The news on the injury front concerning the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive line was not good, as head coach Pete Carroll talked to reporters after practice today.
Carroll said the team’s projected starter at “Leo” defensive end, Cliff Avril, re-aggravated a hamstring injury that kept him out of last week’s game at Green Bay.
“That was a whole week ago,” Carroll said. “That was way back when. It seems like old news to me. But that’s why he didn’t practice much last week.”
Carroll said he doesn’t know if Avril will be ready for the team’s season opener at Carolina.
The Seahawks also suffered another setback up front during practice, with defensive tackle Brandon Mebane suffering a groin injury midway through the team’s two-hour workout. Mebane watched the rest of practice from the sideline.
“He had a little groin thing today,” Carroll said. “We’ll see what that means.”
Carroll said the team decided to place rookie defensive tackle Jesse Williams on the season-ending injured list because he could not work through a lingering knee issue.
“It’s going to take him a long time, so (we wanted) to give him the consideration to get it right,” Carroll said. “This is the right thing we can do for Jesse. And he did everything we asked of him, and looked good when he had his chances. But his knee wasn’t holding up, so we had to give him a big break.”
Carroll went on to say that Williams looked really hobbled in the Denver game two weeks ago.
With Williams on the injured reserve, and Jordan Hill out with a strained bicep, it would appear Tony McDaniel has earned the starting defensive tackle job by default. But Carroll would not name McDaniel the starter yet.
“Tony had a nice game,” Carroll said. “He did well. He was active, and was aggressive. He knocked a ball down, got some movement in his pass rush. We were happy with the way he played, so we’re going to need to put another week together.
“I’ve been telling you for a long time that it’s going to be the whole preseason to figure it out. I would love to see him come back and have another big game.”
Carroll said that defensive end Chris Clemons will remain on the physically unable to perform (PUP list, and will not practice this week. The Seahawks still have a tough decision to make on whether to put Clemons on the active roster for Week 1 of the regular season, or keep him on the PUP list at the beginning of the season.
And that decision has been made even tougher with Avril’s lingering hamstring issues.
“His workout, the one I watched on film I think was yesterday, was a terrific workout,” Carroll said about Clemons. “He was out here for 40-something minutes straight working. He’s taking all of that, and he’s going to continue to take the next step to start pushing on people and all of that.
“He’s making great progress. I don’t know how close he is weeks-wise or games-wise, or any of that. But when I talked to him today, he feels really good. And he’s excited that he’s getting closer to it.”
Competition is on at RB
Carroll indicated that rookie Christine Michael is in a battle with Robert Turbin for the No. 2 spot at running back, and he threw Marshawn Lynch in there for good measure.
“The competition is on,” Carroll said. “And Marshawn, too.”
Michael has shown impressive explosiveness in the open field, along with an extra gear that Turbin and Lynch don’t appear to have.
And while Michael has made more splash plays than Turbin did his rookie season in exhibition play, Carroll admitted that Michael still has a ways to go in mastering Seattle’s offense.
“He has made a real flashy first impression,” Carroll said about Michael. “And we’re excited about it. He’s doesn’t have the whole thing yet. He has a lot of work to do. He’s not always reading things properly. But he surely shows a suddenness that gives you a chance to feel that he’s going to bust something. So it’s great to see him in the passing game too, helping us out.”
Carroll said that rookie Spencer Ware jammed his wrist the first or second play he was in against Green Bay, which is why he didn’t play very much against the Packers. Carroll said Ware will play against Oakland this week.
Carroll said the team decided to rest cornerback Antoine Winfield against Green Bay because he had a sore knee. Winfield returned to practice today, and Carroll said he’s feeling good.
Tight end Zach Miller practiced fully today, as the team tries to get him ready for the Carolina game. Carroll said that Miller likely will not play on Thursday against Oakland.
“He probably could play this week, and he wants to play this week,” Carroll said. “We’ll figure that out by the end of the week. We’ve been shooting for the opener the whole time.”
Offensive lineman James Carpenter also returned to practice after sitting out for a few weeks with a foot issue. Carpenter got a handful of snaps with the starters at left guard today.
“It was great to see Carp back out there,” Carroll said. “He got a heck of a workout today. And it’s always about how he comes back the next day, and we’ll add them up.”
Fullback Michael Robinson returned to practice today as a spectator, after missing most of last week with an undisclosed illness. Carroll described Robinson as violently ill with an undisclosed illness last week.
“He was really sick,” Carroll said. “And there’s still some concerns about whatever he’s got, and he’s still trying to figure it out.”
Others who did not practice today include Sidney Rice (knee) and Jeron Johnson, who had a family matter to attend to.
Clemons (knee), cornerback Tharold Simon (foot), Greg Scruggs (knee) and Percy Harvin (hip) remain on the PUP list. Linebacker Korey Toomer (hip) remains on the non-football injury list.
Gresham gets a new deal
With the Seahawks releasing long snapper Kyle Nelson, the inevitable occurred today. Starting long snapper Clint Gresham, who was slapped with a restricted tender contract of $1.3 million, signed a two-year extension, $1.655 million extension with the Seahawks, according to Brian McIntyre of Yahoo Sports.
Seahawks LS Clint Gresham, an RFA, has agreed to a two-year, $1.655M contract, per league source. Now signed through 2014— Brian McIntyre (@brian_mcintyre) August 26, 2013
With Gresham signed through 2014, the Seahawks saved about $500,000 in cap space