Seahawks host Redskins after addressing their biggest need
By TIM BOOTH
SEATTLE (AP) Urgency is rarely the overwhelming feeling within the Seattle Seahawks. It's usually a calm confidence surrounding them.
This year is a bit different. There is some urgency built not out of worry but of opportunity, realizing Seattle can again be the class of the NFC and possibly find its way back to another Super Bowl.
The latest example was this week's trade for left tackle Duane Brown, a move to solidify the biggest issue for the Seahawks moving forward beginning with Sunday's game against Washington.
When personnel issues have arisen in the past, the Seahawks (5-2) haven't been this aggressive in trying to find fixes. The first move came before the season even began when Seattle acquired defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson from the New York Jets when there was a need on the defensive line. Seattle also grabbed Justin Coleman from New England, a move that seemed like another transaction but has proven vital as Coleman has become the Seahawks nickel cornerback.
And then came the move for Brown, yet another sign of how serious the Seahawks are approaching this opportunity.
"It says a lot about what our front office thinks of our team right now and what they think of us moving forward," Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said. "I think they think this is our window, this is our chance to take it by the reigns and they are doing everything they can to put us in position to be successful and make us a championship team. Any perceived weaknesses, they are doing their best to shore up."
Brown is a major upgrade for Seattle's offensive line and will get tested right away with the Redskins and top pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan. Washington (3-4) has lost three of four and in each of the three losses the Redskins have been run over. Washington allowed 168 yards rushing to Kansas City; 127 to Philadelphia; and a season-high 169 last week to Dallas. In Washington's three victories this season, it's allowing just 71.3 yards per game rushing.
Back-to-back divisional losses and attrition on the injury front is testing the Redskins' morale. Already, four players are on injured reserve, and more than a dozen have uncertain statuses to play Sunday. Inside the locker room, there's a shortage of bodies from players not practicing, but no one's saying the mood is down.
"We understand guys are going to get banged up, and that's when other guys get opportunities to make a name for themselves," said safety DeAngelo Hall, who is close to being activated from the physically unable to perform list. "We're going to keep rooting for you, I'm hoping you get healthy, but it's my time to go out there and play."
Here's what else to watch as Seattle goes for its third straight win over Washington:
EDDIE'S UP: After rotating running backs through the first seven games and seeing minimal results, the Seahawks intend to give Eddie Lacy first crack at being the featured running back against the Redskins.
The Seahawks are coming off one of the worst rushing games in franchise history, finishing with 33 yards rushing. Seattle's running backs had 5 yards on 16 carries. The Seahawks would like to be balanced offensively and intend on giving Lacy the carries needed to try and establish a rhythm.
O-LINE SHUFFLE: Injuries along Washington's offensive line could mean a starting front of T.J. Clemmings, Arie Kouandjio, rookies Chase Roullier and Tyler Catalina and banged-up Morgan Moses, who's playing with two sprained ankles.
The noise in Seattle is one factor along with getting linemen used to playing with each other.
"They're learning. It's new to them," coach Jay Gruden said. "It's just about communication, playing together, trying to play in unison, which is hard to do at this stage of the season, but I think (offensive line coaches) are getting them ready to go."
The 31-year-old has played 63 NFL games, most recently with Indianapolis last season.
"He brings that experience," defensive lineman Ziggy Hood said. "All he has to do is get the playbook down, learn the calls, learn the terminology and then just let his technique take over from there."
SAFETY VALVE: Seattle's biggest injury question surrounds free safety Earl Thomas, who suffered a strained hamstring late in the loss to Houston.
The Seahawks are clearly a different defense when Thomas is not on the field and it was highlighted last year when he missed the final four games of the regular season with a broken leg. Seattle has more depth in the secondary now than a year ago and would turn to Bradley McDougald to start if Thomas can't go.
"He is just a really, really good football player to be able to set up," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of McDougald. "There is no question. We don't have any hesitation in him playing or keeping the plan, principles intact or anything of that."
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Updated November 2, 2017