Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
With the biggest game of the season coming up this week on Sunday Night Football, it’s very important that the Seahawks put their best team on the field against the San Francisco 49ers. The Week 1 victory over the Carolina Panthers didn’t include pass rushers Cliff Avril or Chris Clemons, as well as cornerback Brandon Browner. All three might make a return this week.
Not only has Avril missed the first regular season game for the Seahawks, he hadn’t played in any of the preseason games as well because of a hamstring injury. Of the three guys mentioned, it seems that Pete Carroll is most confident that Avril will be suiting up against the 49ers. Carroll had this to say;
"He was very close to being able to play on Sunday… so we’re planning on him being part of it this week unless he has some kind of setback we can’t foresee. That would be a nice little boost to get him back in the game."
Possibly a more important returning player would be Chris Clemons, who we all know had his season end last year in the playoff game against the Washington Redskins by injuring his knee on what was an unprofessional playing surface. Clemons has been one of the NFL’s top pass rushers over the last three seasons and him being healthy would be a huge boost to the Seahawks defensive line against a quarterback like Colin Kaepernick. Speaking on Clemons;
"He’s going to take reps for us this week. He will take reps Wednesday and we’ll just see how he does. We need to get him through the practice routine and see if he can handle it, which we think he can. But he hasn’t done that yet so that means he’ll be working against the guys, pushing and shoving and all that in a limited fashion and then we’ll take it just one day at a time and see how he progresses."
Having cornerback Brandon Browner back would provide the Seahawks with another physical weapon on defense. Walter Thurmond did a solid job against the Panthers but Browner is a bit more intimidating and the 49ers receivers would be a little more cautious catching passes in his vicinity.
"He ran hard in pregame, but not full speed. We want to make sure that we can get him back to full speed. He’s in a track meet out there so he’s got to have all that going for him. He’s going to run again. He ran today, he’s going to run tomorrow and Wednesday we’ll see how he does. We’ll try to get him for Thursday’s practice."
As of today, I’d go ahead and say that Cliff Avril and Brandon Browner will be active for the Sunday Night Football but the Seahawks will take a little more time with Clemons. Having him come back a week or two too early could be disastrous for the Seahawks Super Bowl chances.