SEATTLE – The front line of Seattle’s offensive backfield – Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis – will look the same for Sunday’s game against the 49ers.
But the rest of it will have a little different feel.
J.D. McKissic will be back after missing the first 11 games after breaking his foot in a practice during training camp. Fullback Tre Madden is listed as doubtful with a chest injury and backup tailback C.J. Prosise is out with an abdomen injury.
Madden has played 59 snaps in 11 games this season but had one of the biggest plays of last week’s win at Carolina, a 28-yard reception that set up Seattle’s first touchdown, a drive that got the offense jump-started in an eventual 30-27 win.
Coach Pete Carroll said Madden – who did not practice this week – got hurt on that play.
Madden is also one of Seattle’s core special teams players, with 197 snaps, third most on the team.
McKissic could help fill some of Madden’s special teams snaps.
Madden is also the only listed fullback on Seattle’s roster. But asked if it’s a challenge to replace his snaps there, Carroll said, “the challenge has been met. I would put it that way. The challenge has been met.”
Carroll didn’t specify how. But Seattle could fill the handful of fullback snaps Madden gets each week in a few ways, including maybe using some two-tailback sets or using tight ends in those roles.
Prosise has played only 30 snaps all season and was inactive each of the last two weeks. His injury may be more intriguing in terms of the roster ramifications down the road than its impact on Sunday’s game.
Carroll said Prosise has “an abdomen, groin, hip flexor thing going on” that he said Prosise has battled “for some time and been working through it and it’s gone beyond that.”
McKissic’s return means Seattle has the depth it needs at tailback to absorb the loss of Prosise (both were college receivers and can fill the 2-minute/third-down back role, if needed).
But if Prosise is out for an extended period, he could be headed to injured reserve, which would open up a roster spot that Seattle will need next week to bring back linebacker Mychal Kendricks once his eight-game suspension ends.
Prosise, a third-round pick in 2016 out of Notre Dame, has played in 16 of a possible 44 regular-season games, mostly because of injuries.
That has helped fuel speculation about his future with the Seahawks. But if he’s hurt, the team’s only real option would be an IR stint.
Carroll, asked about Prosise’s future, said only, “We just go one week at a time and this week, right now, he’s going to miss and we’ll see what happens.”
The 2019 season will be the last for Prosise on his four-year rookie contract, when he will make $745,000. The Seahawks could save $745,000 against the cap if he is released.
But given the potential Prosise has flashed at times and given the team’s needs and desire for tailback depth with its renewed commitment to the running game, the money involved wouldn’t seem to be a big factor in any decision on Prosise.
Davis is also on just a one-year contract, so the Seahawks may need some bodies to fill out the tailback spot heading into next year, anyway.
As for McKissic, Carroll said to expect him to get thrown into action on Sunday (and with Madden likely to be inactive, it won’t skew the numbers to have four tailbacks active).
“He did a marvelous job getting ready to come back and he looked terrific,” Carroll said, adding he also looked good in practice last week. “We just kind of wanted to make sure we took enough time to assure that he could respond from a week’s work, and he did that and we are anxious to see him running the football.”
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.