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Pete Carroll says Riq Woolen’s benching was due to shoulder issue

Woolen is expected to start against the Dallas Cowboys.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Seattle Seahawks Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Riq Woolen had an opening quarter so brutal that evidently it was too much for Pete Carroll to stomach.

The second-year corner has had issues with tackling throughout his young career, and his night effectively ended with him hitting Tre Brown and not Jauan Jennings. What should’ve been a 3rd down stop turned into a conversion and an eventual touchdown for the San Francisco 49ers.

Earlier on that same drive, a sub-standard effort to contain Christian McCaffrey turned into an explosive run for the star running back. Mike Jackson replaced Woolen for the remainder of the night, while Woolen still appeared on special teams.

Pete Carroll was asked about the decision to bench Woolen, who was 3rd in Defensive Rookie of the Year last season, and he cited a lingering shoulder problem that was listed on the injury report.

Via Seattle Times:

“Riq wasn’t back all the way,” Carroll said. “He didn’t tackle well.”

“Went into the game wanting to see if he could hold up and didn’t feel like he was ready,” Carroll said. “And Mike was 100% ready to go.”

Woolen did not have a game designation for Thursday, but it should be noted that Seattle essentially had a bunch of walkthroughs and not real practices. Perhaps on a full week, we would’ve had more information on how healthy Woolen was.

The cynic can say that if he had a shoulder injury that wasn’t suitable for him to play on defense, then why play him at all as opposed to relegating him to special teams?

Furthermore, I don’t think Woolen was on the injury report for either one of these plays, so has his shoulder been bothering him for longer than realized?

This reads a lot more like Pete’s covering for his players, as is standard for him and most coaches. Woolen has played better in recent weeks, but tackling has been as big of a problem as his penalties, and his benching was not without merit.

Carroll still indicated that Woolen will start next week against the Dallas Cowboys... as long as his shoulder holds up.