R This is probably why they give Oscars to actors in supporting roles.
After Seahawks games, like the absurdly easy romp over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday, so many column inches and hours of video highlights are devoted to players such as Marshawn Lynch, Percy Harvin, Russell Wilson and the Legion of Boomers.
All well deserving, no doubt.
But the Seahawks had some particularly interesting complementary contributors worthy of revisiting. Some guys who weren’t even assured of being on this team not only played well against the Packers, but exceptionally well.
Maybe even at a Pro Bowl level.
Remember when veteran tight end Zach Miller restructured his high-end contract to stay on the team? And when guard James Carpenter was told the team would not pick up the option for the fifth year of his rookie contract — making this a make-or-break season?
Fullback Derrick Coleman was a nice story and strong special teams guy, but he was no lock to make the team, nor was Ricardo Lockette, who seemed vulnerable to getting caught up in the number of talented receivers vying for spots.
The Seahawks have never had a Pro Bowl tight end. But Miller had a Pro Bowl-caliber effort against the Packers. He had three catches for 42 yards, including a diving, fingertip grab for 24 yards.
As has been the case since he’s been here, his value went beyond his catches. On one play, he alertly broke up a pass of what would have been a costly interception of a tipped ball.
A number of other times he threw key blocks, including one in the open field on a sweep by Harvin.
Miller has always been productive, just expensive. But without debate, Carpenter had been a disappointment. He was installed at right tackle, but after two knee surgeries over the years, he ended up splitting time at left guard last season.
By passing on the fifth-season option, the Seahawks were saying, “Hey big guy, we used a first-round draft pick on you. You gotta show us something.”
Well, he certainly did Thursday night.
“He really did well,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said at his press conference Friday. “He’s been very aggressive and very confident, and come through really well. He had some big blocks for us. We scored on his side a couple times. He’s at the top of his game at this time. We’re thrilled he’s coming through like he is.”
The story of the offseason was how much weight Carpenter had lost, and how much energy and intensity he was bringing to the game. At times during Thursday’s game, he was creating huge holes in the defensive line, and then practically sprinting off the field when the series was over.
It was so impressive, Carpenter looked like one of the best offensive linemen on the field.
Coleman earned some stripes on special teams last season, but had only two rushes for three yards.
As the first hearing-impaired offensive player in league history, just making the team seemed an accomplishment.
But against the Packers, Coleman threw a couple lead blocks for Lynch that looked like those that former Pro Bowl fullback Mike Robinson used to throw for Lynch.
He also pulled in a nifty pass for a 15-yard touchdown.
Carroll said there were times when watching the game video with the team that he pointed out execptional blocks by Coleman and Miller.
The speedy Lockette became such a force as a cover man on special teams last season that his value to the club was widely understood. But he only had eight catches in two seasons with the team.
With Harvin back to health and two drafted rookies added to holdovers such as Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, the receivers corps seemed so crowded that Lockette was less than a certainty.
Thursday, he was not only effective in coverage, but also pulled in two passes for 38 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown on a tricky play-action pass from Wilson.
When Carroll opened his comments Friday, he said he was most impressed with how well the team played “across the board,” in all phases of the game.
And that included so many beyond the headliners that this week it seemed worth doing an extra follow-up column to get to them.