The Seattle Seahawks (1-0) are in pursuit of the franchise’s first 2-0 start since 2013. To get there, they’ll have to ruin the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) home opener on Sunday at Heinz Field. Seattle’s starting lineup is expected to have changes on both sides of the football.
That’s where we’ll put our focus in this week’s five players to watch.
1. S Lano Hill
The writing has been on the wall for Hill to start since Monday when Pete Carroll said the third-year safety “deserved to play.” Hill started Seattle’s final two games of 2018 – wins against the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals – before a hip injury ended his season. Tedric Thompson (hamstring) is doubtful to play against the Steelers, which means Hill will likely start at strong safety with Bradley McDougald moving to free safety. The Seahawks will hope that Hill can provide a spark to a secondary that struggled against the Cincinnati Bengals.
2. LG Mike Iupati
Iupati was active in Week 1 to be used for emergency purposes only. He played one snap after Justin Britt left the game briefly, but other than that, it was Ethan Pocic at left guard. Iupati figures to reassume the starting role now that his foot and calf are fully healthy. The veteran may help stabilize an offensive line that didn’t play well versus Cincinnati, allowing four sacks and paving the way for just 2.9 yards per carry. Britt appears to be fully healthy, and with the addition of Iupati, expect to see a bounce back performance from that group.
3. WR Tyler Lockett
You won’t win many games in the NFL when your best offensive skill player doesn’t get involved until the fourth quarter. The Seahawks were able to escape with a victory last Sunday despite Lockett having just one catch, albeit a 44-yard touchdown. Defenses will continue to key on Lockett, but Seattle can’t allow him to be removed from the game all together. I’m curious to see if Brian Schottenheimer gets Lockett a few easy touches early on to get him going. If the Steelers double Lockett to the degree that the Bengals did, DK Metcalf and Will Dissly will have to step up.
4. DL L.J. Collier/DE Ziggy Ansah
Cheating a bit here but both Collier and Ansah are worth mentioning. I’m really curious to see if one or both will play against Pittsburgh. Collier (ankle) is healthy, but Carroll suggested the team may keep him down on gameday anyway due to a lack of practice time. Ansah practiced in full on Friday but still has the questionable tag. My gut tells me that both will be up on Sunday. However, Seattle has shown that they’re willing to be patient with players.
5. DT Brian Mone
Sticking on the defensive line, Mone is in line for extra work with Poona Ford (calf) listed as doubtful. The undrafted rookie played 26 snaps with three tackles in the opener. That workload could be doubled on Sunday as he'll line up next to Al Woods on base downs.