RENTON — Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll received some good news heading into Thursday night’s exhibition game against Oakland at CenturyLink Field.
Two key players on offense – tight end Zach Miller and offensive lineman James Carpenter – returned to action.
Carroll indicated earlier this week that Miller likely would sit out the entire exhibition season to make sure his sore foot was healthy and he was ready to play against Carolina in the season opener on Sept. 8.
The Seahawks recently activated Miller from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, and he has looked good in practice. Further, the Arizona State product wants to play against his former team, the Raiders.
Miller will get his wish, thanks to Carroll’s change of heart.
“He just looked so good,” Carroll said. “He’s ready. And there’s no reason not to. He’s full go.”
Along with Miller, Carpenter will play for the first time, after nursing a foot injury most of training camp. If healthy, Carpenter could take over at left guard, allowing versatile Paul McQuistan to compete for playing time at right guard with second-year pro J.R. Sweezy.
“We’re looking forward to him playing,” Carroll said about Carpenter. “It’s necessary for him to get out there and play again. He’s really making some progress. He missed a couple weeks here, so it will be great to have him out.”
The news after Wednesday’s walk-through practice inside Seattle’s indoor facility was not as sunny for the defense.
Defensive end Cliff Avril (hamstring) will not play against the Raiders, Carroll said. However, Carroll is hopeful that Avril, who has not played this exhibition season, can go against Carolina.
“He’s recovering,” Carroll said about Avril. “As of this morning he’s feeling better, and we’re hoping that he’ll be able to go next week. We don’t know until we get there, though.”
The Seahawks need Avril next week because the team will be without sacks leader Chris Clemons, who remains on the PUP list rehabbing from January knee surgery.
Carroll indicated that Clemons is close to returning, and the team will have a tough decision to make on whether to leave the University of Georgia product on the PUP list once the season begins – meaning he would have to miss the first six games – or place him on the active roster.
“He hasn’t worked against anybody or practiced or any of that kind of stuff, so we have a big decision to make there and we will figure that one out,” Carroll said.
Defensive tackle Michael Bennett also will miss the Oakland game to have a medical procedure performed on an injured toe. He should be ready to go next week for the opener.
Defensive lineman Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel will not play because of groin injuries. Clinton McDonald will start for Mebane, but Carroll was not clear who would start at 3-tech defensive tackle for McDaniel.
Carroll said whether Mebane and McDaniel are available for the Carolina game will depend on how they respond to treatment and practice next week.
Meanwhile, rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill is responding well to treatment for a strained biceps and could be back sooner than expected, Carroll said.
“We thought originally it was going to be something that might really cost him,” Carroll said. “But we’ll find out where he is next week and take it from there. We don’t know yet, but he is responding well. He’s feeling good. He doesn’t have any pain or discomfort, so there’s a chance he may get back here sooner than we thought originally.”
Carroll said fullback Michael Robinson, out for more than a week because of a virus, will not play against Oakland. He also could be scratched for the season opener.
“He’s dealing with some intricacies about the illness he has,” Carroll said. “It’s going to take us a little time before we get him back out here. Hopefully he may be ready in a couple (of) weeks.”
With Robinson out, Derrick Coleman will be the first man up at fullback, followed by rookie Spencer Ware. Phil Bates, who recently moved to fullback, will work mostly at receiver on Thursday, Carroll said.
Sidney Rice (knee) will not play against Oakland but is expected to be ready for the Carolina game unless he suffers a setback in practice next week.blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks