RENTON -- The Seahawks appear likely to have to face All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald this week without their starting center in the lineup.
Ethan Pocic seems likely to miss this week's game against the Los Angeles Rams due to a concussion that forced him to miss a second straight practice on Thursday. With the various sequential steps needed to return from the league's concussion protocol, Pocic's inability to practice on Thursday means he's essentially run out of time to make it back in time for Sunday afternoon's game in Los Angeles.
Head coach Pete Carroll did not mention Pocic's concussion when speaking with reporters prior to Wednesday's practice. However, Pocic was one of eight players not to take part in the afternoon's practice. Pocic played the entirety of last week's game against the Buffalo Bills before
Assuming Pocic is out, the Seahawks will likely turn to Kyle Fuller to make the start at center on Sunday.
"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.
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 his trade to Cincinnati 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," 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."
Fuller would have his hands full with Donald, who is inarguably the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL and quite possibly the best defensive lineman period at any spot along the line.
"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.
If Fuller is starting, the Seahawks will need a backup at center. The other player on their roster that has taken snaps with the team is Phil Haynes, who sits on injured reserve. Haynes has been designated to return and has been practicing the last three weeks after a hip landed him on injured reserve to start the season. The team would need to open a roster spot for Haynes to be added from injured reserve.
Defensive tackle Bryan Mone is dealing with a high-ankle sprain and could be placed on injured reserve for three weeks to clear a roster spot for Haynes' addition.
Running backs Chris Carson (mid-foot sprain) and Carlos Hyde (hamstring), cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin (hamstring) and Quinton Dunbar (knee), defensive end Benson Mayowa (high-ankle sprain), defensive tackle Bryan Mone (high-ankle sprain), linebacker K.J. Wright (ankle) and center Ethan Pocic (concussion) all missed practice for a second straight day this week.
Wide receiver Penny Hart (knee) was a new addition to the injury report with a knee issue.
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 31: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks walks with teammate Ethan Pocic #77 after Pocic sustained an injury in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field on December 31, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr /Getty Images)