COMMENTARY | The Seattle Seahawks are already dealing with plenty of injuries on the offensive side of the ball. This week, one of their key defensive players may be missing.
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner sprained his ankle in Week 5's 34-28 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The injury forced him to leave the game briefly, although he did return. His status for this week's game is uncertain, as head coach Pete Carroll said "we'll have to watch and see how that ends up this week," in his Monday press conference.
Wagner, a second year player out of Utah State, impressed tremendously in his rookie season as one of the best linebackers in the entire NFL and is clearly one of the most important pieces of the Seahawks' front seven. His presence is most felt in stopping the run, although he has added two sacks and four interceptions in his 21-game career.
If Wagner cannot play, Heath Farwell is next up on the Seahawks' depth chart at middle linebacker. Farwell has been around the league since 2005, but has only seen limited action this year. He made two tackles in Wagner's place against Indianapolis.
The Seahawks would have plenty to be concerned about heading into a Week 6 matchup with the Tennessee Titans if Wagner is missing or hindered by his injury. With Jake Locker missing, the Titans seem like they would be more inclined to utilize their run game, although Ryan Fitzpatrick did attempt 41 passes in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Chris Johnson might not be the same player he used to be, but still has the potential to break off huge runs at any time.
Wagner's speed is probably his most impressive attribute. That speed will be missed trying to cover Johnson out of the backfield, as well as matching up with Delanie Walker at the tight end position.
Most importantly, the Seahawks should rest Wagner if there's a chance of him aggravating the injury. They can't afford to have Wagner missing down the stretch or in the playoffs.
Nathaniel Reeves is a lifelong Seattle sports follower studying journalism at the University of Washington. He currently covers sports for The UW Daily.
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- Bobby Wagner