Miller time?

  • By John Boyle Herald Writer
  • Friday, September 23, 2011 12:04am
  • Sports

RENTON — The Seahawks signed Zach Miller in large part because, in his first four seasons, he was one of the most prolific pass-catching tight ends in the NFL.

In his first two games in Seattle, however, Miller has been little more than a high-priced extra blocker.

Through little faul

t of his own, Miller, who caught 60 or more passes in each of the past two seasons, has just three catches for 32 yards this season. With a young line that has struggled mightily to protect quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, Miller has spent less time than either he or the Seahawks would like running routes, and more time acting as extra protection against opposing pass rushers.

“There’s been some of that, a little bit more,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Miller’s extra blocking duties. “We have done that, particularly in the first couple games. We’re just trying to get our feet on the ground and make sure we’re solid. We’ll continue to do that. That will always be part of it, but we’ve been more protection-conscious because of our newness, yeah.”

The hope, starting this week in Seattle’s home opener against Arizona, is that Miller and the rest of the team’s offensive weapons can get more involved. The line, while still far from polished, showed improvements in pass protection, and Arizona is less of a threat defensively than both San Francisco and Pittsburgh. So while it is unrealistic to expect the Seahawks offense to suddenly look great, players like Miller and Mike Williams, who between them have just eight catches, should see the ball thrown their way more often on Sunday.

“Zach is a really good football player and the ball just hasn’t got to him enough,” Carroll said. “Those are the guys that will make our offense come alive. When Mike is getting the ball, or Zach’s getting the ball, or Sidney (Rice) or Ben (Obomanu) are getting the football, we’re going to be different than we’ve been. It’s not a question of us knowing that, it’s a question of us getting more chances and we have to create first downs to do that, which is a combination of things to get that done.”

A good sign for Seattle is that the Cardinals have given up an average of 343 passing yards in their first two games. In their last meeting with the Cardinals, the Seahawks put up 380 passing yards in a victory. Williams, meanwhile enjoyed two of his best games against the Cardinals, compiling 22 catches and 232 yards in the two games, while Miller had 64 yards and a touchdown when the Raiders faced the Cardinals last year.

Miller, who signed a five-year, $34 million deal that includes $17 million in guaranteed money, has been targeted just six times so far this season. Certainly he’d like to be more involved in the passing game, but he also knows blocking is part of the tight end’s job, even if it’s the less glamorous part.

“I knew we’d have a little bit of protection issues, obviously, when we’re so young up front,” he said. “There were no OTAs for the rookies on the line, so any time you come into a situation like that as a tight end, you’ve got to expect you’re going to be in to block a little bit to help out, and that’s what’s happened.”

Miller said the situation was similar early in his career in Oakland when the Raiders were developing a new-look line, and in that situation, as well as this one, he’ll do whatever is needed for the time being knowing that the catches will come.

“It definitely will (improve),” he said. “I’ve had similar situations in the past, so it’s nothing new to me, so whatever I’m asked to do, I’m going to do it as well as I can.”

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog

Talk to us

More in Sports

Runners pass the Olympic rings as they compete during the first round of the women’s 5,000-meter at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Friday in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Markovc finishes 20th in Olympic women’s 5,000 meters

The Glacier Peak High School graduate placed ninth in her heat and did not advance to Monday’s final.

Jackson's Ryan Contreras is welcomed by teammate Dominic Hellman after Contreras' home run Friday afternoon at Funko Field at Memorial Stadium in Everett on April 23, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Prep notebook: Jackson baseball star picked for All-American game

Also, 2 local high school wrestlers place at the USA Wrestling nationals in Fargo, North Dakota.

Silvertips’ Michal Gut fights Tri-City's Sasha Mutala for the puck during the game against the Tr-City Americans on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Import forward Gut to return to Silvertips for 21-22 season

The 2002-born center was not with the team last season due to virus-related travel restrictions.

File photo
AquaSox can’t complete big comeback in loss to Emeralds

Everett falls behind by seven runs early and closes to within a run before losing to Eugene 10-9.

Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny waves to fans during NFL football practice Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
After injuries Penny’s goal is being available for Seahawks

In the last year of his rookie deal, the oft-injured RB showed up at camp slimmed down to 225 pounds.

Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert celebrates during the second half of a men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament semifinal game against UCLA, Saturday, April 3, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Edmonds native Kispert drafted by Wizards at No. 15 overall

Former Gonzaga star Corey Kispert was selected by the Washington Wizards in Thursday’s NBA draft.

Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert shoots during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Dixie State in Spokane, Wash., Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. Gonzaga won 112-67. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
The rise of Kispert: From Edmonds to All-American to the NBA

Edmonds native Corey Kispert is set to be a 1st-round NBA draft pick. Here’s the story of his ascent.

Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Diego Castillo delivers to the Boston Red Sox during the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Mariners acquire closer Diego Castillo from Rays

Seattle ships reliever JT Chargois and minor-leaguer Austin Shenton to Tampa for the 27-year-old.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox blow 3-run lead in 9th, fall to Emeralds

Jake Anchia homers twice, but Everett’s bullpen falters late in an 11-9 defeat.

Most Read