The Seattle Seahawks will be without defensive end Quinton Jefferson (oblique) on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
Seattle may also be without veteran Ziggy Ansah, who is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. He was a limited participant in practice throughout the week.
Regardless of whether Ansah plays or not, the Seahawks are counting on rookie defensive end L.J. Collier, who has only appeared in four games this season, to be a big part of the game plan on Sunday.
Collier missed a big chunk of training camp and the entire preseason with an ankle injury, which has slowed his development and limited him to a rotational role on the defensive line.
Collier has only appeared in more than 20 percent of Seattle’s defensive snaps twice, and he’s recorded just one tackle all year.
“He’s just learning,” coach Pete Carroll offered on Friday. “He’s really a pup and we don’t have enough background with him yet to really feel like he’s at his best. But I think he’s getting closer and he’ll get to play quite a bit this week and we’ll see how he does.”
Collier will likely fill Jefferson’s role as a pass rushing end, rotating between Rasheem Green and Branden Jackson, with Jadeveon Clowney and Ansah – if he plays – occupying every down roles.
The former TCU product was lauded for his flexibility as an interior and exterior lineman coming out of college, along with his ability to get to the quarterback.
Now about to play in his fifth NFL game, this is a great opportunity for Collier to show some of that promise and potentially earn a bigger role on the defense for the rest of the season.