Sidney Rice will make Seahawks debut against Arizona
Seahawks hope receiver Sidney Rice, who missed first two games with a shoulder injury, will boost slow-starting offense.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Arizona @ Seahawks, 1:15 p.m., Ch. 13
RENTON — The Seahawks signed receiver Sidney Rice for his hands, but there's at least a little pressure on his shoulders in Seattle's home opener against Arizona on Sunday.
That's not a comment on the injury that kept him out of the first two regular-season games this year, but the reality that Seattle's offense very much needs the kind of spark Rice was signed to provide.
"We've had in mind that he'd be a huge factor for us," coach Pete Carroll said, "and help other guys get open and help the running game and all of that because you've got to pay attention to him, he's that good of a player."
Rice practiced all week and is listed as probable, which means he's a virtual certainty to play Sunday. He is 6 feet 4 with a reach that goes forever, and he will bring a downfield threat to an offense that needs a pair of jumper cables in the worst way.
Seattle has scored a league-low 17 points, none in the first half of either game. They have gained a league-low 383 yards, a total that 13 different teams surpassed in Week 2 alone.
It's the worst offensive start the Seahawks have had to a season since 2001, when they failed to score a touchdown for the first 10 quarters and started 0-3.
But hey, no pressure, Sidney. Seattle isn't expecting you to do this all single-handedly. You can use both mitts if you need to in order to catch the ball.
Rice can't wait.
"I felt great all week," he said. "I'm just ready to get to Sunday and get out there and play ball."
Rice was considered by many as the league's top free-agent wide receiver. The Seahawks signed him to a five-year, $41 million contract. He did not play in Seattle's first exhibition game because of a sore shoulder. He returned to practice the next week and played in the next two exhibition games. He did not finish practice Aug. 29 after aggravating the shoulder injury, and sat out for three weeks.
Rice returned to practice Sept. 14, but was held out of contact drills and kept out of Seattle's Week 2 game at Pittsburgh, a 24-0 defeat.
"He wanted to play last week and we didn't let him," Carroll said.
Rice was asked if he has any doubts about the readiness of his shoulder.
"I'm fine," Rice said. "If there were any questions, I'm sure coach and those guys wouldn't even have me out there. I feel comfortable, I'm ready to go and we'll see how it goes Sunday."
Seattle didn't have a completion longer than 17 yards in the shutout in Pittsburgh. The Seahawks' longest pass play of the season is a 55-yard touchdown to Doug Baldwin in the fourth quarter of the regular-season opener, but that was off a short slant. It's also Seattle's only completion of more than 20 yards.
It's too much to think that everything will change by adding two hands, no matter how good a receiver they're attached to. Rice won't be responsible for blocking the Cardinals' pass rush or putting tight end Zach Miller down the field as a target.
But Carroll said it's not too much to think Rice could make his presence felt in his first regular-season game with his new team.
"I know his expectation is he's going to start 100 miles per hour," Carroll said. "We'll see how it goes and it'll be great to get him back in."
Carroll sounds off
Carroll said he hadn't heard from Pro Football Weekly before it posted a video reporting friction between him and general manager John Schneider.
Pro Football Weekly did hear it from Carroll after practice Friday, though.
First, Carroll and Schneider walked off the field arm-in-arm to mock the report. Carroll used the terms "lazy," "irresponsible" and "inaccurate" about the report.
Pro Football Weekly later removed the video report.
• Arizona RB Beanie Wells is questionable because of a hamstring injury.
• Seattle G Robert Gallery (groin), FB Michael Robinson (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (ankle) and T Jarriel King (ankle) are all out.
• LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring) is probable and expected to play after missing the game last week.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com
Trending on seattletimes.com
Most viewed photo galleries
The Morning Memo
The Morning Memo jump starts your day with weather, traffic and news
Career Center Blog
Sign up for our newsletter
Get creative suggestions for making your house a home weekly in your inbox!