Might be hard to believe -- or it might seem to you like it will never get here -- but there are just two weeks and two days until the Seahawks and Packers get the NFL's real season started at CenturyLink Field.
That's what makes the return to health of Seattle's linebacking unit timely. The Seahawks' deepest position had been thin all summer, but Monday Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith returned to the practice field for the first time since ankle surgery in May. Bobby Wagner and Bruce Irvin may be back next week. And as I wrote in today's News Tribune, all the injuries have created two revelations: Brock Coyle and Mike Morgan.
Coyle's emergence from undrafted rookie to proven leader and signal caller of an NFL-champion defense may cost 10-year veteran Heath Farwell a job. Expect Farwell to get ample opportunity in these final two exhibition games, including Friday at home against Chicago, in what could prove to be something of a last stand at backup middle linebacker and on special teams.
--Also in today's TNT, columnist Dave Boling gives credit where sometimes credit skips: do-it-all, say-little tight end Zach Miller.
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As an aside, my guess is teammates playfully got on Miller and good for not being able to lumber into the end zone on that wide-open, long pass down the middle from Russell Wilson in the first half last week against San Diego. I mean, there was no one from him to the Canadian boarder when Miller caught that pass at about the 20(!)
--The Seahawks' two games this season with the NFC West-rival Arizona Cardinals changed yesterday when Cardinals' premier defensive lineman Darnell Dockett tore his antierior cruciate ligament in his knee. He is done for the year.
Say what you wish about Dockett's mouth. His play is among the best the Seahawks have to block each season. The game plan of every offense that will face Arizona this season just changed.
--The Seahawks are back at practice starting just after 10 a.m. Pacific time in Renton. I will be there, watching to see how much more Malcolm Smith does in day two of his return, to see if O'Brien Schofield and Bryan Walters return from their Mondays of what coach Pete Carroll said was rest.