All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner may be back for Thursday's game vs. the 49ers

The Seahawks are holding out hope that Wagner could provide the boost the Seahawks need.

After back to back heart-breaking losses, the Seahawks clearly need a boost.

The club may get it this week with Pete Carroll expressing optimism that All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner may be able to return for Thursday's key divisional game against the San Francisco 49ers.

"I'm pretty hopeful for that, yeah," Pete Carroll said Monday when asked if Wagner could return this week. "We'll see if that works out. He's got to get through the days. There's not going to be a lot of heavy duty work, but the trainers are thinking he's got a chance to play for us."

Even though he was limited with a strained pectoral muscle against the Cincinnati Bengals two weeks ago, Wagner was a key factor, returning an interception for a touchdown. The injury kept Wagner out in Week Six against the Carolina Panthers, a game in which the Seahawks were again repeatedly burned down the seam by the opponents' tight end and surrendered three rushing touchdowns.

Wagner's instincts, speed and communication skills are critical to the Seahawks defense. Like most 4-3 clubs, Seattle counts on its middle linebacker (often referred to as the MIKE) to relay the defensive play calls to teammates.

Communication was an issue against Carolina, including on Carolina's final play from scrimmage - a game-winning touchdown from Cam Newton to tight end Greg Olsen - gave the Panthers their only lead of the ball game and sunk the Seahawks to a stunning 2-4 record.

While normal outside linebacker K.J. Wrightled the Seahawks with 12 tackles, his inexperience relaying the play call may have played a role in Seattle's inexplicable coverage breakdown on Olsen's game-winning touchdown.

When pressed on where the mistake occurred, Carroll explained how the play call is relayed to the defense without identifying any players by name.

"It comes in over the headset, the miked [MIKE] linebacker gets the call and he distributes the call, as well as we signal it to cover the guys that may not get the signal, if guys look to us," Carroll said. "We have a backup plan that we execute every snap as well."

The Seahawks travel to San Francisco, where the 49ers also possess a 2-4 record and are coming off a win over the Baltimore Ravens.



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