The Seahawks got a win in Carolina and managed to escape without any new major injuries, according to all early indications, but are still pretty banged up on both sides of the ball. Here's a recap:
-- James Carpenter left the game briefly with what Pete Carroll described as back spasms, but returned after a few minutes and should be fine. J.R. Sweezy also left the game briefly, but returned.
-- Malcolm Smith pulled his groin during the game but later returned. Carroll said he wasn't sure what Smith's status would be for this week. If he can't play, expect Kevin Pierre-Louis to get some snaps.
-- Jeron Johnson has concussion-like symptoms early this week so he'll have to go through the concussion protocol before he can be declared ready to play.
-- C Max Unger (ankle), Byron Maxwell (ankle), and Jordan Hill (ankle) all have a shot to make it back this week, per Carroll. Getting those three guys back would be a huge boost.
-- LB Bobby Wagner (turf toe) and Zach Miller (ankle surgery) saw a specialist in Charlotte but Carroll still didn't give much of a timeline on either's return. It's looking like both will be out for some time.
-- Kam Chancellor has been banged up recently but managed to play every snap at Carolina. Pete Carroll said, "I think he's fine. He'll tell you he's fine. He's feeling okay. I checked with him coming off the bus last night. He feels okay. He has had some stuff, some issues, had to keep him out of practice to keep him right with getting his ankles right and all that. But he's doing fine." Chancellor has been slowed up by a variety of nagging injuries but looked a little better in this past game than he did at St. Louis. Hopefully another week of rest will help out.
Now, a few notes on the snap counts from Sunday's win...
Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse still the workhorse receivers
This is not surprising whatsoever, but Baldwin (95%) and Kearse (92%) are still Seattle's two 'go-to' receivers that play almost every snap. Pretty crazy to think that both were undrafted free agents that worked their way up the ladder and now are featured in the Seahawks' passing offense.
Paul Richardson, Kevin Norwood
Paul Richardson is now the de facto #3 receiver and he played on 69% of Seattle's snaps. It's great to see him getting his opportunity to play, and to my eye he's played very well. Russell Wilson and Richardson seem to have developed a rapport, particularly on timing routes and comebacks by the sideline. Expect a few look-and-go routes before too long as defenders look to jump these routes.
As for Norwood (11 snaps/18%), he's more of a role player at this point, rotating in with Ricardo Lockette (10 snaps/16%), but his insane no-look catch on the Seahawks' final drive on Sunday was integral. We've heard for months that Norwood has famously soft hands and "is a quarterback's best friend," and that certainly showed up on that play.
Alvin Bailey, Garry Gilliam, Luke Willson, Cooper Helfet
Alvin Bailey recorded 21 snaps at both guard spots and as a TE/6OL. Garry Gilliam notched three snaps. These live-action game snaps are big for these depth players and will only help down the line if injuries happen.
At the tight end spot, Luke Willson shot back up to the top of the depth chart and logged 44 snaps to Cooper Helfet's 14.
Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, Christine Michael
It was still the Marshawn Lynch show this week, and he logged 40 snaps to Robert Turbin's 14 and Christine Michael's 9. No surprise. It's good that Seattle is working in a little rotation though.
Phil Bates got three snaps. Newcomer Brett Brackett got in for one snap.
Bruce Irvin, O'Brien Schofield
Bruce Irvin is a fixture in this defense, particularly with Bobby Wagner now out, at both defensive end and outside linebacker. Irvin played 50 snaps (83%), and rotated with O'Brien Schofield, who played 24 snaps, or 40% of the Seahawks' defensive plays. Schofield has been pretty quiet thus far in the stat book, but plays a pretty big rotational role on the front line.
Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril
Mike Bennett played 82% of Seattle's defensive snaps, right in line with his pace this season. It would appear this rate is what Seattle is comfortable with (also probably around where they planned this season after losing some depth players during the offseason). Is 80-82% too high? I don't know -- I tend to think that's it's an acceptable range, and we were never going to see the 57-60% range he hit last year with Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, and Clint McDonald all gone -- but the question is: how much is it affecting his performance? Right now, Bennett is PFF's 3rd rated 4-3 DE, behind Cam Wake and Jason Pierre-Paul, and per their tracking, Bennett has 2 sacks (21st), 9 QB hits (2nd), and 18 QB hurries (9th).
Cliff Avril notched 43 snaps this past week, or 72% of the defensive plays. Avril was credited with 5 QB hurries and 1 QB hit on Sunday by PFF, so perhaps this was his breakout game on the edge.
Brandon Mebane, Greg Scruggs, Kevin Williams, Tony McDaniel
Mebane was, as you'd expect, a stalwart at the nose tackle spot, logging 38 snaps (63%). Greg Scruggs is playing a lot more now with Jordan Hill out, and he notched 29 snaps (48%). Scruggs mentioned on the radio last week that he'd lost about 20 pounds (since the start of training camp, I gather), and is feeling faster, and "looking faster on tape". I think the experiment to get Scruggs up to 300+ didn't really work out how the Seahawks had wanted (that's where he reported to be during the summer -- a "good" 300 though, not just a fat bulk up). I think Scruggs' best attribute can be his quickness, so the Seahawks had him get back down to 280 or so and it seemed to have paid off for him. He didn't do anything flashy in this last game but I thought he played well.
Kevin Williams and Tony McDaniel continue to rotate in on base downs.
Burley played 21 snaps, and all of them came in the slot, thanks to quality play on the outside by Tharold Simon. This is a much more desirable role for the first-year Seahawk until he gets more accustomed to what the Pete Carroll defense asks him to do.
Kevin Pierre-Louis, Malcolm Smith
With Smith going out with a groin injury, Kevin Pierre-Louis got some snaps and to my eye (on first viewing), looked really good. He blew up a screen play by first sniffing it out, then pursuing it ferociously. His speed really shows up on the field, and he was used to blitz on at least one occasion. He could be in for a bigger role this next week, and it wouldn't surprise me greatly to see Smith get Wally Pip'd at the weakside spot.