RENTON, Wash. -- 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.”
"I'm not real pleased with the results of that. I know a good deal of it is my fault because of the way of that I am calling on them on how hard to play. I want them to emphasize finishing and being physical, and attitude and all of that. And I need to make some good decisions myself in directing this," he added.
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.
Notes: WR Sidney Rice (knee), FB Michael Robinson (illness) and DT Jordan Hill (biceps) sat out practice on Monday. ... G James Carpenter returned to practice for the first time in a couple of weeks since injuring his foot. ... Carroll said DE Chris Clemons is progressing and isn't favoring his injured knee during workouts. He said they are still unsure how far away he is from being able to play, but that he's making "great progress." ... S Jeron Johnson missed practice Monday to attend to a family issue. He was expected back with the team Monday night.