After missing five games recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, Luke Joeckel appears ready to resume his left guard position that figures to help a little in restoring the ground game when the 6-4 Seahawks play the 1-9 49ers at 1 p.m. Sunday in Santa Clara. But CB Shaquill Griffin will miss the game after a concussion Monday against Atlanta.
Coach Pete Carroll said after practice Friday that he was eager to finally team Joeckel with Duane Brown, the veteran left tackle who was acquired in Joeckel’s absence to boost the anemic numbers for the running backs.
“To put those two guys next to each other and next to (C Justin Britt), I just think it’s the stuff that we have been thinking about for a while,” he said. “We’re looking forward to that.
“Luke was able to take all of the work he needed to do and he feels great. Duane didn’t get to work much (sprained ankle) but he will play. I’m real excited to get those guys out there.”
But Carroll was not disclosing who would start at right guard. Rookie Ethan Pocic, who was Joeckel’s replacement on the left side, was moved into competition with Mark Glowinski.
“Well, we will see,” he said. “A little suspense.”
The Seahawks’ rushing average of 104.2 yards a game ranks 18th, which isn’t bad, but 340 of the 1,042 yards belongs to QB Russell Wilson, the leading rusher by default.
Last week’s starter, RB Mike Davis, practiced some Friday after straining a groin muscle, raising hopes that he might be available — “he is close,” Carroll said — but indications were that the Seahawks will start Thomas Rawls, a week after he was a healthy inactive in the loss to Atlanta.
Carroll sounded as if he seeks to get Rawls repeated reps early in order to burn off Rawls’ energy that is sometimes counter-productive.
“He is just really high-strung and a psyched, pumped-up dude,” he said. “He needs to get out there and get some plays and kind of get tired a little bit. But we love that about him.
“We love everything about the way he brings it. But he gets really hyped and pumped for the games. Early on, he can be a little out of control. He just needs to get some rhythm and hopefully we will get that done this week.”
Some players who missed some practice this week — TE Jimmy Graham, DT Jarran Reed, LBs Bobby Wagner, Michael Wilhoite and LB D.J. Alexander — will likely be ready Sunday.
The absence of Griffin means Jeremy Lane will start at one cornerback spot and newcomer returnee Byron Maxwell at the other.
“He’s fine now,” Carroll said. “But he couldn’t make it through in the time frame, so he is going to have to sit this week and we will see him next week.”
On the more serious injury front, Carroll said news would be forthcoming soon regarding the health outcomes on SS Kam Chancellor and DE Cliff Avril, both with neck injuries.
“There will be some clarity, yes,” he said. “We are just respecting their process and what is right for them. So we just continue to kind of just report where they are right now and leave it at that.
“There will be some things happening before too long. I know that is not what you want to hear and you want to know more. But that is just kind of the way we are handling it, to help them.”