Seattle Seahawks

Josh Gordon won’t play for Seahawks, but these guys will be key against Tampa Bay Sunday

Josh Gordon is a Seahawk.

But not until after Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay at CenturyLink Field.

Seattle claimed the 2013 All-Pro wide receiver off NFL waivers Friday, one day after the Super Bowl-champion New England Patriots gave up on him after taking him off injured reserve.

Coach Pete Carroll said the Seahawks will be checking out the 28-year-old Gordon next week in workouts to see how healed his knee is. The Patriots cleared him on a physical become taking him off IR this week then waiving him.

“He’s a unique talent,” Carroll said. “Next week, we’ll take a look and see what he looks like. He’s done a lot of good stuff and made a lot of good plays.

“We’ll find out more next week. Won’t have anything to do with this game.”

These players, though, will:

1. Tyler Lockett should have chances to make big plays down the field against a Buccaneers defense that’s ranked 31st, next to last, in the NFL in pass defense. Then again, Lockett has been making big plays against everybody. Last weekend in Atlanta he had six catches for 100 yards. Two of those receptions came over his shoulder with a defender all over him, and one of those with one arm. Lockett has stepped up in a huge way filling retired Doug Baldwin’s role as Russell Wilson’s number-one receiver. He has two 100-yard receiving days in eight games. He had two 100-yard games, total, in the previous two years. Expect Wilson and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to send Lockett on routes deep into Tampa Bay’s defense.

2. But Chris Carson will remain the starting point for Seattle’s offense. Sure, the Buccaneers are first in the NFL in rush defense. But teams haven’t run on them all that much this season. The Rams ran it 11 times while getting swamped in the Bucs’ last win, four games ago. Tampa Bay’s defense has had the fourth-fewest rushing attempts against it in the league. Yes, the Seahawks will want to test the shaky pass defense. But that will come after Carson tests a largely untested Bucs run defense. It’s the way Seattle wants and with its offensive line needs to play—against everyone.

3. Carson and that running game will force Shaquil Barrett to do more than just straight-line after Wilson. Barrett is tied for the NFL lead with 10 sacks through seven games. The former Denver Bronco had 14 sacks total in his first five years in the league. The last time the Seahawks faced a top pass rusher, Cleveland’s Myles Garrett, right tackle Germain Ifedi had some strong pass blocks, including to create a key touchdown. Ifedi and Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown, playing on a sore knee and biceps, are the key matchups to watch Sunday where games are usually won, along the line of scrimmage.

4. What is going on with Ziggy Ansah? The Seahawks’ top offseason acquisition has one sack this season. The 2015 Pro Bowl defensive end for Detroit has been inactive for three of the first eight games, leaving bonus money on the table in his one-year contract. He came back last weekend from a sprained ankle. Coach Pete Carroll keeps saying the Seahawks’ pass rush that is 25th in the league with 13 sacks is about to break out, and that Ansah is going to get going once he’s fully healthy. This is a good chance to get healthy: Tampa Bay has allowed the third-most sacks in the league, 28 in seven games. And all the pressure on Jameis Winston is a large reason why the Bucs quarterback has committed 10 turnovers in his last two games.

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.