The prospect of three starters absent from the offensive line for Sunday’s game in Houston — LT Russell Okung, C Max Unger, RT Breno Giacomini — predictably generated no hand-wringing from coach Pete Carroll Friday.
Asked whether the injuries affect the game plan, Carroll said, “No, not at all. Our (backup) guys are ready to play ball if they’re called on to do so. It won’t be the story about the guys who aren’t playing. It’ll be about the guys who are stepping up and doing their thing. It might be the young guys. If it is, it is and we’ll crank it up and go.”
While Okung’s ligament tear in his right big toe will sideline him for another seven weeks, Unger and Giacomini were described as game-time decisions by Carroll.
Unger has “a triceps injury that we’re just trying to get through,” he said. “We’re really protecting him. So we held him out all week and we’ll see how he is on game day.”
He sounded more concerned when it came to Giacomini’s knee troubles that kept him out of part of Sunday’s win over Jacksonville. Asked if there were long-term worries, Carroll said, “Well, we’ll see, we don’t know that yet. We have to get through this week first.
“He did get kind of whacked (against the Jaguars) on the same knee, so it is bit of an extension of what he had. We have to be real careful with it again.”
As he did last week, RG Paul McQuistan will take Okung’s spot, advancing James Carpenter to guard. Another vet, Samuel Jeanpierre, will replace Unger. The drama concerns Giacomini’s sub, rookie tackle Michael Bowie, who will spend some time in the face of the NFL’s defensive player of the year, J.J. Watt. Naturally, Carroll led the cheers for Bowie.
“There’s nothing about Michael’s play that hasn’t excited us,” he said. “He’s just been coming along so fast. He’s going to be a lot better later when he gets more time to learn what’s going on, but he’s physically capable of doing this.
“The more he gets to play now, the stronger we’ll be down the road. So we look at it as a real positive for him, and we know he can play good football.”
Tate fined $21,000 for hit
WR Golden Tate was fined $21,000 for a hit on Jacksonville free safety Dwight Lowery, a blow that knocked him from the game and will keep him out Sunday when the Jags play Indianapolis.
Tate delivered a blindside hit early in the game that was ruled by the NFL as striking a defenseless player in the helmet or neck area.
“It’s very unfortunate,” Carroll said. “It was a really good block, and it was unfortunate for the kid (Lowery) that he was in the position that he got hit so hard. The intent was to lay a block, which just happened to occur. In the heat of the moment, it was a big blasting hit and he got nailed pretty good.
“It’s really hard for these guys to play really hard-nosed, tough football and be right all of the time. They’re trying to do the right thing, but the league sees it the other way sometimes. Unfortunately that’s the way they ruled on it.”