Receiver Sidney Rice (shoulder) will miss Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh, coach Pete Carroll said after Friday’s Seahawks practice. He said Rice got enough work in this week to make him envision a return next week at home against Arizona.
Robert Gallery (knee) will start at left guard after missing last week, however, allowing rookie James Carpenter to move back to right tackle. Asked if Carpenter would share some time with Breno Giacomini (who started there last week), Carroll said that would depend on how the game progresses.
With Rice out, rookie receiver Kris Durham will likely be active, Carroll said.
Carroll addressed a couple areas of emphasis this week after the 33-17 loss at San Francisco highlighted some unit weaknesses.
With quarterback Tarvaris Jackson getting sacked five times, the protection from the youthful offensive line was an obvious issue. “We did a couple things,” Carroll said. “Tom (Cable, line coach) really struck a note with the fellas about finishing at the line of scrimmage better than we had.” Carroll said that players had been so concerned about assignments that they might have been less focused on being physical. “(Cable) did a couple things and the guys understdood it and it absolutely showed up on the practice field this week,” Carroll said. “I’m really anxious to see that generate a little something different for us.”
The other prime area of concern were special teams units that gave up two returns for touchdowns last week. Compounding the issue are injuries to core special teams performers Mike Robinson (ankle), Bryan Maxwell (ankle), Malcolm Smith (hamstring) and Dexter Davis (hip). “We have some changes … we have four core guys who aren’t playing this week, so we have a lot of work to catch guys up.”
When asked about Smith and Davis more specifically, Carroll added that “Dexter has a problem hip.” Davis officially was listed as out, while Smith is doubtful.
Carroll has had the Seahawks meeting, lifting and practicing early this week in preparation for a East Coast game, as the Hawks have gone 1-10 in the last 11 games in that time zone. “We’ve had a very solid week in preparation,” he said. “We’ve asked the guys to make a commitment to the time frames we’ve adjusted to and everybody did it to a tee … it was well–received and executed. We take off today, a day early. Tomorrow we’ll have our normal work and meetings … so we’re ready to go.”