RENTON — If you’re wondering how important backup running back Robert Turbin’s contribution is to the Seattle Seahawks grind-it-out approach on offense, just ask offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable.
“We’re counting on it,” Cable said. “What we saw last spring was really exciting. And it took off in the fall, so if he gets going back into this now, and he can pick up from this spring, it will be really neat.”
Added Seattle coach Pete Carroll: “There’s nothing that Robert can’t do. He can run the ball. He can catch the football. He’s a really good pass protector, and he’s a good special teams player also. We expect a tremendous amount out of Robert. He’ll play regularly and we’ll have no hesitation of putting him in the game in all situations.”
Turbin ran for 354 yards his rookie year, which included a 108-yard effort in a 58-0 win over Arizona in December. Turbin also caught 19 passes for 181 yards.
Rookie Christine Michael was impressive against San Diego, rushing for 89 yards in Seattle’s exhibition opener. However, Turbin remains Seattle’s No. 2 option behind starter Marshawn Lynch, along with being the team’s third-down back.
After starting training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list with a sore foot, Turbin practiced fully for the first time Sunday.
Turbin said he dreaded watching practice from the sideline the past few weeks.
“The player always wants to play, and the trainers always want to keep you out until they feel like you’re 100 percent and ready to go,” Turbin said. “It’s a little bit of a love/hate kind of thing. I love them for taking care of me, and being patient with me. But I hate them for taking so long.”
Turbin missed some time during the team’s mandatory minicamp becayse of the foot injury, and said his sore foot developed over time, giving him problems when he tried to make sharp cuts while running the football.
“Over the course of a practice, it would get worse and worse,” Turbin said. “When you’re out there and you feel like you can’t do what you normally can do, it just affects your game.”
While Turbin’s play steadily improved during the second half of the 2012 season, he still feels the need to improve. And part of that effort includes daily film work with Cable to better understand defensive schemes Seattle might face.
“A lot of people say I improved toward the end of the season last year, and I would agree,” he said. “But it’s still not good enough for me. And it’s still not good enough for this team. I’ve got to play better. And I’ll do everything I can to get better.”
Entering the second season of a four-year, $2.56 million rookie deal that will pay him a base salary of $480,000 in 2013, Turbin understands diligent work and attention to detail will lead to more opportunities on Sundays.
“I want to be a guy that’s just very versatile,” Turbin said. “First, second, third or fourth down – whatever the game situation is – I want to be able to get in and execute. Ultimately, that’s how you develop into being a starter in this league.”
The Seahawks had 18 players miss time at Sunday’s training camp practice because of injury concerns.
The most notable was Michael. Carroll said the rookie suffered back spasms after the game at San Diego.
Of course, Michael had injury concerns coming out of college. He suffered a broken leg and a torn anterior cruciate ligament in consecutive seasons that cut short his playing time for Texas A&M in 2010 and 2011.
“It might be a little bit before we get him back up,” Carroll said about Michael. “We’re working on him.”
Guard James Carpenter is a couple weeks away from returning from a foot injury he suffered last week. It’s another setback for Carpenter, who has dealt with ongoing knee issues that limited his participation in the team’s offseason program.
“It’s improving regularly, and we know how the course of it is going to go,” Carroll said. “So we’ll get him back, it’s just going to take a while.
“It’s unfortunate for him. It was so good to see him out here on a regular basis, just getting back into his football. So it’s frustrating for him.”
Carroll said tight end Zach Miller (foot) and defensive end Cliff Avril (hamstring) continue to make progress, but both are still a couple weeks away from playing.
“We’re going to continue to be conservative with it at this early time,” Carroll said about the two. “But those guys are getting back out. It might still be two weeks away before they do something, but I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of this week they’re doing more and getting close to the practice field.”
Carroll said defensive end Bruce Irvin (groin) is getting close to practicing.
“He looked great running this morning,” Carroll said. “I watched him in his workout. He looks like he’s flying around. But we’re going to be conservative. … He’s really fighting to get back out there. He looked good today, so he’s getting close.”
Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, who was slated to compete for a starting job, hasn’t practiced since Tuesday because of a groin injury.
Defensive tackle Jaye Howard banged his shoulder during the San Diego game, Carroll said. Howard did not practice Sunday.
Receiver Bryan Walters had been out an extended period of time with a hamstring injury, but is expected to return to practice later this week.
Other players who did not practice Sunday include CB Byron Maxwell (ankle), CB Ron Parker (hamstring), TE Darren Fells (hamstring), DE Ty Powell (thigh bruise), OL Mike Person (calf) and WR Perez Ashford (undisclosed).
Along with Miller, WR Percy Harvin (hip), CB Tharold Simon (foot), DE Chris Clemons (knee) and DL Greg Scruggs (knee) remain on the PUP list. LB Korey Toomer (hip) still is on the non-football injury list.Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@ thenewstribune.com @eric_d_williams blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks