Looks like the Seahawks are going to catch a break in the weather in Green Bay (1:25 p.m. PT, Fox) Sunday: The forecast calls for a high of 31, low of 21, with two to four inches of snow. Or as the cheeseheads like to call it: Tahiti.
Sunday appears to be the warmest day of the week, and the Seahawks will be gone before it gets brisk later: High of five, low of minus-3 on Thursday.
After January’s playoff game against the Vikings, the coldest football game in Minnesota’s miserable-weather history (minus-6 at game time), the Seahawks say to Wisconsin’s weather: Bring it on.
“I can’t wait — it’s going to be awesome,” said QB Russell Wilson, sounding like every 10-year-old boy in the world who hears, “Snow day!” “Obviously, I get to go back to Wisconsin. We know it’s going to be a tough environment. I’m hoping it’s snowing. I’m hoping it’s kind of a downpour of snow. That would be great.
“The playoff game (vs. the Vikings) was crazy cold. This week I don’t think it will be that bad. But it will probably be coming down, knowing the state of Wisconsin. Nothing really changes, you just have to protect the ball running it. Same thing with throwing it, too.”
Lambeau Field has heated coils under the sod, and a grounds crew that is fairly acquainted with snow removal. But if it dumps during the game, there’s not much to be done except enjoy it as Wilson does.
Growing up in Virginia, he was used to snow, explaining his familiarity using one of the most Russell Wilson statements ever: “We’d stay up until three o’clock in the morning playing in the snow.”
Coach Pete Carroll’s years as an assistant and head coach in the AFC East has prepared him.
“We played in all the weather that you can imagine,” he said. “Never as cold as Minnesota last time out, but very messy weather and windy and all that kind of stuff. I feel very comfortable with it.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, an Arizona native who played quarterback at the University of Wisconsin for four years and worked for six years as a Packers assistant coach, said he watched Packers QB legend Brett Favre figure a workaround for the thing Wilson said bothered him the most in Minnesota — the inability to talk clearly in deep cold.
“Your mouth starts to freeze up and you can’t enunciate as well,” Bevell said. “(Favre) always would have those hand warmers in his pocket and he’d pull them out and you’d always see him putting them over his face.”
One Seahawk to watch: CB Richard Sherman. The Compton, CA native and Stanford graduate said he’s never played in snow.
Health updates: Willson, Richardson good to go
Two offensive players, TE Luke Willson (knee sprain) and WR Paul Richardson (hamstring), who missed the Carolina game last week, will play Sunday, Carroll said. The only missing starter will be FB Will Tukuafu (concussion).
His spot will be taken in part by newcomer Marcel Reece, the former University of Washington wide receiver signed this week as a free agent. Both Reece and fellow newcomer FS Jeron Johnson will see some action, Carroll said.
On defense, besides the loss of FS Earl Thomas, the Seahawks won’t have two reserves, DT Damontre Moore (foot) and LB Brock Coyle (foot). But LB Mike Morgan, who missed some practice time this week, will be ready to start his second game since surgery for a sports hernia nine weeks ago.
DC says Thomas will be back
The injured Thomas, out for the season with a broken left tibia, twice tweeted about the possibility of retirement following the Carolina game. But his coach, defensive coordinator Kris Richard, was unequivocal about his expectation that Thomas will return in 2017.
“Absolutely,” he said. “He loves to play this game, there’s no doubt. Of course ,we’re all disappointed, I know he is. He’s not getting a chance to do what he loves to do. I certainly hope so, because the game is better with him out there playing.”
Earlier in the week, Carroll and Sherman also said they thought Thomas would be back.
Richard has plenty of confidence in his replacement, fourth-year safety Steven Terrell.
“It’s going to be a fantastic opportunity for Steven Terrell to step up and show what he’s capable of doing,” Richard said. “We’ve been in these situations before. You wouldn’t know names like Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane, Walter Thurmond, all of the guys who have come through here and have essentially been able to make a name for themselves, (if it wasn’t for) injury.”