Dwight Freeney is going to play this week. Jeremy Lane just wants to play. Dion Jordan is finally practicing, but DeShawn Shead and Malik McDowell are not ready yet.
Those were the top takeaways from Pete Carroll on Wednesday, as the Seahawks brought in the 37-year-old former All-Pro Freeney, apparently demoted Lane and allowed Jordan to return to practice.
Freeney, who has 122.5 career sacks with four teams, said he had always wanted to play in Seattle since leaving the Indianapolis Colts in 2013.
“I think it’s a little something different on defense in this city,” he said. “Now that I am here, I already know how special a place this is.”
John Schneider started talking to him after Cliff Avril was injured earlier this month, and the Hawks are hoping he can bring the kind of help fellow 37-year-old Julius Peppers has, with 6.5 sacks in Carolina. Freeney had three sacks for Atlanta in a part-time role last season, and he had been talking with the Falcons again as well.
He said it should be an easy transition because Seattle’s defense is similar to the Atlanta scheme run by former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
Pete Carroll said Freeney is in good shape and “you’ll see him some” vs. Houston this week. “We’re gonna mix him in and see how he does. We’re expecting him to play. He’s ready to go.”
Filling the open roster spot from when Avril went on IR last week, Freeney figures to play a limited role on passing downs, rotating with Michael Bennett, Frank Clark, Marcus Smith, Branden Jackson and Quinton Jefferson.
There has been some hand-wringing about Seattle’s lack of sacks — the Hawks are just 23rd in the NFL at two per game. But Carroll said pass efficiency is a more pertinent stat because quarterbacks have been throwing the ball quickly. The Hawks are No. 2 in passer rating (69.9) and No. 3 in yards per attempt (5.3), so they certainly have held down most quarterbacks.
Bennett (foot), Marcus Smith (ankle) and Nazair Jones (knee) are playing injured. Bennett had a very good game in New York, and Carroll said he came out of it fine, but Bennett cannot continue to play 84 percent of the snaps, as he has done so far.
Lane apparently would be happy with any snaps. He tweeted Tuesday that he had been benched, and Carroll said, “He just wants to play.” Both Carroll and Richard Sherman said it’s “about competition” — Shaq Griffin and Justin Coleman have played very well in Lane’s absence.
It seems highly likely that Schneider is trying to move Lane before next Tuesday’s deadline. Schneider tried to deal him before the season started but found no takers for his $4 million guaranteed salary.
With Shead possibly coming off PUP in the next month, the team doesn’t really need the injury-prone Lane anymore. Schneider surely would settle for a seventh-rounder in 2019 for Lane.
Before the game in New York, Schneider said he has been talking to teams around the league about possible deals ahead of the deadline. Mainly he has been looking for a left tackle — talking to Houston about Duane Brown and Buffalo about Cordy Glenn, among others — but it wouldn’t shock anyone to see Lane moved.
Carroll said Shead (ACL) is in phenomenal shape but there is “still a little work to be done” in the rehab process. Carroll had no timeline for Shead’s return to practice but said he hoped it would be soon.
Jordan, meanwhile, has returned from a knee injury suffered in Miami last year. “I’m really excited for Dion,” Carroll said. “He’s worked really hard. … We’re gonna ease him in, make sure he’s making progress, see where he is in a couple weeks.” The Seahawks will have three weeks to decide whether to activate him.
As for McDowell, Carroll said he’s making progress, but they are still not sure he will be able to play this season. “He’s getting some laps in and he feels fine,” the coach said. “He’s really encouraged. … I’m really happy for him.”
In offensive injury news, Carroll said Justin Britt won’t practice until Friday, in the hope of overcoming a sprained ankle suffer in New York. Ethan Pocic played six snaps in Britt’s place vs. the Giants and would start vs. Houston if Britt cannot go.