at left tackle and Jamarco Jones filling in for D.J. Fluker at right guard. Quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 295 yards and three touchdowns, while Chris Carson posted a season-high 124 yards on the ground.
“We just went through the game plan and did exactly what we wanted to do. No restrictions at all. It was a fantastic job by those guys.” Carroll said, adding. “I think we rushed for 170 or something like that. That’s beautiful. That’s right where we should be.”
Moving towards the midway point of the season, the Seahawks have managed to survive and maintain their style despite a flurry of injuries along the offensive line, especially at the guard positions.
Thankfully, reinforcements will soon be on the way at the depleted position. According to coach Pete Carroll, rookie guard Phil Haynes will be returning to practice this week and could be activated to the 53-man roster soon.
“We’re anxious to see Phil.” Carroll said on Monday. “He’s been ready for a number of weeks but having to wait for the six-week period to end. He comes to us and I’m excited to see what he can do.”
Haynes, a fourth-round selection out of Wake Forest, has been out since the start of training camp after undergoing sports hernia surgery. The team placed him on the PUP list and he couldn’t recover quick enough to return in time for Week 1, which forced him to sit six more weeks per NFL rules.
A four-year starter for the Demon Deacons, the 6-foot-4, 322-pound Haynes impressed throughout the spring, as he saw plenty of action with the first-team offense at left guard. He projects to be a physical, mauling run blocker similar to Fluker and Mike Iupati, making him the ideal fit to develop under the tutelage of Seahawks line coach Mike Solari.
Without the benefit of training camp and playing in the preseason, Haynes will be trying to play catchup as fellow rookies L.J. Collier and Marquise Blair have done during the first six weeks. Still, circumstances may leave Seattle little choice but to activate him immediately, whether he’s ready or not.
While listed as day-to-day with a hamstring injury, Fluker will likely miss at least one more week, if not more. The Seahawks already placed Jordan Simmons on injured reserve before the start of the season and Ethan Pocic joined him last Friday after he couldn’t finish practice with a lingering back issue.
As a result, Seattle went into Sunday’s game with just seven offensive lineman available. If Iupati or Jones would’ve gone down at either guard spot, the team would’ve been left with Jordan Roos and Joey Hunt as the only backup alternatives.
Needless to say, the Seahawks don’t know what to expect from Haynes or sixth-round pick Demarcus Christmas, who is also eligible to return from the PUP list. As Carroll noted, neither player has been able to participate in practice up to this point, so they’ll be starting from scratch to an extent.
“Both those guys really worked out together in rehab and both those guys have been prepared to come back much sooner than this deadline. They’re in good shape, but again, they haven’t with us at all. So, we don’t know.”
But drastic times call for drastic measures. With depth always at a premium, bringing back a promising young guard with a skill set that fits Seattle’s scheme so effectively functions much like a trade deadline deal and the Seahawks are eager to see where he fits in moving forward.