The Seattle Seahawks were without Doug Baldwin for pretty much the entire preseason windup to Week 1, and by now most of you know that he’ll be sidelined for at least a few weeks more with a partially torn MCL. That made Baldwin’s appearance on the Did Not Practice list unsurprising on Thursday, but he wasn’t the only starter to be out of commission this week with an injury.
That list now includes All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner, who missed Thursday’s practice with a groin injury.
Seahawks' injury report for Thursday includes some big names not practicing. pic.twitter.com/UjJIPJ1wZZ— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) September 13, 2018
Wagner’s injury was news to everyone on Thursday and as of now, we’ll have to see if he’s upgraded to ‘limited’ or ‘full’ on Friday for some positive news leading into the Seahawks Monday Night game against the Chicago Bears. Last year, Seattle was without K.J. Wright and Wagner was limited in a 42-7 loss to the LA Rams. We can be certain that Wright won’t play against the Bears, making Wagner’s availability and health that much more important.
Austin Calitro is the backup to Wagner on the inside, while Shaquem Griffin had started in place of Wright in Week 1. Unfortunately, Griffin’s start was not enough to dissuade Seattle from signing legally-troubled linebacker Mychal Kendricks this week. Kendricks has experience on both the inside and outside, so he could find himself in a number of spots on Monday, as Pete Carroll is not likely to waste a moment before playing his new veteran defender.
That’s not all though.
Right guard D.J. Fluker is looking more and more likely to delay his Seahawks debut by another week, giving J.R. Sweezy his second start. The first one was not all that encouraging from my point of view, but Carroll went as far as to say that Seattle wasn’t much worse off without Earl Thomas for certain plays last week so who knows what the Seahawks coaching staff will say about the performance of the right side of the offensive line. To be fair, Sweezy missed the entire preseason, so hopefully one less game of rust will improve his performance somewhat against a front-seven that includes Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Leonard Floyd, and Roquan Smith.
That is also not all though.
Already wafer thin at cornerback as is, rookie Tre Flowers missed practice Thursday with a hamstring injury. Flowers struggled in his NFL debut — who could blame him for that? — but where will the Seahawks turn to next? Akeem King could go from missing the cut two weeks ago to starting for the defense against Allen Robinson. Let me say “tight” in a heavily sarcastic tone for that one. Neiko Thorpe has two career starts in his first five seasons. The truth is that with or without Flowers, this side of the unit is in trouble.
Oh, is that all? Not at all.
Bradley McDougald and Dion Jordan were limited with knee injuries on Thursday as well. There doesn’t appear to be any danger yet for either missing Monday’s game, and in fact Jordan should be getting more playing time than he did last week, but no injuries are good injuries and now would be a horrible time to have to start Delano Hill at strong safety over McDougald. Jordan could be a key player in trying to disrupt Mitchell Trubisky’s timing on a primetime stage.
So what are we looking for overall as the next few days transpire?
Is Wagner okay? If not, Calitro could get the start.
Is Flowers okay? If not, King or Thorpe could be starting.
Will Fluker make any strides towards returning or is Sweezy back on the job?
Will Kendricks start at weakside linebacker days after signing?
Is Keenan Reynolds going to get considerable snaps as “Doug Baldwin” while Doug Baldwin is out?
Is McDougald actually fine?
That’s a lot of injury questions for only Week 2. At least they get one extra day to figure it out.