RENTON -- Defensive ends Ezekiel Ansah and Jadeveon Clowney should both make their debuts with the Seahawks in Sunday's regular season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Both Ansah and Clowney made it through the week of practices as the team prepares to face the Bengals to open the 2019 campaign. However, Carroll hedged just slightly on the availability of the two, particularly Ansah, for Sunday's game.
"They made it through," Carroll said. "There's still a little bit of question mark. We just got to make sure on game day that everything worked out OK because they're still responding to the workload. There's still a little bit of question for Ziggy. We just want to make sure he's alright. But they both did really well and really positive thoughts coming out."
Ansah and Clowney were both initially not listed on the team's final injury report of the week. Following Carroll's remarks, Ansah was added to the injury report as questionable. Both players were listed as limited participants for the final three days of work for the week. Ansah missed all of the preseason and only returned to practice last week after spending most of the offseason recovering from shoulder surgery. Ansah was able to take part in team walkthroughs in the interim but was held out of practice until last Wednesday.
“I’ve went though a lot of walk throughs and taken a lot of mental reps. I’ve been in the league for a while, I know how it goes, but I’m as ready as I can be," Ansah said on Thursday.
While it may take some time for the cornerstones of Seattle's rebuilt pass rush to truly find their footing together, they're both set to play against Cincinnati.
"It is going to take some (time) and we'll be adapting to them as they're adapting to us too," Carroll said. "Their minds are in the right place, really easy to communicate with these guys and they're working together and they're trying to help each other and all of that. So everything should go as quickly as possible. Let's just see how we do and see where we are next week and the next couple of weeks and we'll figure it out."
Clowney, acquired in a trade from the Houston Texans on Saturday, has had all of four practices to get up to speed with his new team.
"He did very well," Carroll said. "He was very focused in on it and making sure he was doing his part. (He) did extra study every day to make sure that the next day he could handle what was going on. Really there was no problem at all.
"That doesn't mean he's got it all nailed because stuff is going to happen in the game, first time and all, but he did everything we could possibly hope for and looked great on the field as far as communicating and working with every one. It's hard for those guys to feel really comfortable when they just haven't been here long enough. He'll do the best he can. I'm hoping he'll play hard and we'll fix things as we go."
Rookie defensive end L.J. Collier will not make it back in time for Sunday's game. The first-round pick out of TCU was officially ruled out due to the sprained ankle he sustained in practice in late-July.
Collier went through a pregame workout before last Thursday's preseason finale against the Oakland Raiders and managed to practice throughout the week. He was limited in practices all week before being ruled out for Sunday's game. However, Collier said on Thursday that he believes he's getting close to being able to return.
"I know I'll be out there again with them soon," Collier said.
Collier has missed a month's worth of practices and will likely need some time to re-acclimate before getting a chance to suit up in a game.
"He looks really good to me in all the drills and everything he's done," Carroll said. "I would think next week he'd be competing to play. We're going to keep him out one more time, one week here, but he looks really good. We'll see what happens and how he manages a full workload next week but I'm hoping he'll get full reps and show us where he fits in."
Guard Mike Iupati is officially listed as questionable to play due to a calf strain. However, it appears as though the Seahawks will go with Ethan Pocic as the starter at left guard for Sunday's game. Iupati has been sidelined with foot and calf strains for the last month. He returned to limited participation in practice on Thursday and Friday.
"It's really close," Carroll said.
While he may be available as a reserve, Pocic will likely remain with the starting unit through at least the opening week of the year.
Iupati actually said the calf strain was a blessing in disguise as it gave him that much more time to allow his foot to completely heal.
"Us big guys we need our foundation," he said.
With Pocic at left guard and Joey Hunt ruled out due to a high-ankle sprain, Seattle's offensive line depth will be somewhat challenged against Cincinnati. Barring a roster move being made to add a backup center, Pocic will likely be called upon to take snaps at center should Justin Britt be injured in the game. If Pocic has to move to center, there isn't an obvious option at left guard unless Iupati is able to be available as a backup. If not, it could require some massive shuffling on the line to cover all the bases should the wrong guy get hurt.
Wide receiver David Moore was also ruled out due to a hairline fracture of his humerus bone. Carroll said Moore is way ahead of schedule and pushing to get back as soon as possible.
Photo Credit: Seahawks defensive linemen Ezekiel Ansah, L.J. Collier and Jadeveon Clowney go through team warmups ahead of practice on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (photo by Curtis Crabtree / Sports Radio 950 KJR)