RENTON -- Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll confirmed that starting center Justin Britt will be out for the remainder of the year after tearing the ACL in his left knee in Sunday's win over the Atlanta Falcons.
“It is an ACL. He has to have major repair," Carroll said.
The loss is a big blow to the Seahawks offensive line. They don't currently have a reserve center on the roster as Joey Hunt will step into the starting lineup in Britt's place. Britt has been the starting center for Russell Wilson for all but two games since the start of the 2016 season and Hunt will have big shoes to fill.
"As Joey does, he does things right," Carroll said of Hunt's showing in Atlanta. "Made good calls, good direction in what he was doing up front. There are things that he needs to improve on. Pass protection. All in all, he did a nice job."
Britt was injured on the sixth play of the game as Hunt played the final 55 offensive snaps of the game against the Falcons.
With Hunt moving into the starting lineup, the Seahawks have to find a backup center option. Ethan Pocic is on injured reserve and is ineligible to return for over a month yet. Players on injured reserve have to miss at least eight weeks and Pocic has been down for just three games now. He will be eligible to come off injured reserve for Seattle's game at the Carolina Panthers on December 15.
The injured reserve rule was changed to sideline players for eight games instead of eight weeks in the 2018 offseason
In the interim, the Seahawks will need a backup option. Kyle Fuller was a college center at Baylor and has played both center and guard in the NFL during his time with the Houston Texans, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins. Fuller is on Seattle's practice squad and would be the most obvious candidate to assume the role in the immediate future.
Britt's injury presents the possibility he's played his last game with the Seahawks. Britt carries a salary cap number of $11.67 million in 2020 and the team could save $8.75 million against the cap if they release him after this season. However, a contract extension for Britt would also allow for his cap number to be brought into a more palatable range as well.
Marquise Blair continuing to make waves:
For the second straight week, Carroll has said he wants to get more playing time for second-round safety Marquise Blair.
Blair led the team in tackles on Sunday in Atlanta as he made a second consecutive start in place of an injured Bradley McDougald.
"Marquise is going to play some more. He deserves to play. He’s doing good," Carroll said.
"He’s really decisive and goes after it. He’s made numbers of big hits already. He’s working hard and being clean at it. Doing a nice job to keep his head out of there and all that, but he’s going after guys.”
With McDougald improving from back spasms that limited him to emergency duty only on Sunday, the Seahawks will soon have a glut of options at the safety position. Quandre Diggs will start to become involved as he recovers from a hamstring strain that occurred while still with the Detroit Lions. Tedric Thompson has started every game he's been healthy for at free safety this season and Lano Hill will be an option again when he returns from an elbow injury that has kept him out the last two weeks.
There presently appears to be more capable bodies than starting spots available. While Diggs has the flexibility to play slot cornerback as well, that adds some flexibility to the equation. The team could also go with three safeties and have McDougald, Blair and Thompson all on the field simultaneously as well. But it's clear Blair is making a strong impression and is making a case to remain in the lineup regardless.
"He’s really active. Again, some really good hits. He’s got a lot of the details to clean up, just continue to get better. He’s certainly a ball player; you can see that," Carroll said.
Trade Deadline Coming at 1 p.m. on Tuesday:
The ability to make trades for the 2019 season will come to an end on Tuesday at 1 p.m. PDT. Carroll was asked if he thinks the team will be involved in anything that may be happening over the remaining hours.
Carroll doesn't anticipate much happening, though he's just as ready to be entertained by the happenings around the deadline as anyone else.
"I don’t think it’s going to entertain me for as long as I’d like. It seems kind of quiet," he said. "As much as we’ve worked to get to this point to understand what’s available and what’s going on and people that are talking; like we say we’re always in on it and I’m kind of hoping things start picking up a little bit just for fun."
-- Tight end Ed Dickson is going to return to practice this week after missing the first eight games on the injured reserve list. Carroll said that Dickson will have a chance to make it back to the roster this week ahead of their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
"We’re bringing Ed back in with the thought to give him a chance to practice with the chance to play," Carroll said." We’ve worked him really hard leading up to this time through his rehab and all. He’s been preparing for the workload. Very optimistic that he could, if he can make it through the week. We’re going to see how he handles the workload. We don’t know about that, of course. His mindset is on plan.”
Dickson will represent one of Seattle's two injured reserve players capable of returning to the roster this season. The other spot is up for grabs, but Ethan Pocic remains the most likely candidate for the time being.
-- Duane Brown made it through Sunday's game without a setback to the biceps injury that forced him to miss the previous two games.
"“Good. He made it through. He was doing pull ups. I wasn’t there to count them, I just heard about it," Carroll said.
-- Quinton Jefferson's status won't be known until later in the week after missing Sunday's game due to an oblique injury.
"He’s better. We’re going to have to see how he goes through the week. We’re still working on that oblique thing that he had. They can’t predict yet what’s going to happen, so he’ll go light on Wednesday, and then we’ll see how he does in the later part of the week," Carroll said.
-- Quandre Diggs was inactive for his first game in Seattle due to a hamstring injury which limited his chances to get up to speed with his new team last week. Diggs will have a chance to make his debut this weekend but Carroll said they want to ensure he's moved beyond the hamstring injury first.
"We’re going to take him through the week and see," Carroll said. "He had a hamstring that he came to us with and he had played with it. We uncovered that we need to take care of him to get him back fully. He’ll be running around this week. He was very controlled last week. We’ll see how far he can go. I can’t say that he’s for sure back yet for this weekend.
"He’s been a ball player that’s done a lot of stuff. It makes sense to him and he verbalizes really well and communicates well. I don’t think it’s going to be any problem for him at all. I don’t that will even be an issue, particularly if he gets through one more week before he plays. He’ll be in great shape. If it’s this week, he’s under it. He’ll do fine.”
Photo Credit: ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 27: Devonta Freeman #24 of the Atlanta Falcons fumbles the ball as he is tackled by Marquise Blair #27 of the Seattle Seahawks in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 27, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)