As the Seahawks prepare to face Peyton Manning (albeit briefly) and the Denver Broncos in their second game of the preseason (first at home in front of the 12th Man), they are slowly getting healthier.
The biggest health news was that tight end Zach Miller, who has been out all camp with a foot injury, came off PUP on Friday and is ready to go -- although he will not play tonight.
Defensive end Chris Clemons is still on PUP but is making progress in his ACL rehab.
“He’s still working hard,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters, per The News Tribune. “He’s doing good. He’s right in the middle of a rigorous rehab now. He’s on the field cutting and moving and doing defensive line drills and all that kind of stuff. I don’t know what that means time-wise, but he’s doing well.
“He’s not in any pain or discomfort. It’s just a matter of getting his confidence back, and getting him back to full speed before we take him back off the PUP and get him going.”
Meanwhile, Percy Harvin apparently is off to a good start in his comeback from hip surgery. Carroll said the surgeon who performed the operation was "thrilled with the way he came back the days right after the surgery. And his ability to get range of motion and things were way ahead of schedule."
The Hawks still do not know how long Harvin will be out, but the prevailing thought is they will simply keep him on PUP, which means he would be eligible to be activated any time from Week 7 to Week 15.
We won't see Miller, Clemons or Harvin tonight, but here are a few things we will be watching for:
Running back: There are big battles going on at this position. Robert Turbin is trying to fend off Chris Michael for the top backup spot behind Marshawn Lynch, and it looks like Derrick Coleman might have an edge on rookie Spencer Ware if the team keeps five backs.
Michael ran 16 times in the first game and ended up straining his back. We still expect him to emerge as the No. 2 runner behind Marshawn Lynch, but Turbin will get his chance to fend off Michael this week.
Coleman played well in the first game and was praised by coaches. Even though he is in a stacked backfield, he might have a shot to make the club due to his special-teams play and versatility. To do it, he would have to beat out sixth-round pick Ware.
Wide receiver: Jermaine Kearse is a lock as the No. 4 receiver (with Harvin out), and Stephen Williams seemed to take the lead for the No. 5 spot after a couple of big catches in the first game.
Fourth-round pick Chris Harper has yet to show much and needs to step it up if he is going to challenge for a roster spot. It's hard to see the Hawks keeping six receivers when they have a stacked backfield and also are loaded at other positions.
Offensive line: The guard spots are still completely up in the air.
James Carpenter is out with a torn plantar fascia (we don't expect him to contribute much yet again), and they have begun to give rookie tackles Alvin Bailey and Michael Bowie playing time at left guard behind starter Paul McQuistan. The Hawks apparently see Bailey as a guard and started him at tackle just to get him used to the NFL. It will be interesting to see whether Bailey and Bowie start seeing more time at guard in preseason games, starting tonight.
At right guard, J.R. Sweezy is leading John Moffitt, but does it really matter who ends up there?
Tight end: Zach Miller is off PUP and will return to action next week. That means Luke Willson gets a few more reps with Russell Wilson and the first team tonight. Everyone is gaga over the fifth-round pick, and hopefully he progresses enough to validate being picked much higher than the Hawks really needed to take him.
Pass rusher: With the top three guys injured, it means more reps for Mike Morgan, Malcolm Smith, O'Brien Schofield and Benson Mayowa.
Mayowa had a big game last week, with 1.5 sacks and some good pressure. Schofield didn't get a sack, but he looked good rushing the passer. He seems a strong pick to make the team, but it would be nice to see him get to Manning tonight.
Morgan and Smith, former USC linebackers who have been with Carroll for several years now, are getting expanded roles as pass rushers. Smith had a sack last week as he tries to solidify his hold on the starting strong-side spot, and Morgan saw lots of action rushing the passer.
All of these guys should be helped by what figures to be a very excited 12th Man tonight.
Defensive tackle: The longer Tony McDaniel sits on the bench injured, the more rookies Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams get to show they can play.
With another good game tonight, Hill should be able to lay claim to the starting 3-tech spot next to nose tackle Brandon Mebane.
Williams played well in the first game, but a balky knee means the coaches have to monitor his playing time -- which probably will be the case all season.
Linebacker: Bobby Wagner figures to start in the middle after missing the first game, but Allen Bradford's development bears watching.
Starting for Wagner, Bradford led the Hawks with 11 tackles in San Diego. The converted running back already has displaced veteran Heath Farwell as the No. 2 MLB. He just needs to keep it up.
As mentioned above, Smith is facing a tough challenge from Schofield on the strong side. That battle bears watching.
Meanwhile, Farwell is facing a challenge for his roster spot by rookies John Lotulelei and Ty Powell, who both played well in Week 1.
Cornerback: The Hawks are likely to keep six guys here, and special teams will determine the final two (after Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond and Antoine Winfield).
This looks like a three-man race between Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane and Will Blackmon. Maxwell had a nice first game, with one interception and a near-pick. Lane is a dynamo on special teams, and Blackmon is a veteran who knows how to return punts.
Odds are on the holdover Seattle draft picks, Maxwell and Lane, making the team. But Maxwell has to stay healthy.
Return game: The Hawks have plenty of options even with Harvin out. Thurmond and Blackmon both put up good punt returns last week, and Golden Tate is expected to get the first call tonight.
The kick returns could go to anyone number of guys. Michael and Turbin are obvious options, and Williams, who needs to offer something on special teams, would seem to be a good option to try as well. Jermaine Kearse apparently will get the first kick tonight.