Second concussion in three weeks ends season for star wideout; QB Tarvaris Jackson is nearing full strength; Eagles will start Vince Young as QB Vick misses third game in a row.
Already missing linemen James Carpenter and John Moffitt and tight end John Carlson, the Seahawks offense took another hit to the starting lineup when wide receiver Sidney Rice was lost for the season due to a second concussion in three games.
The Seahawks put Rice on injured reserve Wednesday prior to the game 5:20 p.m. Thursday game when the Seahawks (4-7) take on the Philadelphia Eagles (4-7) at CenturyLink Field (NFL Network and JoeTV, Comcast Ch. 10).
It was a tough, tough decision for him to take because hes such a competitor,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll after practice Wednesday. “But he took it in stride and he knows that were doing the best thing for him and were trying to help him. He couldnt practice last week because he was banged up with some other stuff. Hes got a series of issues that he can deal with and get them right. Its the right thing for us to do now.
“He knows that, he just doesnt want to do it. I told him yesterday, somebodys going to step in and tell you what you would never decide — we have to do that for him because as a competitor, theres no way he would step out right now.
Rice did not catch a pass Sunday, leaving the game in the second half after his head hit the turf following a pass he couldn’t reach. Rice also had a concussion against Baltimore, but returned in time to play against St. Louis. Carroll said the concussions were not career-threatening.
One of Seattle’s top free-agent acquisitions, Rice’s season ends with 32 catches, 484 yards and two touchdowns in nine games. It wasn’t the return the Seahawks expected when they signed him to a five-year, $41 million contract to leave Minnesota. He missed the season’s first two games with a shoulder injury and had to skip recent practices because of a sore knee.
“We’re going to sit him down to make sure we take great care of him as we gather more information,” Carroll said. We have to give him time. He’s going to have to sit for a number of weeks before he would be able to play anyway. We just want to make sure we take care of him and don’t bring him back too soon.”
Rice likely will be replaced in the lineup by Deon Butler. When Rice was healthy, he showed he was receiver that would catch anything near him.
“He’s a great player,” Carroll said. “We see the stuff that he can do and the impact he can have. But unfortunately, we never got the continuity of getting all of the benefits of his play. It will happen.”
The NFL has put a large emphasis on treating concussions more carefully than in the past.
“With all of the upscale awareness about head injuries, we’re following along,” Carroll said. “We’re going to do the right thing here in this case, and as we continue to grow and learn about the ramifications and impacts of these injuries.”
One bit of good news for the Seahawks was that quarterback Tarvaris Jackson had his best day of practice Wednesday since tearing a pectoral muscle in the Giants game Oct. 9.
“Hes turned a corner for us, it looks like, and thats a great report for me to be able to give you because this was the first week that he participated in all of the action that we had,” Carroll said. “Hes stronger than hes been. Its a big deal (for Thursday) night.
Jackson’s yardage totals have declined every week for the past month. He managed just 144 in Sunday’s 23-17 loss to the Washington Redskins, who entered the game with a six-game losing streak and snapped Seattle’s two-game winning streak by overcoming a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles are hurting too, and they have to fly across the country Wednesday. Quarterback Michael Vick, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, cornerback Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and offensive lineman King Dunlap all have been ruled out of the Seattle game because of injuries. The Eagles also put linebacker Moise Fokou on injured reserve Tuesday.
Although the Eagles have the same 4-7 record as the Seahawks, they are the NFL’s No. 3-ranked team in total offensive yards at 420.1 per game (Seattle ranks 30th at 294.1).
They have so many weapons and they have style in what they want to do on offense and in what theyre doing on defense that gives them a chance to be a really good football team,” said Carroll. “They could beat anybody. Theyre hard for everybody to beat when theyre playing their game.
“Andy (head coach Reid) has been around such a long time. Hes got great schemes and great concepts and he knows how to do it and when, too. Its like last week (against Washington where coach) Mike Shanahan and his system go way back. They dont make anything easy on you. This is as wide open of an offense as youre going to see.
“LeSean McCoy makes it so dangerous because hes back there every snap. They spread you out and hes sitting back there waiting to get the football and he can tear you up. They pose all of the problems, all of them, in their returns and in every aspect of their play. Theyre very, very fast on defense and it causes issues.
Despite Carroll’s Sunnybrook Farm assessment of Reid and the Eagles, calls are on the rise in Philly for Reid’s ouster. The Eagles made a number of big-headline free agent signings, which have not translated into enough wins. The Eagles have blown five fourth-quarter leads that resulted in defeats, and Reid made a questionable move by elevating 13-year offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator. Further, Reid has been criticized for not giving enough touches to McCoy (only 14 Sunday).
Vince Young will make his third start in a row for Vick. In a 38-20 loss Sunday at home to New England, Young threw for 400 yards and rushed for 40 more. A week earlier, in his first game action in more than a year, the former University of Texas starhelped beat the Giants in New York 17-10.
NOTE: Fans attending the Seahawks-Eagles game are strongly urged to arrive at CenturyLink Field at least 90 minutes prior to kickoff to avoid parking delays and overcrowding at the gates. Touchdown City will open at 2 p.m., all stadium gates will open at 3 p.m. and kickoff is scheduled for 5:20 p.m. Seahawks game day security is now using hand-held metal detectors as part of the screening process. The hand-held metal detectors enable staff to screen fans more efficiently as part of a league wide initiative.
Fans should also be aware the Metro Transit park and ride bus service will not be available for the weekday game. A partial list of transportation options is outlined below. For a complete list visit the team’s interactive transportation guide at: www.seahawks.com/gameday/transportation-guide/index.html.