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Friday, November 18, 2011
Can Seahawks exploit Rams' CB issues?

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The St. Louis Rams have lost cornerbacks Ron Bartell, Bradley Fletcher, Jerome Murphy, Al Harris, Mikail Baker, Dionte Dinkins, Tim Atchison and Brian Jackson to season-ending injuries.

A ninth corner, Chris Smith, was waived/injured earlier in the season, returning as a member of the practice squad. A 10th, Marquis Johnson, opened the season on the physically unable to perform list.

Even opponents realize that's a "ridiculous" injury situation at one position.


"That's crazy," Seattle Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson told reporters in St. Louis.

And with cornerback Justin King suffering an ankle injury Thursday, four days after he suffered a concussion, the situation could be getting worse.

As much as the Seahawks have leaned on the ground game recently, the Rams' injury situation at cornerback could, in theory, coax them into a more pass-happy approach.  The Seahawks could also try running the ball from personnel groups featuring three-plus wideouts. That is one of the more interesting strategic possibilities in the NFC West this week.

The Seahawks used three or more wide receivers on 35.8 percent of their plays against Baltimore in Week 10, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That was a season low. Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin suffered concussions, leaving Seattle with fewer available wideouts. The team also wanted to protect a lead by grinding out yards with Marshawn Lynch, who carried 32 times for 109 yards in the team's victory over Baltimore.

Rice and Baldwin are back practicing and expected to play Sunday.

Before the Baltimore game, Seattle had used three-plus wideouts on 66.3 percent of its snaps this season, including 90.5 percent against the New York Giants in Week 5. The Seahawks averaged between 4.6 and 6.7 yards per carry with three wide receivers on the field in games against Dallas, Cleveland, Arizona, Cincinnati and the Giants.