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Tuesday in Hawkville: Miller’s receiving catching up to his blocking

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 9:

FOCUS ON

Zach Miller

Zach Miller. In his first season with the Seahawks, the former Pro Bowl tight end with the Raiders did a lot more blocking (countless) than receiving (25 catches).

This season, Miller is catching up to the 66- and 60-catch efforts he had in Oakland before signing with the Seahawks in free agency last summer. He produced the Seahawks’ two longest plays in Sunday’s 16-12 victory over the Panthers in Carolina – a 30-yard reception from rookie QB Russell Wilson in the third quarter and a 23-yarder in the fourth-quarter drive to a Steven Hauschka field goal that put the Seahawks up 16-10.

Miller’s three-catch, 59-yard day gives him 12 receptions for 150 yards entering Sunday’s game against the Patriots at CenturyLink Field – and both totals rank second on the team to wide receiver Sidney Rice (17 for 199).

“Zach has been doing everything we have asked him,” coach Pete Carroll said. “And when we’ve gotten the ball to him, he’s done really well.”

And the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Miller also continues to help provide running lanes for leading rusher Marshawn Lynch.

“Zach is blocking terrifically and he’s doing a very, very terrific job on the line of scrimmage,” Carroll said.

But it’s the strides he is showing as a receiver that should help the league’s 31st-ranked passing game.

“He’s a big target,” Carroll said. “I just like to see him get the ball. It just helps us so much, and we just need more.”

Sunday, Miller wasn’t just a big target; he was a wide-open target on those two long completions – especially on the longest play.

“(The Panthers’ safeties) were playing so deep, they were just kind of letting me go down the middle,” Miller said. “Russell spotted me, threw a nice ball and hit me.”

Miller’s pair of big catches allowed the passing game – and Wilson – to surpass 200 yards for the time this season. And the Seahawks no longer are the only team in the league averaging more yards rushing than passing, as the passing average is up to 147 – 6.8 yards more than the rushing average.

EASLEY DOES IT

Kenny Easley

If Kenny Easley’s career had lasted longer than seven seasons with the Seahawks, there’s a good chance he would be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Easley was NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1984, when he led the AFC with 10 interceptions – as a strong safety. But he also changed the way his position was played, and the way opponents were forced to play him. But Easley was forced to retire after the 1987 season because of a kidney problem.

Today, Easley was named to the Hall of Very Good, which is sponsored by the Professional Football Researchers Association and was started in 2003 to honor outstanding players and coaches who are not in the Hall of Fame.

Also in the Class of 2012: Eagles’ linebacker Bill Bergey; Chiefs’ defensive tackle Curley Culp; Steelers’ defensive end L.C. Greenwood; Raiders’ cornerback Lester Hayes; Bills’ quarterback Jack Kemp; Rams’ defensive back Eddie Meador; Giants’ center Ray Wietecha; and Swede Youngstrom, who played multiple positions for multiple teams from 1920-27.

Easley was voted to five Pro Bowls, inducted into the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor in 2002 and voted to the franchise’s 35th Anniversary team.

STAT DU JOUR

Lynch has slipped to No. 3 in the NFL in rushing, after leading the league last week. But he remains the NFL’s leading rusher since Week 9 of last season. Here’s a look at where he ranks on both lists:

This season

Player, team                                 Att.   Yds.   Avg.  TD

Jamaal Charles, Chiefs               102   551    5.4      2

Arian Foster, Texans                  132    532   4.0      5

Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks     113   508   4.5      2

Alfred Morris, Redskins             100    491   4.9     4

Stevan Ridley, Patriots               102    490   4.8     4

Since Week 9 last season (14 games)

Player, team                                 Att.   Yards    Avg.  TD

Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks      324    1,449    4.5    11

Ray Rice, Ravens                          257    1,294    5.0    10

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars   261     1,274    4.9     6

Arian Foster, Texans                   275     1,224    4.5    11

Reggie Bush, Dolphins                227     1,168    5.1     9

FOOTBALL 101

The Seahawks Women’s Association is hosting its annual Football 101 workshop on Saturday. You can register here for the interactive event that runs from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at VMAC.

“Football 101 is a great opportunity for women who already watch football every Sunday with their husbands to learn more about the fundamentals and strategy of the game,” said Michaela Bradley, wife of Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

UP NEXT

The players return Wednesday from their off day on Tuesday to begin preparing for this week’s game against the Patriots.

YOU DON’T SAY

“We’ve got the best secondary out there in football, and I think we’ve got two of the best corners in football.” – second-year corner Richard Sherman to 710 ESPN’s Jen Mueller after Sunday’s game against the Panthers


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