RENTON -- The Seahawks are having to adjust to the loss of three prominent players this week ahead of Sunday's meeting with the NFC West leading Los Angeles Rams.
Seattle placed free safety Earl Thomas and tight end Will Dissly on injured reserve on Tuesday following season-ending injuries sustained in Sunday's victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Thomas suffered a fractured on his left tibia while Dissly ruptured the patella tendon in his right knee.
Additionally, linebacker Mychal Kendricks - who had served as a fill-in for K.J. Wright the last three weeks - was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for his pleading guilty to insider trading charges last month.
And with Wright still not able to return to the lineup after having knee surgery the final week of the preseason, the Seahawks will need to turn to reserves in all three roles.
With Thomas out, it leaves Seattle without any members of the Legion of Boom in the lineup for the first time since Thomas was drafted in 2010.
The team signed safeties T.J. Green and Maurice Alexander, and promoted tight end Darrell Daniels from the practice squad to fill the vacancies created.
Meanwhile, Tedric Thompson will step into the starting lineup in place of Thomas at free safety with Austin Calitro likely draw the duty at weak-side linebacker in place of Wright and Kendricks. Daniels will slot into the second tight end along with Nick Vannett until Ed Dickson is eligible to return from the non-football injury list after the team's bye week.
While Thompson has appeared in 13 career games for Seattle and has played some this season as a third safety in some of the team's dime packages, Sunday will be his first career start in a regular season game. Thompson replaced Thomas at free safety throughout offseason workouts and training camp as Thomas held out.
"We’re excited about his play and he’s just growing," Carroll said. "He’s really mature about stuff, he’s really worked hard to understand the scheme and the principles of what we want and he plays really strict and disciplined football. You put that all together, it makes for a chance to be a very productive player.
The Rams are averaging 468.5 yards of offense and 35 points per game. They rank first in yards per game and second in points per game behind only the Kansas City Chiefs.
"They’re just really clicking," defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said. "They’re throwing it well, they’re catching it well, the quarterback is really accurate, they’re running it well and everybody on the machine is rolling. They are doing very well right now."
Wright is getting closer to returning, but this week is still too early.
“He has had a great few days,” Carroll said. “He’s going to be off today, then the next three days will be solid days back to back to back, see how he tolerates that. He’s working his way back in hopes that that kicks him into high gear next week.”
Carroll had said at time that Wright's surgery had gone really well and he could possibly be out only 2-3 weeks. So far, Wright has been sidelined five weeks and still hasn't been able to return to practice.
Alexander will serve as an option at safety and weak-side linebacker, where he played for Seattle in the final game of the preseason. Carroll said Green is a player that has played both free and strong safety.
"He’s an incredible athlete," Carroll said of Green. "He’s really fast. Really fast and he’s over 6’2” and he was a great tester coming out. That’s why he was decided as a second-rounder and so we think he’s got a lot of potential to help us on special teams, possibly, and we’d like to develop him."
Kendricks will be out for an indeterminate amount of time. It may be a few weeks. It may be the rest of the season. It may be a full year. Carroll said he received no indication of how much time Kendricks would be suspended.
"We pressed that," he said. "What does that mean? It means indefinitely. We don’t have a sense for what’s going to happen right now and they couldn’t give us any, so we know nothing moving forward. A month ago, or when we signed him up, we thought that there would be a time when there would be somewhat of a length of the suspension that wasn’t indefinite. I don’t know what that means. We thought it was going to be two, three weeks or something like that. I don’t know what’s happening now with that."
Guard Ethan Pocic returned to full participation in practice on Wednesday after missing the last two games due to an ankle sprain. Pocic was a limited participant in practice last Friday but wasn't active for the team's win in Arizona.
Despite Pocic returning to practice, Carroll said they intend to keep the same starting lineup along the offensive line with J.R. Sweezy at left guard and D.J. Fluker at right guard.
“We’re going to go that way just because of the continuity of the last couple of weeks and the way (Sweezy) has come off the football,” Carroll said. “We’re going to work Ethan back in and see how he progresses—he’s practicing today for the first time. We feel really comfortable with D.J. and Sweez playing the guard spots for us. What it does allow us, Ethan is an extremely versatile football player—he can play tackle, guard and center—and that’s a real benefit to have him available to us, particularly as he’s working his way back in.”
Running back Chris Carson did not practice on Wednesday but was expected to be back to a full workload for Thursday's practice.
“He should be fine,” Carroll said of Carson, who missed last week’s game with a hip injury. “We’re going to go light on him today. He did the morning part of the work, then tomorrow he should go full-go.”
Photo Credit: INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 30: Tyreek Hill #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs catches a pass while being guarded by T.J. Green #32 of the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 30, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)