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Originally published Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 8:03 PM

Seahawks tight end Zach Miller is doing more blocking than catching

Tight end Zach Miller has caught just 11 passes in eight games for the Seahawks. He's being asked to stay in and help with pass protection and hasn't been much of a factor as a receiver yet.

Seattle Times staff reporter

quotes Do we have any TE`s that can block just as well or close to Miller`s ability? If so pla... Read more
quotes The problem is, we NEED Miller to catch a ton of passes because of the way our ofense p... Read more
quotes Zach Miller has basically played the tackle position most of the year, and he is really... Read more

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RENTON — Zach Miller hasn't had a problem adjusting to Seattle per se.

You just can't say Seattle's new tight end is catching on quickly. Not with just 11 receptions.

Miller has never caught fewer than 44 passes in any season since entering the NFL in 2007. He caught 182 passes the past three seasons, seventh-most of any tight end in the league.

There are currently 37 tight ends in the NFL with more catches than Miller.

"That's not on him," coach Pete Carroll said. "It's on us to get him the football. He's been a terrific factor blocking and helping us in pass protection. He had a great game last week for us, but not in the numbers way that you would see."

He has become the team's third offensive tackle at times, left in to block, and the fact that Dallas had only a single sack on Sunday is proof that he's effective.

"Zach's our ace in the hole as a blocker in terms of protection, in terms of the run game," said Darrell Bevell, Seattle's offensive coordinator. "He can do some good things in the pass game ... we usually end up sending the other guys out and leaving him into block because he's so good at it. That's definitely something we need to look at and balance."

Anthony McCoy, Seattle's backup tight end, has nine receptions, and he has been targeted just as often as Miller.

Now, saying there's a problem is different from complaining. From the beginning of the season, Miller said he could look at the team's situation with so many new linemen and know he would be called upon to block more.

"His attitude is perfect," Carroll said, "and his habits and mentality are perfect, but everybody wants to do more."

For now, he's facing the same reality that stymied John Carlson's production last season, as pass-protection needs have cut into his receiving opportunities.

Jackson back in action

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson practiced fully on Thursday after receiving limited work on Wednesday because of his strained pectoral muscle. That's a reversal from last week's schedule when he practiced fully Wednesday, then had less work Thursday.

"It's really just taking it day by day," Jackson said. "You don't really know exactly how you're going to feel each day. It's kind of got like a mind of its own — sometimes it feels good, and I wake up the next day without doing anything and it's sore."

Harbaugh praises Lynch

The Baltimore Ravens are not coached by Lou Holtz, but you could be forgiven for making that mistake the way Ravens coach John Harbaugh gushed about the Seahawks.

Holtz made a habit of talking up the attributes of his opponents, and even he might have thought Harbaugh went over the top with this characterization of Seattle's running back Marshawn Lynch.

"It starts off with Marshawn," Harbaugh said. "He's definitely one of the top two or three running backs in the National Football League. He's a violent runner."

Lynch gained 135 yards last week, his most in any regular-season start for the Seahawks.

Notes

• WR Sidney Rice practiced Thursday, but was limited because of a sore foot. He is expected to play Sunday.

• TE Cameron Morrah returned to practice Thursday after missing last week's game with an injury to his toe and knee.

• LB David Vobora has not practiced this week because of a concussion.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com. On Twitter: @dannyoneil

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