K.J. Wright hasn’t played since Dec. 8 after breaking a bone in his foot, but the Seattle Seahawks linebacker could be back in action for the NFC Championship Game.
The last time Wright took the field was against the San Francisco 49ers. On Sunday at CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks will once again face their divisional rivals. This time, a trip to the Super Bowl is on the line.
Before his injury, Wright was one of the best defenders on Seattle's exceptional unit, registering 80 tackles. Head coach Pete Carroll recently stated that the third-year pro "has a chance" to return after missing five games.
Wright's presence could be vital for the Seahawks defense considering the tight end they will be facing. Vernon Davis, perhaps the best tight end in the NFL, caught 52 passes for 850 yards and 13 touchdowns in the 2013 regular season. The 29-year-old caught a touchdown pass in both of the 49ers playoff wins.
If Davis has a big game, San Francisco's offense could be very difficult to contain. The Niners have the No.3 rushing attack in the league, while Colin Kaepernick has proven to be an effective big-play quarterback in consecutive playoff victories. Davis had just one reception (a one-yard touchdown) against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, but figures to be more of a target on Sunday.
With or without Wright, though, the Seahawks are more than capable of containing the tight end. No team was better against the pass than the Seahawks this season. They surrendered just 172 passing yards per game. The Seahawks were just as good in their two matchups against San Francisco. In two games, Kaepernick totaled 302 yards through the air.
Covered by Wright in their first meeting, Davis was neutralized, catching three passes for just 20 yards. When the linebacker went down in the Seahawks next matchup with the No.5 seed, Davis was held to only 21 receiving yards in a San Francisco victory.
Wright is very good in pass coverage, but so is the rest of the Seattle defense. Linebacker Malcolm Smith has filled in more than admirably for his teammate, even recording interceptions in Weeks 16 and 17. If Davis makes his way into the secondary, he’ll have to deal with perhaps the best group of safeties and cornerbacks in the NFL.
Davis isn’t an easy matchup for any defense. However, the Seahawks have made a habit of making almost every receiver they face appear less than ordinary.