Penalties and injuries hurting Seahawks in preseason

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RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks are dealing with injuries on their defensive front and penalties as they enter the final week of preseason action.

Five players expected to contribute significantly along the Seahawks’ defensive line may not be able to play for the start of the regular season.

The team was forced to place fifth-round pick Jesse Williams on injured reserve Monday because of a troublesome knee. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill is sidelined with a strained biceps and nose tackle Brandon Mebane injured his groin in practice on Monday.

Chris Clemons remains on the physically unable to perform list and his timetable to return from an ACL tear last January remains uncertain and Cliff Avril aggravated a hamstring strain last week and has yet to play this preseason.

With Clemons still out and Bruce Irvin suspended for the first four games of the regular season, Avril was expected to at least bridge the gap at defensive end until Clemons and Irvin returned.

Now Avril’s status is also in question.

“We don’t know if he is going to be ready for the opener. We just don’t know,” coach Pete Carroll said.

The injuries have left Seattle short-handed as the regular season is approaching and could also alter the makeup of the roster during final cuts.

In addition, the Seahawks are getting penalized at a staggering rate this preseason. Seattle has been flagged 34 times for 354 yards in three games and had 14 penalties for 184 yards in Friday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.

“It’s still a problem,” Carroll said. “We’re trying too hard and we’re getting in too late trying to throw guys into the ground when we finish blocks. We’re over trying.

“I love the attitude about it in a sense, but we have to get smarter and we can’t do anything but continue to emphasize the heck out of it. After a while if guys keep making mistakes then you have to put other guys in the game.”

Penalties were a problem for Seattle early last season as well.

The Seahawks had at least 13 penalties in two of their first three games last year.

The difference was those games were worked by replacement officials before the league and referees union agreed on a new contract.

Carroll believed some of their penalties last year were due to being unfamiliar with the referees working games and how the games were called. However, that can’t be used as an explanation this time around.

Carroll said they don’t want to give their opponents anything and it’s a problem they have to fix.

“We just have to get out of our own way. We’re playing hard, we’re running the football, getting after it, throwing, catching, and all of the things that we need to do. But there’s one area where we have to comply, and we’re a little out of compliance right now,” Carroll said.

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