RENTON -- The middle of the Seahawks offensive line has been fairly problematic at times through the first seven games of the season.
With Ethan Pocic missing time throughout training camp due to an injured hamstring and then injuring the MCL in his knee in the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts, the Seahawks have had to turn to Kyle Fuller to handle the role through the first two months of the year. Fuller has had his issues at times as Seattle has struggled in pass protection.
Pocic is set to return to full action this week after being used only on special teams the last two games. Pocic is expected to rotate with Fuller at center throughout Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"It’s competitive," head coach Pete Carroll said. "Ethan deserves a chance to get out there so we will look forward to him playing some this week."
Pocic injured his hamstring in workouts just prior to the start of training camp. It took most of training camp for the injury to heal enough for him to return to practice. But by that point, the starting job was Fuller's to begin the season. The two did split time against the Colts with Pocic getting 14 snaps at center before exiting the game with a knee injury. The job has been Fuller's to run with ever since with Dakoda Shepley serving as the backup while Pocic was on injured reserve.
However, the performance hasn't been good enough through seven games.
"No, of course not because Ethan didn’t get to stay in the competition," Carroll said of whether the position has performed to expectation. "Ethan started five games for us at the start of the season last year and was doing really well. I had anticipated that it would be a battle and that we would have kind of a classic competition. It didn’t work out that way. He had to step aside because he was hurt, so Kyle (Fuller) took over, has worked really hard at the spot, and done all right. Ethan deserves to a chance to play too, very much like the Marquise (Blair), Ugo (Amadi) thing.”
Blair and Amadi had been splitting time at the nickel cornerback spot prior to Blair injuring his knee on Monday night against the New Orleans Saints. Pocic and Fuller will now embark on a similar timeshare on offense.
"I’m thankful that these injuries weren’t worse,: Pocic said. "Things could be worse, especially with knees and hamstrings. I’m happy to be out there and will never let a day go by.”
Carroll wouldn't say whether Pocic or Fuller would start Sunday's game against Jacksonville.
"We have to be more consistently on it with the calls and stuff. We could get better there," Carroll said. "In that sense, the competition is still open and it’s important that we get a chance to see how Ethan does and how Kyle does in response to that. It’s a very important position for Shane’s (Waldron) background, it’s been a really important position for that guy to command what’s going on and assist the quarterback. We are still working on that.”
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)