Seahawks hoping for improved ground game versus Eagles

QB Wilson still leads Seattle in rushing yards

Seattle Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy. (AP Photo)

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Twelve weeks into the regular season, quarterback Russell Wilson remains the leading rusher for the Seattle Seahawks.

Wilson has 401 rushing yards on the season. Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, J.D. McKissic and Mike Davis — the four running backs on the Seahawks’ active roster — have combined for 463 yards. Seattle running backs have just one rushing touchdown, a 30-yard run by McKissic in Week 4.

There’s little reason to expect their rushing attack to take off this week against the Philadelphia Eagles, who bring the league’s top-ranked rush defence to Seattle on Sunday night.

“It’s a huge challenge and it’s not just the front four. The linebackers, secondary, they all contribute to that,” left tackle Duane Brown said. “But we’ve got to make it happen. You got to be able to run the ball, I think, to be effective in this league. For us, you don’t want to drop back (to pass) 40-50 times a game. It’s a big challenge. We know what we’ve got ahead of us, but we’re looking forward to it.”

Chris Carson remains Seattle’s second-leading rusher despite playing in just four games this season. Lacy is the active leader for Seattle’s backfield with 176 yards on 68 carries. Running backs are averaging just 3.2 yards per carry collectively. Lacy and Rawls each are managing just 2.6 yards per carry.

Davis is set to return after missing last week’s game with a groin strain. Two weeks ago against Atlanta, he rushed for 18 yards on six carries and caught two passes for 41 yards before leaving early in the third quarter.

“Each week for us right now is a new situation, we’ll figure it out as we go,” head coach Pete Carroll said.

With Luke Joeckel back in the lineup, Brown getting healthier following an ankle sprain and second-round pick Ethan Pocic taking over at right guard, the Seahawks finally have an offensive line together that could spark some progress up front.

A group that has been panned often for utilizing too many converted defensive linemen, tight ends or former basketball players instead of legitimate talent, Seattle’s offensive line now consists of five players that were drafted in the first two rounds. Brown (Houston), Joeckel (Jacksonville) and right tackle Germain Ifedi were all first-round picks. Pocic and centre Justin Britt were second-round selections.

Seattle’s best success on the ground this year came in the first four games with Carson and Joeckel in the lineup. The addition of a former Pro Bowl tackle in Brown and Joeckel’s return to the lineup gives some optimism that the group can make progress down the stretch.

“We have the opportunity to improve our play up front and get better and keep getting better,” Carroll said. “We have been improving as we’ve been going here, particularly in the pass protection stuff, and we’re hoping that we can keep making that move. It’s only natural that that should happen.”

Notes: SS Kam Chancellor (neck), G Oday Aboushi (shoulder) and LB Josh Forrest (foot) have been ruled out. … DE Dion Jordan (neck) and DT Nazair Jones (ankle) are not expected to play and are doubtful. Jones injured his ankle in practice Thursday. … T Duane Brown (ankle), TE Jimmy Graham (ankle), LB D.J. Alexander (shoulder), LB Bobby Wagner (hamstring) and FS Earl Thomas (heel) are all listed as questionable but expected to play.

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