Seahawks’ vaunted secondary possibly down 2 vs. Falcons

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Seattle Seahawks cornerback Justin Coleman holds Washington Redskins receiver Ryan Grant to 5 yards, well short of the first down, in the third quarter on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash. (Dean Rutz/Seattle Times/TNS)

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Bobby Wagner knows he won’t have Richard Sherman chirping in his ear from the Seattle Seahawks secondary the rest of the season.

Wagner may not have Kam Chancellor to rely on as protection for at least this week either.

“I’ve never played a game without Richard, he’s definitely going to be missed, but to have both of those guys missing in action is not something that we have ever had to deal with,” Wagner said Thursday. “I think it’s something that we’re prepared for if we can hold it down until at least one of them gets back. The other one might take a while.”

Seattle’s standout secondary could possibly be without another of its founding members Monday night when the Seahawks host the Atlanta Falcons. Sherman is done for the season following an Achilles tendon injury for which he underwent surgery this week. Seattle is being coy about the status of Chancellor, who suffered a stinger late in the victory over Arizona on Nov. 9. While Chancellor has not been ruled out of the Atlanta game, he was still undergoing tests Thursday.

“He’s still getting some work done, tests done,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Don’t have anything updated yet.”

The one bright spot for Seattle is optimism that safety Earl Thomas will return this week after missing the past two games with a hamstring injury. Thomas’ return would be key for the continuity of the secondary. Much of what Seattle does in its coverages is predicated on Thomas being at free safety and his ability to cover so much ground.

If Chancellor can’t go, the drop off may not be as severe as in the past. Bradley McDougald, who started the past two games at free safety with Thomas out, would slide over to strong safety if Chancellor is unavailable. The Seahawks have raved about McDougald’s versatility since he was signed in the offseason as a free agent.

“He has been a fantastic addition and ... a little bit of an unsung hero at this time for this season, that he has been able to be so versatile and be so successful at what he is doing,” Carroll said.

McDougald has split time between both safety positions in his career, but said Thursday he likes strong safety in Seattle’s system because of the ability to play closer to the line of scrimmage.

“I like being down in the box a little bit more at the strong safety position,” McDougald said. “I think there’s a lot more action than sitting in the middle of the field and being a blanket over the defense. You get to be in the run fits, play more man-to-man, just be a lot more in the mix.”

Seattle is also uncertain whether run-stuffing defensive tackle Jarran Reed will be able to play after he suffered a hamstring injury against the Cardinals.

The injuries aren’t limited to the defensive side. The Seahawks are unsure if left tackle Duane Brown will be able to play following an ankle injury against Arizona. Brown said Thursday that the ankle is getting better but offensive line coach Tom Cable said the team is preparing for Matt Tobin to start at left tackle should Brown be unable to go.

“It’s progressing every day so far. That’s the main thing,” Brown said.

NOTES: Carroll did not provide an update on discussions with the NFL regarding its review of whether Seattle followed concussion protocols with QB Russell Wilson in the win over Arizona. “The medical staff and the training staff is working on that stuff and as we progress we will let you know when we can. We don’t have any other information for you,” he said. ... RB Eddie Lacy (groin) returned to practice. ... G Luke Joeckel is close to returning after minor knee surgery last month, but it’s unlikely he’ll be back this week.

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