The Seattle Seahawks take on the Houston Texans on December 12. This game will play a pivotal role in the remaining weeks, but the team will enter the game shorthanded. Starting right tackle Brandon Shell and three other key contributors will miss the game.
Head coach Pete Carroll met with members of the media on Friday, December 10, to discuss the overall health of the roster. He provided reasons as to why Shell (shoulder), Adrian Peterson (lower back), Travis Homer (calf/hamstring), and Kyle Fuller (calf) will all miss the game. Carroll also listed undrafted rookie Jake Curhan as a top option to replace Shell for the game.
“Jake has played on the right side for us, and Stone [Forsythe] can play there as well,” Carroll said during his media session. “Brandon, he’s been hanging in there with the shoulder that’s just been a bother to him, and we’ve just got to give him a break this week and see if we can get him stronger for the finish of the season.”
Curhan has spent limited time on the field during his rookie season. He played 26 snaps during a loss to the Vikings on September 26, eight snaps during the win over the 49ers on October 3, and six snaps during a loss to the Cardinals on November 21. Curhan’s most extensive playing time was during the December 5 victory over the 49ers. He was on the field for 60 offensive snaps (86%), per Pro Football Reference.
ALL the latest Seahawks news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Seahawks newsletter here!
The Texans Defense Creates Concerns for the Seahawks
All of the absent players have important roles to fill, but the absence of Shell could be the biggest concern. The Texans have been relatively strong on defense despite a 2-10 record.
Now under the guidance of Lovie Smith, the Texans have forced 20 turnovers so far. Their 14 interceptions rank seventh in the NFL (tied with the Buccaneers and Saints). Additionally, the Texans rank fifth in sacks with 35 on the season while the Seahawks have given up 39. Defensive end Jonathan Greenard leads the way with eight quarterback takedowns.
“Looking at all of their turnovers, they do a little bit of everything well,” offensive coordinator Shane Waldron said about the Texans defense, quote courtesy of the Texans. “First of all, when you’re running with the ball, they’re punching at it every chance they get. They’re really coming aggressively after the ball, so any loose balls right there, they’re coming in fist first.
“They do a great job of locking it up, whether it’s in the open field, or in the core of the line. Anytime that happens, we’re ready for that to be part of their plan. Then the secondary and even the linebackers, they do a great job attacking the ball in the air and they’ve gotten a good amount of picks, 14 of them and a good amount of those has been guys coming downhill and high pointing the football and taking it, not waiting for it to come down to them.”
The Seahawks Will Take Another Approach With the RB Rotation
Carroll explained during the media session that Peterson had a lower back issue pop up in the week of practice. The 2012 NFL MVP will now miss the game against the Texans, along with fellow running back Travis Homer.
With Peterson and Homer out of the lineup, the Seahawks will move forward with Rashaad Penny and Alex Collins playing a major role. Carroll didn’t specify which running back will make the start during the trip to Houston, but he said that Penny will be a “big part” of the game plan.
Penny logged his most work on December 5 against the 49ers. Peterson scored a rushing touchdown, but Penny played 41% of the offensive snaps while rushing 10 times for 35 yards. This game marked his first time logging double-digit touches in the 2021 season.
Collins, by comparison, missed the game against the 49ers due to an abdomen injury. He will be back in the lineup for the trip to Houston, but he will potentially split time with Penny as he works his way back.