Head Coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks smiles on the sidelines with a 24-10 lead against the San Diego Chargers during the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on August 8, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - While Pete Carroll chooses to remain non-committal to who will and won't play Saturday night against the Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks head coach did relay one important piece of news Friday afternoon.
TE Zach Miller has passed his physical and is no longer on the physically unable to perform list. He is expected to return to practice when the team reconvenes next week.
"Next week he’ll be much more involved," Carroll said. "We’ll continue to be very measured in how we bring him back in, but it’s great to have him back and he’s ready to go."
Miller will bring a measure of stability to perhaps the most questionable position on the roster.
Carroll said he wasn't willing to rule out RB Christine Michael, DE Cliff Avril and DT Tony McDaniel but needed to see how they look on Saturday before knowing for sure if they will be able to play or not.
Carroll indicated that DT Jesse Williams will play despite being limited at times this week due to a sore knee. Carroll was unsure if DT Jaye Howard would be able to make it for the game or not.
The defensive tackle position alongside DT Brandon Mebane remains one of the few positions with widespread uncertainty at this stage of the preseason. The coaching staff needs to see more from McDaniel, Howard, Williams and DT Jordan Hill over the next three games to sort out who will start, backup and ultimately make the final roster.
--Percy Harvin Update
It's been two weeks since WR Percy Harvin underwent surgery to repair a damaged labrum in his hip. He's already returned to Seattle and Carroll says Harvin is already progressing ahead of schedule.
"We just know that the surgeon who did the work, the specialist, was thrilled with the way that he came back during the days right after the surgery. He was pleased with his ability to get range of motion because that was way ahead of schedule. So that’s a great sign that they transferred to us. So we’re hopeful," Carroll said.
Even so, Carroll said they still aren't able to put a timetable on Harvin's return until his recovery has been able to progress further.
"It’s going to take a good month before we will be able to figure out if he is even going to have a chance to come roaring back out of it. But the signs are very good. We don't know what that means. We're not putting any weeks on it. We don't know," Carroll said.
--Phil Bates to see time at fullback
The Seahawks made an interesting move by putting WR Phil Bates in the backfield during practice on Thursday. Bates saw time at fullback and Carroll said he would see time there during the game Saturday night.
"(Bates) is 230 pounds when we started this experiment, and he’ll be 240 in another week. He’s just a really good all-around football player. We love that he is really fast and he is a terrific catcher so if it does work out then we might be able to develop a player," Carroll said.
Carroll emphasized that the move isn't because he hasn't been successful as a receiver, they just thought they could find some value in Bates being in the backfield.
Carroll said WR Golden Tate would be first up to handle the punt return duties while WR Jermaine Kearse would get the first chances with kickoff returns.
Carroll said DE Chris Clemons continues to progress from his torn ACL and is not experiencing pain in his knee while running and cutting on the practice field. Carroll wouldn't commit to a timeline for his return but said they want to build up Clemons' confidence before activating him from PUP.
"He’s doing well. He’s right in the middle of the real rigorous rehab. He’s on the field cutting and moving and doing defensive line drills," Carroll said. "...He’s not in any pain or discomfort so it’s just a matter of getting his confidence back and getting him back to full speed before we take him off of the PUP."