Taking Advantage of Mini Bye, Seahawks Should Be Close to Full Strength in Week 12

With 10 days between games following a much-needed victory over Arizona, Seattle should have reinforcements coming on both sides of the football as Chris Carson, Ethan Pocic, Shaquill Griffin, and others return to action.
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Riding high after a thrilling 28-21 win over the Cardinals on Thursday Night Football, the Seahawks will now get to enjoy a lengthy 10-day "mini" bye and when they return to the field for a Week 12 matchup against the Eagles, they should be much healthier on both sides of the football.

Speaking with reporters on Friday, coach Pete Carroll indicated, barring unforeseen setbacks, center Ethan Pocic, running back Chris Carson, and cornerback Shaquill Griffin should to the field this week. Running back Rashaad Penny and rookie defensive end Darrell Taylor could also practice for the first time this season coming off of offseason surgeries.

Dealing with a mid-foot sprain suffered in Week 7, Carson has missed the past four games and despite being listed as questionable to play on Thursday, Seattle held him out for one more week to ensure he was fully healthy. The team did receive a boost with the return of Carlos Hyde, who rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown against Arizona after missing three games with his own hamstring injury.

Bringing Carson into the fold would further bolster the Seahawks rushing attack heading into the final month of play, as he lead the team with 323 rushing yards prior to getting hurt and brings a physical presence few runners in the NFL can match.

"We almost took it for granted," Carroll said about the absence of Carson and Hyde impacting Seattle's run game. "I'm disappointed about that because that's the element of our football that makes us the style team that we are and it makes Russ [Wilson's] job much different than it is when he has to throw the ball 40 or 50 times."

Like Carson, Griffin has also been out for close to a month, last playing in Week 7 when he exited with a concussion and a hamstring injury. While he hasn't practiced since, Carroll indicated after Thursday's game that Griffin was on track to be back when the team returns to practice next week.

With the Seahawks defense seeming to turn a corner over the past two games, Griffin being re-installed into the secondary across from Flowers would be a huge boost for a secondary that has struggled most of the season. Even after missing four games, he still leads the team with seven pass deflections and two interceptions.

Missing the past two games while in concussion protocol, Pocic was replaced by Kyle Fuller in Week 10 before guard Damien Lewis shifted to the pivot position on Thursday night for his first career snaps at the position. Benefiting from an extended gap between games, Carroll expects the fourth-year center to be out of protocol in time to practice next week and return to the starting lineup.

As for Penny and Taylor, both players haven't practiced yet this season and remain on the PUP list and Non-Football Injury list respectively. But Carroll remains hopeful both will have a chance to finally be designated for return and take the field this upcoming week, with Taylor being a tad ahead in his recovery.

"From the information I'm getting, we're pretty sure Darrell's coming back," Carroll confirmed. "I'm not sure if Rashaad is going to get back this week coming up or the next week, but they're really close and that's providing that everything works out like it's supposed to. But [we're] very hopeful for that."

Now in his third season out of San Diego State, Penny tore his ACL in a loss to the Rams last December and underwent reconstructive knee surgery. His return would add another dimension to Seattle's run game, which could feature a three-headed monster with him, Carson, and Hyde down the stretch.

Drafted in the second round out of Tennessee, Taylor underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his leg and had a titanium rod inserted to help with the healing process. Several setbacks have prevented him from practicing to this point, but Carroll is "counting on" him being able to suit up and get practice reps this week.

Along with the five aforementioned players returning from injury, several Seahawks will benefit immensely from the extended break between games. Most notably, Carroll mentioned safety Jamal Adams has been playing with "one arm" nursing a shoulder injury and as he continues to get more comfortable with his new team, he should be in much better shape health-wise when practice starts back up on Tuesday.

"He's going to be much better than he's been and he is really gaining command of what he's supposed to do," Carroll said. "He's got a lot of stuff he does in our defense, a lot of critical stuff and he's played much smarter football and much more consistent. He's going to be terrific here as we go down the next couple games."

Per Carroll, Seattle may also get cornerback Quinton Dunbar back as soon as he's eligible to be activated from injured reserve with a sore knee. He could return before Week 14, when the team hosts the New York Jets, further fortifying the secondary alongside Griffin, Adams, and Quandre Diggs.

Following an impressive win over a division rival, if the Seahawks can avoid other significant injuries and bring back several key players as expected in the near future, Carroll envisions his team playing their best football heading towards the postseason, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

"This game put us in a position where we can really move forward defensively and keep the guys in the same positions and keep them getting a little bit healthier. This is a chance for us to really keep rolling."