BY Art Thiel 07:51PM 11/12/2014

Thiel: More woes: Seahawks’ Miller done for year

Miller

TE Zach Miller’s ankle surgery didn’t work; he’s out for the season. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

While it wasn’t a big surprise, the news Wednesday that veteran TE Zach Miller is done for the season — the 12th Seahawk to be put on injured reserve, he will undergo a second surgery on his injured ankle — adds another twist of weirdness to the 2014 saga of the Seahawks offense.

Absent Miller, heralded as a premier blocker, as well as LG James Carpenter, and using 285-pound newcomer FB Will Tukuafu, who hadn’t played in the previous two months with the 49ers, the Seahawks nevertheless rushed Sunday against the New York Giants for a club-record 350 yards and five touchdowns — a feat done only six other times in the past 74 years.

They are the No. 1 rushing team in the NFL at 171 yards a game, a few weeks after being criticized for an inability to run the ball.

Meanwhile, QB Russell Wilson, NFC player of the week for throwing for 300 yards and running for 100 yards in a loss at St. Louis (110 passer rating), hasn’t had a passer rating above 77 since then — all victories.

Now, after beating three teams (Carolina, Oakland, NY Giants) that appear to be sinking fast, the Seahawks go to a hard place on the road, Arrowhead Stadium, to face a 6-3 Chiefs’ team that is the lone outfit that has yet to give up a rushing touchdown this season.

What’s an offensive coordinator to do? Run? Pass? Pooch punt? Get hit by pitch?

“It will be a good challenge for us,” said Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell, hiding behind bullet-proof coach-speak. “They’re really solid. They’re about top in every important category, whether it’s third-down, red-zone, rushing and passing.”

If they are as good as Bevell says, it seems less likely the Chiefs defense will be bedeviled by Seattle’s adroit use of the read option, as was New York. Much in the way of a traveler in a bed-bug-infested hotel, the Giants are still inspecting clothing and hair, looking for that creepy-crawly Wilson.

Coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that although the Seahawks always want to be run-first, he did not order up the avalanche.

“It’s just been available — that’s all,” he said. “We’re not trying to run him anymore. There’s no intent there to get him more carries. We’re just running the offense. Most of his stuff happens because it’s available and the read takes him there.

“He had big games off the true naked (bootlegs) a couple times (Washington and the Giants). As long as he continues to avoid getting hit, we’re fine. He’s done a very, very good job of that. We really trust him in that regard.”

The tight end and his various roles have always been integral to Carroll’s offenses. While a case can be made that Miller’s absence must have been covered in order to rush for 350 yards, Carroll made the point that Miller was good at everything, and now the Seahawks must play the newbie tight ends in ways specific to their talents.

“Zach was a very, very experienced player that did all kinds of things,” he said. “He played fullback, he could lead on plays, he could block on the edge, we could split him out and do things. He had such great background in our system and knowledge and really command of so many different things.

“We are mixing guys to get that done. But it’s not changing our emphasis of the running game. We’re emphasizing as much as we can and we’re trying to run the ball as much as we can.”

Now, he has two young tight ends, Luke Willson and Cooper Helfet, each of whom was banged up Sunday, plus two new hires, Tony Moeaki and RaShaun Allen, to do what Miller did mostly on his own.

“Willson and Helfet had a lot of ground to make up to catch up to Zach,” he said. “Both guys have improved with their play time. Luke has really done a very good job. He’s making really good progress. We’ve been able to run the ball with both guys. There was a little time in the first couple weeks where we struggled a little bit, but those guys started to add in.”

The damaged dozen

Going back to mini-camp, the Seahawks have used the injured reserve list a dozen times in 2014, mostly on backups but now three starters:

NT Brandon Mebane, TE Zach Miller, FB Derrick Coleman, DT Greg Scruggs, C/G Stephen Schilling, LB Heath Farwell, TE Anthony McCoy, DE Cassius Marsh, DT Jesse Williams, LB Mike Taylor, OT D’Anthony Smith, WR David Gilreath.

Notes

Miller had surgery after the week 3 win over Denver, and was estimated to be out four to six weeks but “it never really responded the way that they had hoped,” Carroll said. He’s under contract through 2015 . . . To fill Miller’s spot on the 53-man roster, the Seahawks brought back a familiar face — LB Allen Bradford, who was on Cleveland’s practice squad and got the call while he was at a Toys R Us store with his two kids. He arrived in about 16 hours. Bradford was a running back at USC under Carroll . . . Heard the report that the Seahawks tried to talk retired WR Randy Moss into returning after the Percy Harvin trade? “Glad you asked — that never happened,” Carroll said. But he did joke that he might have received a call from Terrell Owens, who had a tryout with the Seahawks a couple of years ago . . . The injury report Wednesday had six players not practicing: LG James Carpenter (ankle), TE Luke Willson (ankle), CB Marcus Burley (hamstring), RB Marshawn Lynch (calf), LB Brock Coyle (gluteus strain), Michael Bennett (not injury related). Listed as questionable were TE Cooper Helfet (knee), LB Malcolm Smith (groin), CB Jeremy Lane (groin) . . . After missing two games, SS Kam Chancellor was a full go.


YourThoughts

  • 1coolguy

    Art – As I wipe away the tears of laughter, another great line: “Much in the way of a traveler in a bed-bug-infested hotel, the Giants are still inspecting clothing and hair, looking for that creepy-crawly Wilson.” Well done.
    As to Miller, this literally, with Mebane, may be the reason the Hawks do not make the SB this year. These 2 guys are huge talents and you describe Miller’s well.
    Regarding Wilson, he is unfortunately gaining many yards on the ground due to not having a dependable pocket to throw from. I sure hope with the Oline getting healthy we are able to protect him so the passing game picks up and he is able to run less. With his running, it’s a matter of when, not if, he is injured. Then it really is over. No running QB (other than Tarkenton) has ever been regarded with the best QB’s of all time and Wilson isn’t about to be the second.

    • Effzee

      Unless he wins multiple Super Bowls that way.

    • art thiel

      Hard to overestimate the losses of those two, since full replacement is not possible. Seahawks have to devise workaorunds, just as they have to with RT Britt’s poor pass blocking.

  • 1coolguy

    Anyone know Wagner’s status?

    • art thiel

      Not ready this week. Still rehabbing his toe. Maybe next week.

  • notaboomer

    injuries are bad, but more importantly, the seahawks are watering down their overpriced beer:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vKFBmEIl2A&feature=youtu.be

  • jafabian

    Can’t help but wonder if this is the last we’ll see of Zach as a Hawk. Wish the Hawks could have gotten John Carlson in the off season. As it stands a TE will be a priority in next years draft.

    It’s interesting as Wilson’s rating goes down, the wins are coming. He still will engineer at least one drive that only he can do, such as before the half vs. the Giants or the last one vs. the Panthers. Stats don’t reflect that.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    Both Mebane and Miller are tough losses … but Wilson himself would tell you Championship clubs find a way to overcome the odds. That starts on the frozen field at Arrowhead.This couldnt be a bigger game for these guys who now have their number called to pull thru for the team. Jordan Hill was quoted today as preferring nose tackle…said he mostly played that position at Penn State and he is ready for the task.
    Offensively~Of course the TE lining up to fill in for Miller cant be that talent but 350 yards rushing without him? Find a way,boys. Find a way. We need this win over the Chiefs with this 8~1 head start the Red Birds have gotten. SF is tough and Philly is playing lights out.
    Their best effort is all you can ask to get through this brutal stretch. Just hope the football gods have had their fill of marching guys to season ending IR… enough is enough. Go Hawks.

  • Gerald Turner

    What about the polar shift? Nobody takes Sothern California what is the frequency Zen coach seriously. Don’t you see? The polarity has been reversed!
    Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;
    It is the center hole that makes it useful.
    Shape clay into a vessel;
    It is the space within that makes it useful.
    Cut doors and windows for a room;
    It is the holes which make it useful.
    Therefore benefit comes from what is there;
    Usefulness from what is not there. Tao
    The polar vortex has been unleashed. Our blue wizard beats the red arrows, written in the stars.

  • cwu91

    Wonder if we’ll see more of that formation with Michael and Lynch in the backfield? That had…..possibilities