The offensive line problems for the Seattle Seahawks went from bad to worse Friday when coach Pete Carroll said Pro Bowl center Max Unger might miss Sunday's game against the Houston Texans, meaning the Seahawks could start the road game with three backups up front.
"We are banged up and we've got some guys that are going to have a hard time making it this week," Carroll said Friday morning on KIRO Radio in Seattle, referring to Unger and right tackle Breno Giacomini. "We have some guys [who will] step up, and we really will always be about the guys that step in rather than the guys who can't go."
After practice Friday, Carroll was slightly more optimistic, saying both Unger and Giacomini will be "game-time decisions." Pro Bowler Russell Okung is out for at least eight weeks with a torn ligament in a big toe.
Giacomini injured a knee in the Jacksonville game last weekend. He did not practice this week, nor did Unger, who injured a triceps muscle against the Jaguars. But Unger was expected to play Sunday until Carroll indicated otherwise Friday.
Rookie tackle Michael Bowie, a seventh-round draft choice from Northeastern State in Oklahoma, would start for Giacomini. Bowie began his college career at Oklahoma State.
Lemuel Jeanpierre is the likely starter at center for Unger. Jeanpierre is a fourth-year player who started five games for Seattle in 2011, but only one at center. Paul McQuistan has moved from his left guard spot to replace Okung at left tackle, and James Carpenter, a former first-round pick from Alabama, is starting at left guard.
Potentially being without three starters on the offensive line never is good, but it comes when the Seahawks face one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, led by third-year end J.J. Watt, the league's defensive player of the year in 2012 when he had 20½ sacks.
Note: Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate was fined $21,000 by the league for unnecessarily striking a defenseless player in the head and neck area in the game against Jacksonville. Jaguars defensive back Dwight Lowery suffered a concussion on a block Tate threw during the opening series of the game.