RENTON — Jadeveon Clowney and DK Metcalf are expected to play for the Seahawks on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Ziggy Ansah? Well, probably.
After the Seahawks initially did not list Ansah on the injury report for Sunday’s game, they changed their mind following Friday’s practice, designating Ansah as questionable due to his shoulder. He had surgery to repair a labrum last year, and the injury limited him to just seven games with the Lions in 2018.
The NFL eliminated the “probable” designation in 2016 leaving only questionable, doubtful and out on its official status reports. Players listed as questionable have typically played about two-thirds of the time since then.
But every player is his own case, and coach Pete Carroll said it will go down to kickoff whether Ansah will be able to make his Seahawks debut Sunday. He also threw Clowney into that mix, as well, even though the team did not give him a designation.
Clowney has been listed as limited in practice all week with the team keeping him on a practice snap count after he sat out all of Houston’s offseason program and training camp, meaning he had not done any football activity since last January before coming to Seattle last weekend.
“Still a little bit of a question mark,” Carroll said of Ansah and Clowney. “Just got to make sure on game day that everything worked out OK because they are still responding to the workload. So still a little bit of a question. For Ziggy, just want to make sure he’s all right. But they both did really well and really positive thoughts coming out.”
Otherwise, Seattle officially listed three players as out, none a surprise: receiver David Moore, offensive lineman Joey Hunt and defensive end L.J. Collier.
One player other player was listed as questionable: guard Mike Iupati.
No one else was listed, meaning everyone else has been cleared to play, including Metcalf, who had minor knee surgery on Aug. 20. That is not necessarily a surprise — Metcalf said Thursday he is 100%.
And Carroll backed that up Friday saying Metcalf “is ready to go” and take the field for the first time since the preseason opener against Denver on Aug. 8, the only action Metcalf has had so far, with Carroll saying he thinks Metcalf can make a big contribution immediately.
“He looks great and he’s a smart kid,” Carroll said. “He’s picked things up. He does not make a lot of mistakes and stuff. So the expectations are that he is going to play and go and we’ll see how it works out. Got to knock a little rust off and all that, but he looks like a good ballplayer.”
Moore is out with a broken humerus bone while Hunt suffered a high ankle sprain against the Chargers on Aug. 24 and also wasn’t considered likely to play.
Collier, the team’s first-round pick in the 2019 draft, suffered a high ankle sprain early in camp and did not play in any preseason games.
Collier said this week he is feeling better and he was listed as a limited participant in practice Friday.
But Carroll said the team simply wants to make sure he is fully ready to return before he gets back on the field to minimize the risk of re-injury.
“I would think next week he would be competing to play,’’ Carroll said. “We are going to keep him out one more time, but he looks really good. So we’ll see what happens and how he manages a full workload next week. But I’m hoping he will get full reps and show us where he fits in.’’
Ansah returned to practice last week after sitting out until then while recovering from the shoulder surgery and then a groin injury suffered in a conditioning drill. But if he is good to go for Sunday he will also earn a little money along the way — $3 million of his one-year contract that could earn him up to $9 million as a base value includes incentives for being able to play each week. Specifically, Ansah gets $93,750 for every game on the 53-man roster and $93,750 for every game he is on the 46-man active roster. (Ansah can also earn another $4 million or so in performance incentives).
Cincinnati’s injury report revealed one notable item as starting left tackle Cordy Glenn was ruled out with a concussion.
That means backup Andre Smith will get the start, meaning Ansah and Clowney could get the chance to begin their Seattle careers against a backup left tackle when they line up on the right side.
If Iupati can’t play, Seattle will have some depth issues on its offensive line.
Ethan Pocic is expected to start in place of Iupati at left guard. But he is also the team’s only healthy backup guard and center with Hunt out.
If Seattle were to have another injury to a guard, the Seahawks would likely shift Germain Ifedi to guard (where he started as a rookie in 2016 and played one game last season) with George Fant at tackle.
Both Fant and backup tackle Jamarco Jones battled injuries in the preseason but are not on the status report, indicating they are good to go Sunday.
But Iupati indicated after practice he may be able to play. He took snaps in the team period Friday for the first time since late July while battling foot and calf injuries and said it “felt great” to be on the field.
Iupati has been projected as the team’s starting left guard but Pocic has held that spot throughout the preseason with Iupati out.
Asked if he expected to go back into the starting lineup Sunday if he can play, Iupati said “we’ll see. Ethan and the other O-linemen are doing a great job, so it’s hard to tell, you know? It’s one of those things I can’t control.”
Also listed as out for the Bengals are receiver A.J. Green (ankle) and halfback Trayveon Williams (foot). Receiver Auden Tate is the only other Bengal listed on the report, designated as doubtful with a knee injury.