The Seattle Seahawks have had a ton of problems trying to handle Aaron Donald throughout the years. They may have to try to slow him down on Sunday without their starting center in the lineup.
Ethan Pocic missed a second day of practice on Thursday due to a concussion that surfaced in the aftermath of last weekend’s game against the Buffalo Bills. Pocic played all 65 offensive snaps for the team in the 44-34 loss to the Bills.
Being unable to practice by Thursday, Pocic appears to have run out of time to complete the various progressions required in the league’s concussion protocol in order to return to action this week. If Pocic is out, the job would fall to backup Kyle Fuller to handle Donald and the rest of the Rams defensive front.
“If Ethan doesn’t play, Kyle Fuller is a guy that we’ve got a lot of confidence in. I thought he had an unbelievable training camp. Probably one of the most improved players that we had,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said after practice on Thursday.
Fuller missed the first two games of the season while suspended for violating the NFL’s policy on substance-abuse. He was then inactive for several games as B.J. Finney served as the backup center prior to be dealt to the Cincinnati Bengals as part of the trade that brought Carlos Dunlap to Seattle three weeks ago.
Fuller spent most of last season on Seattle’s practice squad and did not play in a game last year. He’s played in 13 career games for Seattle, the Washington Football Team and the Houston Texans with two starts for Houston in 2017.
“I don’t know that situation or scenario necessarily but I know Kyle is ready. He’s been prepared. He’s had an unbelievable training camp. He’s done great ever since he’s gotten here. He’s extremely smart, played a lot of ball in college. So I feel extremely confident about him too,” quarterback Russell Wilson said of Fuller. “He’s an extremely athletic guy, extremely smart. He’s a wizard in terms of how he takes in information. He’s really special in that. I’m looking forward to Kyle having to step up if that’s the case.”
Seattle could have backups starting at both center and left guard. Jordan Simmons has served as the starter at the guard spot the last several weeks in place of Mike Iupati, who is working his way back from a back injury that has kept him unavailable. While Simmons has played decently well, Donald is one of the premier defensive talents in the NFL. The Seahawks will have their hands full with keeping Donald away from Wilson this weekend.
“I think he’s the best in the game and the best defensive lineman that I’ve faced,” left tackle Duane Brown said. “He has a unique combination of quickness, speed, power, great instincts, a lot of moves, just a great feel for the game. Somebody you have to game plan for, you have to be aware of where he is.”