The Seattle Seahawks know about injuries all too well. For much of the regular season, the Seahawks had to deal with several nagging injuries plaguing their offensive linemen, including Pro Bowlers Max Unger and Russell Okung. Unger managed to play 13 games this past season, while Okung was limited to just eight games.
Linebacker K.J. Wright is the latest player to suffer an injury in a long list for the Seahawks. Even though Wright broke a bone in his foot Dec. 8 against the San Francisco 49ers, he will still be out until next week. This is not good news for the Seahawks, as they face the New Orleans Saints this weekend in the second round of the NFC playoffs.
Wright was partially responsible for holding superstar tight end Jimmy Graham to just 42 yards on three catches when the two teams met on Dec. 2. Wright recorded six tackles in the game and even deflected a pass.
Drew Brees heavily relied on Graham during the regular season, as Graham totaled 1,215 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns in 15 games. A 27-year-old phenom, Graham has been compared to Tony Gonzalez in the eyes of some analysts, like Ashley Fox of ESPN.com.
Even though Wright will be out against the Saints, the Seahawks shouldn’t be too worried about covering Graham. Malcolm Smith has done an excellent job of filling in for the injured Wright. In the last two games of the season, Smith tallied 13 tackles and even intercepted a resurgent Carson Palmer in the regular season finale.
The Seahawks defense was expected to falter after losing Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond in the latter part of the season. Seattle was in a tumultuous situation, but somehow regained its balance. Byron Maxwell successfully stepped into his role as a starter and has recorded four interceptions this year in place of both Browner and Thurmond.
If Smith can focus on helping the Seahawks shut down the Saints passing game, Seattle should be able to advance to the NFC Championship. He’s proved in the past that he can step up in times of need. Just ask the Arizona Cardinals.
Injuries have been a common occurrence for the Seahawks this season, but they have managed to push forward in the face of adversity. More importantly, this team seems to have not lost the urge to earn that ever-elusive Super Bowl ring.