Seahawks Could Miss Key Defenders Against Rams

Carlos Dunlap

Getty Carlos Dunlap's status in question following 49ers game.

The Seattle Seahawks got back in the win column on Sunday, October 3, with a 28-21 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Now the team will prepare for a battle with the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday, October 7. However, the quick turnaround means that multiple defenders could be out of action while dealing with injuries.

Head coach Pete Carroll met with media members on Monday, October 4, and provided updates about important members of the defensive line. Carlos Dunlap (toe) and Darrell Taylor (ankle) both dealt with issues during the victory while Benson Mayowa (neck) remained out of action. Carroll noted that all three could return in time for Thursday’s game, but the few practice opportunities add uncertainty.

“It’s a challenging turnaround for everybody that does the Thursday nighters, so we’ll see how we handle it,” Carroll said, per the Seahawks media team. “… We were very, very fortunate in terms of getting guys nicked in the game — not to say that some guys didn’t, but we have a chance to get everybody up.”

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Losing Dunlap & Taylor Would Significantly Hurt the Pass Rush

A former member of the Cincinnati Bengals, Dunlap joined the Seahawks via trade in October 2020. He provided a boost to the pass rush and finished fourth on the team with five sacks in eight games.

Dunlap has not registered a sack during the 2021 season just yet, but he has been a disruptive force even during losing efforts. According to Pro Football Focus, the veteran has an overall grade of 68.9 after playing 49% of the defensive snaps. The analysts credit Dunlap with 11 pressures, two quarterback hits, and eight hurries through four games while giving him a 75.1 grade on tackles.

Taylor, by comparison, has an overall grade of 73 after registering a team-leading three sacks in four games. He has only been on the field for a total of 119 snaps but has continued to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, adding another four hurries and a quarterback hit.

Taylor started quickly during his 2021 debut, shoving his way past Colts right tackle Braden Smith to sack Carson Wentz. He then beat Vikings left tackle Rashod Hill in Week 3 for a sack and 49ers left tackle Trent Williams in Week 4 for his third sack of the year.

A Promising Rookie Returns From Injured Reserve

The defensive line rotation remains the biggest issue for the Seahawks heading toward the Thursday night battle with the Rams. However, there are still questions about the secondary. Sidney Jones and DJ Reed will remain starters while a promising rookie prepares to return to the field and join the competition.

Tre Brown has remained on Injured Reserve since final roster cuts due to a knee injury that surfaced during training camp. He has spent his time preparing to make his return to the practice field and then his NFL regular-season debut.

That day approaches now that the Seahawks have announced they will activate Brown from Injured Reserve. He will be eligible to practice, but he likely won’t see the field against the Rams. Carroll noted that the quick turnaround does not provide enough time.

“We’ll see what happens,” Carroll said about Brown, per Pro Football Focus. “The practice format this week is not one that is set up to show his return (ability) and stuff to the game. We’ll work him out hard around the practice but we’ll see. We’re really pleased to get him back.”

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