The Seahawks' defense hasn't seen many changes through the first 14 games—until now. The suspension of Brandon Browner threw a wrench in the defensive secondary and, now, the knee injury to defensive lineman Jason Jones will thrust younger, inexperienced players into action.
Following last week's game against the Bills, it was reported that Jones was dealing with some knee soreness, but by no accounts did it seem serious enough to think that he would miss Sunday night's showdown against Seattle's most hated division rival.
Jones did not practice on Wednesday, but to most, it was just a sign of early week rest in order for him to return to as close to 100 percent as possible. Young guys like rookie Greg Scruggs, Clinton McDonald and Jaye Howard will be relied upon to do their best to pick up the slack in Jones' absence.
Here's what rookie seventh-round pick Greg Scruggs had to say yesterday when asked about a potential expanded role:
You thrive on the opportunity to perform under pressure. One of the biggest knocks on me was I always had potential in college to be a first-round pick, but when big games came around, it was almost as if it was a slump. I've been fighting that my whole life and I think that this is an opportunity for me to go out and really show that I can play on the big stage and I can play under pressure.
Nevertheless, it will be hard to fill Jones' shoes. He was third on the team in sacks with four and, according to the analysts at Pro Football Focus, he was the second most effective pass rusher on a per snap basis.
The Seahawks are also hopeful that defensive tackle Alan Branch's ankle is healing at a quick rate so that he becomes a more reliable option moving forward. Over the last two weeks, he has only logged a total of 37 snaps.
Here's a look at the rest of the top stories from the NFC West this week.
Daria Del Colliano of ArizonaSports.com says cornerback Patrick Peterson leaves defensive coordinator Ray Horton speechless.
ESPN.com reports of Dashon Goldson and all of his high rate suspension fines that he has accumulated over the course of his six-year career.
Joseph Akeley of Bleacher Report highlights the top-five moments from the 49ers' 2012 season so far.
Ed Werder of ESPN reports on Richard Sherman's appeal hearing. The Seahawks don't expect a ruling until sometime next week.
Ralph Lango of Bleacher Report breaks down the Seahawks and asks, are they poised to make a Super Bowl run?
St. Louis Rams
Ryan Van Bibber of TurfShowTimes.com takes a look at Jeff Fisher and his comments about offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's head coaching future.
David Daniels of Bleacher Report gives us a complete guide to the Rams vs. Bucs game on Sunday.