Despite the play-offs for most of his Seattle Seahawks tenure, Pete Carroll has rarely been faced with the issue of "restarters" for the past nine seasons. This is likely to change as the Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, closing their playoff berth and almost completely sealing their position in the five seeds. However, based on Seattle's health status at the moment, it's only reasonable to ask: who could rest against the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals during the last two weeks of the regular season?
On Thursday six players did not train four were limited. This is a significant part of the 53-strong squad.
Seahawks Injury Report for Thursday. Penny is still out and Clark also had an elbow problem after being limited on Wednesday. Good news is, Baldwin is back to limited: pic.twitter.com/lnfeEi0S5W
̵1; Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) December 14, 2018
We know that the right-wing watchman D.J. Fluker struggles with his "legitimate" hamstring injury and seems unlikely to see him again during the regular season. This gives Carroll three more games to evaluate the UDFA Jordan Simmons.
Three starters on the defensive were Frank Clark, Jarran Reed and Shamar Stephen, who made up three quarters of their defensive line. I doubt they missed the 49er game this week, but the team can decide not to push for it in the last few weeks, especially considering the importance of Clark and Reed, who account for more than half of this season Sacks of the team have brought together. Stephen flew under the radar, but kept Seattle from looking at Nazair Jones or Poona Ford for a long time in a defensive duel and maintaining his position as a starter alongside Reed.
The big name in question This week's game is a backup back to Rashaad Penny, who is actually a good candidate for the starter if the Seahawks include race number five by next week. This gives the team a good opportunity to bring to a close Chris Carson, who has often been injured during his football career. If both Carson and Penny have to rest, Mike Davis is a good player to get wearing orders in the meantime. Speaking of offense, Doug Baldwin was limited on Thursday, which is actually a step forward for the veteran receiver. He is a key player for Russell Wilson and it seems the team should try to rest him for the playoffs, although Carroll sounds optimistic that he could even play Sunday in San Francisco. This feels like a trainer who pays lip service to the story that Seattle may miss the playoffs and Baldwin will need, because the fact is that the Seahawks have almost secured their place in the five starters at this time. Baldwin, however, may get some offensive snapshots between now and January to keep his joints oiled, but he's best suited to rest for an upcoming road trip to Dallas.
Other defense issues, however, point to a limited participation by Bradley in McDougald, KJ Wright and Dion Jordan, but being limited to week 15 could be a good sign of availability in the wildcard round, especially if it is Wright's going. We know that Mychal Kendricks is off for the season, so Wright's option for the playoffs could be of the utmost importance. The value of McDougald is also undeniable, so the team should make all precautions with it in the secondary level.
Overall, the team seems to be on their feet, but if they can take part in a playoff spot this Sunday, they will have plenty of opportunity to have key players rest for at least the next three weeks. Whether or not this includes undamaged starters like Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner or Duane Brown is a question for another day, but it is not too early to ask if it's a good time to play it safe Moment. This "dinged" list is quite long, and that may be a good reason to play it safe in the meantime.