Seahawks hope for return of offense

Staff writerAugust 17, 2013 

Aug 8, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the first half against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

CHRISTOPHER HANEWINCKEL — Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

— Pete Carroll wants his offense to get on track, as the Seattle Seahawks prepare for the team’s home exhibition opener against Denver at CenturyLink Field on Saturday night.

Seattle’s first-unit offense, led by quarterback Russell Wilson, failed to cross midfield on two drives last week in a 31-10 win at San Diego.

But Carroll expects that to change against the Broncos, with the starters expected to play at least a quarter.

“We didn’t get off to a good start,” Carroll said about the San Diego game. “We had a couple of penalties and we just didn’t hit it right. It’s a very, very good defense (for the Broncos). They gave us a hard time last year, so we’ll see if we can get moving on them. We’d like to get them out there and get a little feel for staying on the field.”

Wilson’s performance during exhibition play last year as a rookie helped propel him to the starting job over Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson.

Wilson completed 63.5 percent of his passes (40-for-56) for 536 yards last exhibition season, averaging 8.5 yards per pass attempt. He threw for five touchdowns and one interception, rushed 10 times for 150 yards and a touchdown, and finished with a 110.3 passer rating.

Most important, Wilson put points on the board on 13 out of 21 drives during exhibition play, including eight touchdowns.

Those impressive numbers, coupled with Wilson’s spectacular play in the second half of 2012, has Seattle’s coaching staff focused on a return to executing more efficiently on offense.

Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell expects to see an improvement from his starters against the Broncos.

“I’d like to see us be consistent,” Bevell said. “I obviously want to see us

go down the field and score points, put points on the board. Obviously, I’d like it to be a touchdown. But I want to see us consistently move the ball.”

While Seattle looks to get going on offense, the top-rated scoring defense from last season will have its hands full trying to slow down Denver’s Peyton Manning-led, high-octane offense.

Carroll said he’s looking forward to seeing how his defense matches up with the Broncos’ fast-paced offense. Manning is expected to play at least a full quarter against the Seahawks.

“It’s a really good opportunity for us, because they do play up-tempo, and he’s as good as you can get,” Carroll said. “We hold that in high regards, and it’s a great opportunity for us to work on our no-huddle defense. So that’s how we’ll go about it, and we’ll see how that goes.”

TE MILLER ACTIVATED FROM PUP LIST

The Seahawks received some good news on the injury front Friday – starting tight end Zach Miller has been taken off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, and will begin practicing next week.

Miller had not practiced during training camp because of a foot issue, creating concern for Seattle’s depth at the position.

Carroll said that although Miller’s injury was on the same foot, it was not related to the torn plantar fascia he suffered during the NFC divisional playoff game at Atlanta.

Rookie Luke Willson will handle starting duties for a second consecutive game. Miller will not play against Denver.

“Next week, he will be much more involved,” Carroll said about Miller. “Again, we’ll continue to be very measured at how we bring him back in. But it’s great to have him back. And he’s ready to go.”

Carroll said it will take at least a month before the team can figure out a more defined timeline on when – or if – receiver Percy Harvin returns to the field this season after recent hip surgery.

“We don’t know that yet,” Carroll said. “We just know that the surgeon that did the work, the specialist was thrilled with the way he came back the days after the surgery. And his ability to get range of motion and things were way ahead of schedule.

“So that’s a great sign, from what they told us. … It’s going to take a good month before you can begin to figure out if he’s even going to have a chance to come roaring back out of it. But it looks like all the signs are very good. So we’ll see what that means. We’re not putting any weeks on it. We don’t know.”

And defensive end Chris Clemons, who’s rehabbing from anterior cruciate ligament surgery in January, remains on the PUP list.

“He’s still working hard,” Carroll said. “He’s doing good. He’s right in the middle of a rigorous rehab now. He’s on the field cutting and moving, and doing defensive line drills and all that kind of stuff. I don’t know what that means time-wise, but he’s doing well.

“And he’s managing his way through it. He’s not in any pain or discomfort. It’s just a matter of getting his confidence back, and getting him back to full speed before we take him back off the PUP and get him going.”

Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @eric_d_williams

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