The first-round bye was beneficial to the Seattle Seahawks as the team was able to rest bumps and bruises from the last few weeks of the season and heal up for their first playoff game this Saturday against the New Orleans Saints.
However, there is still one notable absence for the Seahawks.
Linebacker K.J. Wright is the only player that did not practice with the Seahawks on Tuesday and head coach Pete Carroll ruled him out for this week’s game. Wright is working back from a broken bone in his foot suffered against the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 8.
Wright drew most of the responsibility to cover Saints’ tight end Jimmy Graham in the first game between the two teams on Dec. 2. Graham was held to just three catches for 42 yards and a touchdown in the first game against Seattle. Malcolm Smith has filled in and played at a high level in place of Wright the last three weeks of the season. Smith had 18 tackles, two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown in the final three games of the season. Nevertheless, Seattle will have to adapt their plan to account for Graham in Wright’s absence.
“K.J. had a great football game and we’ll miss him and Malcolm has done a nice job stepping in his spot. But, that’s just part of figuring it out,” Carroll said. “Hopefully there will be a couple of surprises left by game day.”
Carroll said Wright will run on Thursday with expectation he’ll be available for Seattle in the NFC Championship game if they can advance past this weekend.
Willson suffered a high-ankle sprain in Seattle’s season finale against the St. Louis Rams but is progressing enough to already be back on the practice field and have a chance to play Saturday. Kearse has also been dealing with an ankle sprain the last few weeks. He was active for the Rams game but barely played. Carroll said he would have only been used in an emergency situation. However, with another week to rest he’s back to full speed.
Harvin also participated for a third straight practice after getting back on the field last Thursday. Carroll indicated Tuesday’s work would be a big step for Harvin in hopes of having him available Saturday against New Orleans.
“He’s got to get through this practice today. This will be the first in season week day of practice that he’s had in a long time. Last week he did fine,” Carroll said.