The Seattle Seahawks could have Earl Thomas back in time for the team’s 2018 NFL regular season debut at the Denver Broncos, but they will not have weakside linebacker K.J. Wright on the field this weekend.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll confirmed that Wright, who is recovering from a knee issue, won’t play in Week 1, which opens the door for fifth-round rookie Shaquem Griffin to start in his place. Wright is expected to be back within a couple of weeks, having undergone Regenokine treatment before the end of preseason.
Griffin led all Seahawks in tackles this preseason, flying around the field whether in run support or in pass coverage. With Wright hitting free agency next year, it’s not out of the equation that Shaquem is KJ’s long-term replacement, but focusing specifically on this week, it’s a truly incredible moment. Not just for his physical handicap of having one hand, but the fact that he’ll be starting alongside his twin brother Shaquill on opening day. Keep in mind that while he didn’t officially start last year, Shaquill effectively played a starting role in his rookie debut against the Green Bay Packers, when Jeremy Lane was ejected in the opening quarter. Shaquill impressed right away and didn’t look out of place while dealing with the great Aaron Rodgers trying to pick on him, and now Shaquem has the chance to shine straight away against a new-look Broncos offense.
Also on the Seahawks injury front, Carroll pulled out the “wait-and-see” card for right guard D.J. Fluker, who is battling a hamstring problem. If he can’t go, J.R. Sweezy will get the nod over Fluker. Other than that, nothing else major appears to have popped up healthwise heading into the first weekend of a brand new season.