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Seahawks could be minus three o-linemen vs. Texans

The SportsXchange

Already minus injured left tackle Russell Okung, the Seattle Seahawks could be minus 60 percent of their starting offensive line in Houston on Sunday with center Max Unger and right tackle Breno Giacomini game-day decisions after being listed as doubtful Friday.

Unger is dealing with a triceps injury and Giacomini has a sore knee.

"Our guys are ready to play ball if they're called on to do so," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "It won't be the story about the guys who aren't playing, it'll be about the guys who are stepping up and doing their thing. It might be the young guys. If it is, it is and we'll crank it up and go."

Lemuel Jeanpierre will start against the Texans if Unger can't go.

"Lem is ready to go. He's played in games before for us," Carroll said. "We know that he knows how to make all of the calls and he's been with us a long time, so we're very confident in Lem's work. If he's called on he'll be ready to start and take this thing. He'll be fine."

Unger was held out of practice all week as the team attempts to be cautions with his injury.

If Giacomini can't play, which appears likely with Carroll saying the team is trying to "get through this week first" him, rookie Michael Bowie would likely get the start. Bowie saw significant action against Jacksonville last week.

"There's nothing about Michael's play that hasn't excited us," Carroll said. "He's just been coming along so fast. He's going to be a lot better later when he gets more time to learn what's going on, but he's physically capable of doing this. So the more he gets to play now, the stronger we'll be down the road. So we look at it as a real positive for him, and we know he can play good football."

The team doesn't yet know if Giacomini's injury will be a long-term deal. He has been battling a sore knee, and the same one was hit last week.

"It is bit of an extension of what he had. We got to see how he bounces back. We have to be real careful with it again."

The offensive line issues are a big concern against the Texans' strong pass rush, which is led by lineman J.J. Watt.

Watt was named the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year last year after becoming the first player in league history to have 16.5 sacks and 15 passes defensed in a single season.

He's long, strong and fast. A nightmare for offensive lines.

"He's a star player," Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "I mean he really does a great job, he's tenacious, he works hard, he's long, he creates a lot of issues. So he's definitely someone that we have to account for and make sure that he doesn't wreck the whole day for us."

Bevell will use just about everything in the tool kit to slow that pressure, whether it's from Watt or another blitzer. They will shift offensive linemen around, keep backs in to block, vary their runs and passes in order to disrupt timing. Just about everything is on the table since Phillips likes to blitz more than 80 percent of the time.

"The types of players they have as well, when you get them into a nickel or dime situation, there nose comes off the field and then they have all of those different guys that can move," Bevell said. "Their outside backers are their ends, but they can move them around and they can spin them around, they could do all different kinds of things with those type of guys. So it creates issues for you. You have to know who you are looking at, how you're accounting for them, within each protection."

--DT Jordan Hill (biceps) has been ruled out for another week. "He's still another week away," Carroll said. "He couldn't go full speed in practice yet. Next week really is the week to see if he can get back. We had hoped that maybe he could make some progress, but we're just being really careful. We want to make sure he gets fully back when he returns."

--S Jeron Johnson (hamstring) has been ruled out.

--RB Spencer Ware (ankle) has been ruled out.

-- DE Michael Bennett (groin) is probable.

--CB Brandon Browner (hamstring) is probable.

--DE Red Bryant (back) is probable.

--WR Jermaine Kearse (ankle) is probable.

--LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring) is probable.

--G J.R. Sweezy (back) is probable.

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