By John Boyle
Lots to cover from Pete Carroll’s post-practice press conference, so let’s get right to it…
—TE Zach Miller, who is coming back from a foot injury that sidelined him early in training camp, was not expected to play in the preseason but he has made enough progress that Carroll said Miller will play some in Thursday’s game against Oakland.
—G James Carpenter, who returned to practice this week from a foot injury, will also see action in the game.
—Sidney Rice, however, will not play as the Seahawks continue to be cautious with the top receiver. Rice, who went to Switzerland early in camp for treatment on his knee, will be ready for the regular season opener, Carroll said.
—Carroll acknowledged that his team will be thin on the defensive line, especially the interior line spots. Among those who won’t play are defensive tackles Brandon Mebane (groin), Tony McDaniel (groin), Jordan Hill (bicep) and defensive end/interior pass rusher Michael Bennett, who was away from the team having something done on his toe. Carroll indicated that Bennett will be back with the team later in the week and should be fine for next week. Carroll said Clinton McDonald would be the starting nose tackle for this game. He was not clear on who will serve as the starting three-technique DT, though he said Jaye Howard would see time there. Don’t be surprised, however, if the lack of interior linemen means more nickel defense Thursday.
—Fullback Michael Robinson was back with the team after a nearly two-week absence due to an unspecified virus, but won’t play this week. Carroll said they now know what’s wrong with Robinson, though he wouldn’t get into details, and said there’s not timetable on his return to action. With Robinson out, Derrick Coleman will start at fullback and Spencer Ware will also see some time there. Phil Bates, a receiver who had been getting work at fullback in the past couple of weeks, will go back to receiver for the game with the team thin at that spot.
—Carroll said defensive end Chris Clemons is “Making fantastic progress” and that “we have a big decision to make there” next week. By that Carroll presumably means that a decision has not yet been made whether to open the season with Clemons on the 53-man roster or keep him on the physically unable to perform list, which would mean Clemons could not return until after Week 6.
—Defensive back DeShawn Shead will get the first crack at kick returns, and Carroll said receiver Bryan Walters will also get a look there. Walter Thurmond will handle most of the punt return duty.