Seattle head coach Pete Carroll told the media in a press conference on November 2 that Bellore “will be back” this week. He has not been on the field since sustaining a hit to the head on the first second half kickoff during Week 7 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Carroll indicated the Seahawks could get back a couple other players on offense as well in Week 9 — center Austin Blythe and wide receiver Penny Hart.
Bellore to Return in Week 9
The linebacker doesn’t play much on defense, but his return will still be key for the Seahawks because of the contributions Bellore makes on special teams.
In the first six games of the season, Bellore played nearly 22 snaps on special teams per week. He led the team by playing 81.9% of Seattle’s special teams snaps in those six contests.
Even without playing last week and just about all of the second half in Week 7, Bellore is still tied for the team lead with 144 snaps on special teams. The only other Seahawks player with more than 134 special teams snaps this year is fellow linebacker Tanner Muse.
With Bellore leading the way, Seattle has some of the best coverage units in the NFL this season. The Seahawks are ranked in the top 10 in punt return yardage allowed, yards yielded per punt return and yards allowed per kickoff return.
Seattle has yielded just 19.6 yards per kickoff return in eight games, which is the sixth-fewest in the NFL through eight weeks.
Bellore has 6 combined tackles, including 5 solos this season. In 2020, he made the Pro Bowl as a special teams ace.
Other Injured Seahawks Who Could Play in Week 9
Carroll had other positive injury news with Blythe and Hart as well on November 2.
Blythe was expected to practice on November 2 despite dealing with an injured knee. Carroll called the development “a real positive.”
Blythe has started all eight games at center for the Seahawks this season.
The 30-year-old received strong player grades from Pro Football Focus during the 2018 and 2020 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams. But after he only played 12 offensive snaps last year with the Kansas City Chiefs, Blythe has struggled to find his previous form.
Among 30 centers with at least 50% of his team’s offensive snaps this year, PFF has Blythe ranked 29th.
But, Blythe has mostly played better lately. After a slow start, he’s become more consistent in run blocking, and he’s shown flashes of really strong pass protection.
Regardless of the individual PFF grades, Blythe is anchoring the middle of an offensive line that PFF has ranked 13th in pass protection. The Seahawks offensive line has also led the way for a running game that’s second with 5.3 yards per carry.
In addition to Blythe, Hart “has a chance to” play this week.
Like Bellore, Hart has mostly been a special teams player this season. He’s played 42 snaps on special teams in 2022.
But in 10 offensive snaps, Hart also has 1 reception for 15 yards.
Hart has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury.