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Positives across the board

Posted Aug 2, 2011

Zach Miller, a Pro Bowl tight end from the Raiders, has agreed to join the Seahawks in free agency, prompting coach Pete Carroll to call the acquisition “a fantastic move for us.”

The Seahawks’ Cable connection has delivered again.

Zach Miller not only agreed to terms with the club on Tuesday, the Pro Bowl tight end from the Oakland Raiders said that Tom Cable’s presence in Seattle was a significant factor in his decision to join the Seahawks – more than the lucrative five-year contract he will sign.

Cable, who joined coach Pete Carroll’s staff in January as the assistant head coach/offensive line coach, spent the previous four seasons in Oakland – the past two as the Raiders’ head coach after filling the position on an interim basis for last 12 games in 2008.

Cable also was influential in getting guard Robert Gallery, another ex-Raider, to sign with the Seahawks last week.

“We had a deal going in Oakland,” Cable said when asked about Miller’s statement. “We were close and all carried about it. We went through a lot together, and then it all changed. So that’s life. But I’m as fond of him as he is of I.”

Cable, Gallery and now Miller are part of the change that is washing over the Seahawks’ roster.

Carroll called the acquisition of Miller “a fantastic move of us.” Miller is young (25) and has been very productive, catching 226 passes in four seasons for 2,712 yards and 12 touchdowns. He led the Raiders with 60 receptions last season, when he was voted to the Pro Bowl. But he was even more productive in 2009, with career-highs in receptions (66) and receiving yards (805).

“Zach Miller is really a fine, fine player,” Cable said. “And a better person than he is a player. So for our team – for this program and what I’ve seen since coming here and kind of the mentality, if you will – it’s extraordinary, and Zach’s going to fit in very well that way.”

The obvious question: Where does incumbent starter John Carlson fit now that Miller is on his way?

Asked if he planned to keep both, Carroll said, “Absolutely. That’s exactly what’s in our minds. Anybody that thinks otherwise doesn’t get it. Those guys will play together, in tandem. They’ll be on opposite sides, and we’ll be moving them around for matchups and all kinds of stuff.

“It’ll be a great asset for us now.”

And, in Cable’s opinion, give the Seahawks the best tight end tandem in the NFL.

“The most important thing for me is, we now have two fantastic tight ends,” he said. “When this came up and I was asked about it, I said, ‘We’ve got a good player here, and you’re going to get a good player coming in if you can get him.’

“I’m excited because I know what they both can help us do running the football, but I also know what both can do catching the football and scoring touchdowns.”

Carlson has caught 137 passes for 1,519 yards and 13 TDs in his first three seasons with the Seahawks. He holds the franchise single-season records for a tight end in receptions (55) and receiving yards (627), both in 2008 when he became the first rookie to lead the team in those categories since Steve Largent in 1976. Carlson also was voted the tight end on the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team last year.

“We’ve always liked to play with two tight ends in a number of different packages and this gives us tremendous flexibility at a really high level,” Carroll said. “I’m really hoping that his is going to be difficult for our opponents because of the matchups we’ll be able to create.”

Carlson’s strength always has been his receiving, and he continues to improve his blocking. Miller does both well.

“That’s what people have to realize about him, he is a very complete player,” Cable said. “He’s going to be able to block off the line of scrimmage. You can move him around, he can block very effectively that way. You can split him out. He can do all the crack blocks. He can play the one-on-one matchup game in the passing game.

“And again, I’ve seen that from John already. So I’m tickled, because offensively you add (wide receiver) Sidney Rice, you get (quarterback) Tarvaris Jackson in here, we’ve got great runners in here, we’re going to build a young offensive line and now you’ve got two tight ends I think are as good as there is in football.”

Cable admitted, “That’s a strong statement.” But he quickly added, “I’ve seen them both in person, and they’re very good.

“John is good. Zach’s good. And we just got a lot better.”

Which is obviously why Carroll was feeling so good after practice at the team’s training camp.

“We’ll be able to use (Zach) and John in so many different ways,” he said. “They’ll be on the field at the same time a ton. Thrilled about that flexibility.”

Carroll really likes Miller’s combination of youth and productivity.

“He feels like a young guy to add to this team, but he’s experienced and he’s got a great background,” Carroll said. “Also, the experience with what we’re doing up front – the terminology and stuff – it’s so compatible for him. He’s going to help us accelerate the continuity.

“It’s just positives across the board.”

Game Rewind: Seattle Seahawks