Garry Gilliam has played just two snaps on offense through the Seahawks' first three games. That may now increase exponentially, beginning Monday night at Washington, as the Seahawks rookie implied with this tweet Monday:
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Coach Pete Carroll said yesterday the rookie tackle and former tight end for his first three seasons at Penn State is a viable option to help replace starting tight end Zach Miller over the next few games. That's how long Seattle expects Miller to be out following surgery last week to repair what Carroll described as bone spurs and "loose bodies" in his valuable tight end's ankle.
Asked if the 6-foot-5, 306-pound Gilliam could be third behind Luke Willson and Cooper Helfet in replacing Miller for at least the game at Washington and the Oct. 12 home game against Dallas, Carroll said Gilliam's already worked some at tight end in Seahawks' practices.
"He could. He has it in his background," Carroll said following Monday's indoor practice. "He played at Penn State for a number of years and hes already worked there so he’s eligible for that, too."
Gilliam has the aptitude to pick up multiple positions at once. Not only has he done in at Penn State, he also carried a 3.7 grade-point average into his final season there and was a member of the Big Ten's 2012 All-Academic team.
As I wrote in today's News Tribune, Carroll says the Seahawks are content with what they have in-house with Willson, Helfet, Gilliam and backup tackle Alvin Bailey and thus for now will not be signing any free-agent tight end. Carroll said the team worked out many potential fill-ins for Miller during last week's bye immediately following Miller's "clean-up" surgery, to use the coach's term.
The Seahawks have used Bailey as a third tackle lined up as a tight end on some short-yardage plays this season.
--As noted here on Sunday Richard Sherman was on the NFL Network's GameDay Morning pregame show Sunday. Among some of the nuggets he dropped on the studio team, the Seahawks' All-Pro cornerback got some in Denver riled up (again) over his answer to a provoking question on whether he thought the Broncos had "closed the gap" between them and Seattle since the Super Bowl because of their overtime loss at CenturyLink Field two weeks ago.
"I hope we see them again. I wouldn’t mind that," Sherman said. " I don’t know about ‘closing gaps’ and all that. They played a good ballgame. We should have been able to pull away. We should have been able to make the plays to put the game away. It shouldn’t have been that close.”
Sherman also commented to the NFL Network Sunday on the dynamic in the Seahawks' locker room that I described in yesterday's News Tribune, within the story of the team taking care of injured and likely retiring linebacker and special-teams ace Heath Farwell.
“We do things differently. We have a close-knit group," Sherman said. "In the NFL, it’s such a business they say you can’t have a family-like atmosphere in the locker room. We try to have that. We really care about our teammates.”
--As the ESPN crew pumped next Monday's Seahawks-at-Redskins matchup on its network, I didn't hear it mention Seattle is 10-1 in prime-time games under Carroll.
--Another fun day at 49ers Land yesterday.
What's next for the Santa Clarans, being accused of aiding ISIS?
--As my friend Steve Corkran writes here in today's Mercury News, the Raiders fired coach Dennis Allen last night to almost no one's surprise. My former Raiders beat colleagues had a long night writing that story that broke after 10 p.m. Pacific time.
Some folks thought they way it was done was shady, including NFL's Ian Rapoport with this tweet:
The #Raiders fired Dennis Allen tonight over the phone. Really.
But this was nothing by Bay Area coaching-dismissal standards. In 1997, former 49ers offensive coordinator Marc Trestman -- now the Bears' head coach -- found out he was fired only by watching television. San Francisco owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. infamously blurted out "he's gone" during a press conference being televised live to announce coach George Seifert was leaving that team.
--The Seahawks are back on the practice field in Renton today. Tuesday is usually a day off in a game week, but with the Seahawks playing on Monday everything is getting pushed back a day. The players' day off this week is Wednesday.
--Here is the transcript of all that Carroll had to say following practice yesterday:Head Coach Pete Carroll
September 29, 2014
(On Zach Miller’s status and if he had something done last week) He did. Yeah, he had his ankle cleaned up. There’s a lot of speculation on how long it’s going to take. We just have to wait and see. We don’t know yet. We will be going week-to-week. Give him a couple weeks then we will go week-to-week and see how he does.
(On that Zach Miller’s recovery is definitely not a long-term, out for the whole season, type of thing) Right, right.
(On if it’s something that just crept up on him this season) It’s been bothering him for a number of weeks. He’s been playing with it and we just don’t want him to have to tolerate it any longer. We want to see if we can fix him up and hopefully he’ll have a speedy recovery. It’s just a clean-up kind of thing. But he had some loose bodies in his ankle that were bothering him and it was very, very uncomfortable.
(On if he can get by with Cooper Helfet and Luke Willson or if he has to add any) We’re working that out. We will see as the week goes on.
(On what he misses most with Miller out, being that most tight ends are just pass catchers but he does a lot more) Zach does a ton of things. He was with Tom [Cable] all those years back in Oakland. The background that they built really helped us a lot in so many different areas – all the little things that he knows how to do, the finesse kind of situation, the motioning, being in the backfield, playing as a fullback as well as a normal tight end and also we’ve moved him everywhere, he’s been outside. So he’s a very versatile player, extremely on it and a great tough competitor so we miss a lot with Zach.
(On Luke Willson’s progress as a blocker) Luke’s done a really good job. He’s going to obviously play a ton now. It’s really a great opportunity for him to step up. He’s improved in every area. He’s one of those young guys that has really just gotten a ton better since he’s been with us. He’s stronger and he’s faster than he was a year ago because of the offseason so in every way he’s improved. This is a lot to ask of him though. It’s the first time he’ll have this kind of duty but it’s his turn to step up.
(On if it helps that he has has a couple of tackles that have also played as that sixth lineman/tight end) Yes. The answer is yes.
(On Cooper Helfet and if he is back fully) Yeah, Cooper is ready to go. He’s back in and it’s been a couple weeks back with us so he’s in good shape to play. He’ll be integrally involved. He’ll be all over it.
(On from what he saw today if he is happy with the amount of rest and relaxation the players got) Yeah, we came back flying. We wanted to maximize the chance to get our guys as fresh as possible for this big push here through the season so we did bye, at this point, really successfully. We will find out if the result was good when we go out and play on Monday night.
(On if it’s a safe assumption that Zach Miller had surgery last week because of the bye week) Right, that was part of the decision.
(On what was the option of him not having the surgery) Just trying to play through it. We thought that it was going to mount on him in time and it was going to get any better. He needed to get fixed up.
(On if it was bone spurs) Yeah, we could call them spurs.
(On how Kam Chancellor came back from a week of rest) He looked great today. It was an issue a couple of weeks ago. It mounted up in San Diego. He made it back and did a really good job last week, played great football. He looked fine today so we might have put that one behind us.
(On how Tharold Simon is doing) He’s doing great. He’s only a couple weeks away from getting back out here. So we’re really excited about that. His workouts have gone great so we should expect him to at least come back to competing here in a couple weeks.
(On Paul Richardson’s progress) Paul just continues to develop. He’s got really good solid guys playing ahead of him, is really the problem that he has and everybody is dying to get in there and fighting for their play time. He’s done extremely well with everything we’re asking him to do. He’s a really, really good route runner. He finally got his first catch and all. But we’re anxious to get him to continue to be involved. It’s just a very competitive position group right now.
(On what he still needs to improve on) Just get more comfortable. Utilize all the awareness that come from time, running your routes exactly right, your precision and all that stuff but there’s nothing that he can’t do so we just need to get him on the field.
(On how he hasn’t used the two tight ends as much because he is using Percy Harvin a lot at receiver and if Zach Miller’s absence changes anything about the way he is going to deploy wide receivers and tight ends) No, not necessarily. We will see in time how we do but we’re going to continue to do the things we have been doing.
(On if Garry Gilliam can go back to being a tight end in a pinch) He could. He has it in his background. He played at Penn State for a number of years and he’s already worked there so he’s eligible for that too.
(On is there difficulty scheduling time off early in the year) No, that really has nothing to do with it. No matter when we get the bye, we always want to maximize the rest time and try to get as much out of that as possible. There’s nothing we can do about when it comes, but now that it’s here and we got back and we’re pretty healthy coming back off it and guys feel great and they’re ready to go to work. The schedule isn’t any different than it would’ve been; exactly like we did last year.
(On Jon Ryan doing anything differently this year after having several deep punts) No, he had a really good off-season; great shape. I’ve asked him about the routine and all; he kept it basically the same. I think his confidence is in a great spot and the work has just fit really well; the timing of it and all. So it’s all working just right for him. We got a long haul ahead of him but still he’s off to a great start.
(On does Ricardo Lockette’s speed make it easier for Jon Ryan to just boot it deep and not worry about out-kicking the coverage) Well, Ricardo’s speed is really showing up and it really is a factor. At times [in coverage], you get worried about out-kicking the coverage. We haven’t been able to do that with Ricardo when he gets off the ball so that’s a very big positive in the punt game. So hopefully that will continue to show up. Other guys do really well too at the gunner spots, but he seems to be unique. So we’ll lodge on and kick away as long as we’re covering them. If we have to adjust that, Jon’s really good at doing that too.
(On Marshawn Lynch) I recognized when he got here from the off-season that he was in fantastic shape. He looked just quicker than ever to me and hasn’t really had a day when he wasn’t really on it. So his consistency has been there, which is really a tribute to his workouts that he did and carried out. If anything, he’s reported in great shape, he’s very lean; his body weight is not changing much so he’s positioned well there. His work ethic has been great, he’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do and he’s run a ton so far so we have no reason to think anything else that we would do any different but he’s off to a great start.
(On reminding Russell Wilson to protect himself while scrambling) I remind him now and then; yes. He’s really good at it; he understands and he’s protecting the team in that. Every now and then he got loose up the middle and had a lot of bodies around him a couple times and fortunately he got down. He gets it; the competitor in him needs to be reminded every once and a while but I usually get a really good response. He knows and acknowledges that he’s going to try and get out of harm’s way every chance he gets.
(On Christine Michael being back) Yes, he’s ready to go. He has been for a week now. It’s good to get him back more than just for some time. We got to get accustomed to him being out here and getting him the reps. It’s hard to get on the roster right now for guys, we’re in pretty good health; we’re fortunate for that but he’s really ready to get going and wants to play badly as you can imagine. So we’ll see what happens.
(On Garry Gilliam expressing enthusiasm about playing tight end) No, he’s pretty quiet. He hasn’t really came up and banged on my door about that, but he’s more than willing. He knows; we’ve talked about it for a long time ever since we first got him in here; that this could be a possibility and so he’s ready if we call on him.
(On the in-house options being better than searching outside the team) Yes, we’ve looked hard; we’ve had a lot of guys in here. We’ve worked out a lot of people; we would like to stay with our people; all of the banking on the communication and on the system working for us; we’re going to get it fixed right here.
(On Cassius Marsh as a tight end option) Oh yeah, he has banged on my door a couple times. He’s not as quiet as Garry [Gilliam]; might be the West Coast/ East Coast thing, I don’t know.