Tuesday in Hawkville: Russell Wilson provides the secret to Zach Miller’s success

Posted Sep 2, 2014

Zach Miller doesn’t just do it all for the Seahawks’ offense, the veteran tight end does everything he’s asked very well. That’s why his teammates call him “The Big Fundamental.”

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 2, when the Seahawks held their “No Repeat Friday” practice as they prepare for Thursday night’s regular-season opener against the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field:


The secret to Zach Miller’s success is out of the bag.

“We call him ‘The Big Fundamental,’ just because he’s at the right spot at the right time, all the time,” quarterback Russell Wilson said.

“The Big Fundamental,” indeed. It fits Miller in so many ways. For starters, he carries a solid 255 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame. But there’s also Miller’s consistency, whether run blocking for Marshawn Lynch, pass blocking for Wilson or being a big – what else – part of the passing game.

“I’ve been hearing that,” Miller said after the Seahawks’ final full practice before Thursday night’s regular-season opener against the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field. “It’s a compliment. I like it.”

Better yet, Miller has earned it.

“I like to do all the details right,” he said. “I like to know exactly what’s going on, see the bigger picture and do everything right.”

Asked whether he likes being a blocker or a receiver better, Miller offered an answer worthy of his “The Big Fundamental” nickname.

“It’s all part of the job,” he said. “But I don’t mind blocking. When I’m blocking for Marshawn (Lynch) and he’s ripping off huge gains and scoring touchdowns, I take a lot of pride in that. It’s fun to see an offense as balanced as we are.”

And that provides a clue as to the secret to the Seahawks’ offensive success. They will pass from two-tight end sets, and run from spread formations with multiple wide receivers. You can’t read what the Seahawks might do from the personnel they have in the game.

“We really like to change it up and keep the defenses on their toes,” Miller said.

As for the receiving aspect of his game, “The Big Fundamental” offered, “We get out plenty. And Russell does a great job of finding us. Whenever it’s open in the seam, he gets the ball to us.”

That “us” includes second-year tight end Luke Willson. Miller (33 catches and five TDs) and Wilson (20 and 1) combined for 53 receptions and six TD catches during the Seahawks’ Super Bowl run last season.


The official injury report, as issued by the team:


Youth will be served at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night, as the Seahawks and Packers have two of the youngest teams in the NFL. The Seahawks are tied for the fourth-youngest 53-man roster, while the Packers are sixth:

Team Yr. Days
Rams 25 250
Jaguars 25 299
Patriots 26 26
Seahawks 26 45
Browns 26 45
Packers 26 51
Vikings 26 52
Cowboys 26 71
Buccaneers 26 85
Chiefs 26 95

Did not practice
TE Cooper Helfet (knee)
OL Lemuel Jeanpierre (neck)
RB Christine Michael (hamstring)
LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (hamstring)
CB Tharold Simon (knee)

Limited in practice
LB Bruce Irvin (hip)
CB Jeremy Lane (groin)
WR Kevin Norwood (ankle)

Irvin was not as limited Tuesday as he was on Monday, and after practice said he feels ready to play for the first time since the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 after having offseason hip surgery.

What has the rehab process that’s included waiting and watching been like? “It was like spending time in the county jail,” Irvin said. “That’s how it felt. It was so hard to watch these guys week-in and week-out, busting their tails at practice, everybody getting better by the week. Me? I was just coming and watching. So it’s a blessing to be back with my brothers. I don’t care if I play three snaps or 12 snaps, I’m just happy to be dressing out with these boys and feeling like I’m contributing.”

For the Packers:
The Packers did not practice Tuesday, so their participation designations are estimates – and unchanged from Monday.

C/OG J.C. Tretter (knee)

Did not practice
TE Brandon Bostick (fibula)
CB Demetri Goodson (concussion)

Limited in practice
LB Brad Jones (quadriceps)


Running back Marshawn Lynch talked to the media after practice for the first time since before the Super Bowl.


“We don’t really believe there’s such a thing as big games. There a lot of great moments. And we want to have a lot of great moments and put them all together and see what happens at the end.”

Quarterback Russell Wilson on the significance of hosting the NFL regular-season opener

His best – and longest – responses came when the subject turned to his Fam 1st Family Foundation and the work it does with inner-city kids, especially in his hometown of Oakland.

“It gives inner-city youth an opportunity,” he said. “A lot of kids that came from my foundation, with our camp, I played against one of them in the NFL and there’s a number of them in Division I. There are a couple of them up here that go to (the University of Washington), Oregon State, got some that go to Central Washington and a number of schools all over the nation.

“We’ve seen some good turnouts from the kids that have been coming. I’ve had kids from Barbados. I’ve had kids come from Turks and Caicos. I’ve had kids come from Canada. So I think if they’re able to make it out I’m not turning down any kids.”


Yes, Doug Baldwin can share the sense of achievement, but also realization that they still have a lot to prove, with the rookie duo of linebacker Brock Coyle and tackle Garry Gilliam – the undrafted free agents who made the Seahawks’ 53-man roster this season. Baldwin not only did it on 2012, he became the first rookie free agent to lead his team in receptions and receiving yards since Bill Groman did it for the Houston Oilers in 1960.

“I congratulated both of them,” Baldwin said. “Obviously being there and knowing how hard it is, not just physically but mentally, and knowing you’re coming in and you’re kind of behind the eight ball because you were undrafted. Those guys did an excellent job in camp and the opportunities they had in preseason games to showcase their talents and show what they’re about. That’s why they’re here. And I’m extremely excited about them, because I’ve been there.”

Coyle and Gilliam join an impressive group of undrafted free agents who made it with the Seahawks that includes Ring of Honor quarterback Dave Krieg and four players who were voted to the 35th Anniversary team – nose tackle Joe Nash, free safety Eugene Robinson, linebacker Rufus Porter and fullback Mack Strong.

“There’s a long list of guys that we look up to, and I feel like I want to be one of those guys that Brock and Gilliam can look up to and say, ‘We made it,’ ” Baldwin said. “And then eventually, one day there’s going to be guys that look up to them and say, ‘I can do this as well.’ ”


Monday, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said that being back at VMAC after a busy offseason was “like our sanctuary.”

Tuesday, All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas was asked if he felt the same way.

“He got that from me,” Thomas said. “He stole my line.”


The players will hold a morning walkthrough on Wednesday, their final on-field session before Thursday night’s opener against the Packers at CenturyLink Field.