RENTON -- Entering a near must-win contest against a division rival isn't the best time to be as banged up as the Seattle Seahawks currently are.
The Seahawks could be down five defensive starters that have previously been named to the Pro Bowl. They won't have Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor or Cliff Avril at their disposal this Sunday. That part is for certain. However, they may not have Bobby Wagner or K.J. Wright either, which could prove insurmountable against the Los Angeles Rams.
"We have to do everything right to have a chance and that's what we're preparing to do," head coach Pete Carroll said on Wednesday.
Rarely in Carroll so blunt in an assessment of his team's chances. The Seahawks have been so good and talented through the years that it mostly came down to how well they played in determining whether they won or lost games. That's no longer the case. With so many stellar defenders unavailable, the Seahawks have reserves playing in every level of their defense.
The Rams have caused plenty of problems for the Seahawks in the past. And that's with teams that were far less talented and not as well coached as their current iteration.
Wagner's status won't likely be known until at least this weekend. He could be a game-time decision due to a hamstring strain that was aggravated against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Wagner left the game after absorbing a block from Jaguars center Brandon Linder. The play exacerbated an injury Wagner has been managing for weeks.
Wright was injured later in the same quarter when he collided with fullback Tommy Bohanon. The blow left him with a concussion that forced him from the game.
"K.J. is in the (concussion) protocol. That's up to the doctors," Carroll said. "And Bobby is going to go all the way through the week, as he has the last couple of weeks. We’ll have to wait and see."
Michael Wilhoite replaced Wagner at middle linebacker with D.J. Alexander taking over for Wright on the weak side. Terence Garvin replaced Wilhoite at the strong-side linebacker spot as Seattle had to play with reserves for almost the entire second half last week in Jacksonville.
A similar lineup could be expected this week if Wagner and Wright are out.
The Seahawks promoted linebacker P.J. Dawson from the practice squad as depth for the week if Wagner can't play. He takes the place of guard Oday Aboushi on the active roster, who was placed on injured reserve due to a dislocated shoulder.
Seattle also promoted defensive tackle Garrison Smith from the practice squad and waived defensive tackle Rodney Coe, who was claimed by the Detroit Lions.
Smith has played in six games this year for the Seahawks.
Running back Mike Davis expects to be ready to play this week after leaving Sunday's game with a rib injury after getting a helmet in the back.
While the Seahawks have won the division three out of the last five seasons, the Rams have won four of the last seven meetings between the two teams.
"When you put two physical-minded teams together, you typically get a good football game," wide receiver Doug Baldwin said of the Rams.
"That has always been the case. It’s been the case since I have been here. They have done a phenomenal job and obviously have had extreme success with it this year."
Baldwin said it would be a natural reaction for Seattle's offense to feel like they have to carry the day given the number of injuries on the defensive side of the ball. However, he said they have to fight that notion and stay within themselves.
"Human nature would tell you ‘OK, look, there is going to be some kind of give here on the defense, so we have to do more offensively,’" he said. "But for the most part, we have to correct that as professionals, as people who have been here for a long time.
"We are not going to change our mentality. We are not going to try make things up. We are going to going to continue to go out there and do what we’ve always planned to do, which is put points on the board."
Photo Credit: JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 10: K.J. Wright #50 of the Seattle Seahawks lays on the field after an injury during the second half of their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on December 10, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images)