RENTON -- The Seattle Seahawks will likely be without starting free safety Tedric Thompson and defensive tackle Poona Ford for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Thompson and Ford, along with special teams captain Neiko Thorpe, were declared doubtful to play this weekend. Thompson and Thorpe both injured their hamstrings in last week's win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Ford is dealing with a calf strain.
Lano Hill is the likely replacement for Thompson in the starting lineup at safety with rookie Marquise Blair serving as the reserve option. Ugo Amadi could also factor in at safety as well seeing as he is clear to play after dealing with a sore shoulder this week after a hard collision with Bradley McDougald late in the first half of last week's game.
"If he gets a chance to play, he's ready to go," head coach Pete Carroll said of Hill. "We all remember that he finished really well last year and he's jumped right back at it. He's ahead of where he was in terms of just awareness of the scheme and what's asked of him and all of that. We're very comfortable with him playing."
Why would Hill be the choice instead of second-round pick Blair?
"We don’t need to rush it," Carroll said. We are in good shape and we like playing with the experience when you can and we have some guys who have been around us who are a little bit ahead of him.''
The replacement for Ford will be more of a group effort. Undrafted rookie Bryan Mone is listed as Ford's backup on the team's depth chart, but Quinton Jefferson would also likely be called upon to play at the tackle spot at bit more this weekend as well. Al Woods is capable of playing both at nose tackle and the three-technique spot, which would allow Jefferson to play a more suitable position at three-technique when asked to move inside.
"We're not going to think twice about him playing in any of the situations that we like him in," Carroll said of Mone. "He's done well and he's doing a great job really to be that far along and we trust him that much."
First-round pick L.J. Collier will be available on Sunday as well after making it through a full week of practice without issue as he recovers from an ankle sprain sustained early in training camp. He can also play both at end and tackle, though how much the team would want to put on his plate in his first game is less certain.
"L.J. is back," Carroll said. "He's ready to play in this game. If we want to put him up, he can go. He had a great week and that's a real good return for him. He worked really hard. He maintained his conditioning through the rehab. He looked really well-conditioned in the practice. Wasn't over-burdening him at all. So in our minds he can play, we just got to wait and see what the rotations would be if we put him up."
Defensive end Ziggy Ansah is questionable to play for a second straight week. However, Ansah made it through a full week of practice without issue and is close to making his debut.
"He wasn't limited at all at this point," Carroll said. "He's almost there. He may be there. We'll find out and see if we can get him to play this week. He's getting really close. If he doesn't go this week he certainly has a great chance for next week."
Left guard Mike Iupati could make his first appearance in the starting lineup as well. He briefly filled in last week against the Bengals when Justin Britt left due to a collision with his knee. However, Iupati appears poised to regain his starting spot against Pittsburgh on Sunday.
"Mike had a really good week. He was able to take the workload and Mike has got a great chance to play in this game," Carroll said.
Carroll said earlier in the week that Iupati is the starter at the spot as soon as he's ready to return to the lineup.
Backup center Joey Hunt (high-ankle sprain) and wide receiver David Moore (fractured humerus) were ruled out. Both are getting closer to being able to return. Moore practice all week and could make his way back for next week's game against the New Orleans Saints.
"David practiced really well," Carroll said. "Next week is a really big week for him. He has a chance to come back to us. He won't make it this week but he has a chance next week to come out and play for us. He looked great."
Photo Credit: SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 16: George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers is tackled by Tedric Thompson #33 of the Seattle Seahawks after a catch during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on December 16, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)