Let me just start by saying that I don’t expect this to happen. I just think it should happen. I’m not trying to argue with Tom Cable about the offensive line either. That would stupid, and I try to avoid doing obviously stupid things. I’m just trying to point out what seems like a course of action that makes perfect sense to me.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about moving James Carpenter to guard permanently, and making the commitment to do so right now.
The move makes sense. Carpenter struggled all season before he was hurt. He lacks the lateral quickness to block the game’s best pass rushers, and that’s something he’s never going to develop. His knee injury is likely to hurt him even more in that regard. As a run blocker, Carpenter is a powerful blocker at the point of attack, but struggled with learning the hybrid power/zone blocking scheme that Tom Cable brought to Seattle.
Guard is a more natural spot for Carpenter. Furthermore, since he’s left handed, left guard is the ideal spot for him. While the Seahawks have a LG, Gallery isn’t getting any younger, and having someone ready to take over for him would seem the logical step.
There’s also the issue of Carpenter’s knee injury. Recover time for that type of injury and surgery generally takes 9-12 months. Considering that we’re talking about a 320 pound man who try to push around other 300+ pound men for a living, it’s best not to rush these things.
Carpenter is almost certainly not going to be ready to start practicing at the start of training camp. If I had to guess, I’d say he get’s put on the Physically Unable to Preform (PUP) list, and thus will be unavailable until week after week 6. Players coming off the PUP list rarely make an impact for a few weeks. It takes time for them to work their way back into game-shape, and get caught up with the rest of their team.
Moving Carpenter to guard takes off the pressure off of him to come in and preform at a high level right away. Since the team already has 2 starting guards, he’ll be able to work his way slowly up the depth chart as he gets into shape and re-learns the offense. This plan gives him a chance to build up up his confidence, which was clearly hurt when he struggled last season.
Why make the commitment to doing this now? Because moving Carpenter creates a hole at RT that will need to be filled. If this move is going to be made, doing it now allows the team time to address the hole created and examine multiple options for filling it. Wait until training camp to consider this move, and the team will be stuck looking through the scrap heap to try and find a starter, or trying to pick from one of a number of candidates for the backup tackle job to be the starter. Neither of those options feel like a good idea.
The Seahawks do have options currently available to them to fill the RT spot that doesn’t involve a high draft pick or a high priced free agent. After early struggles, Breno Giocomini played surprisingly well over the last 3 games. He appears to have improved enough that he could be a serviceable RT.
Jarriel King is another option. The Seahawk’s coaches reportedly love King. In limited action this season, King showed that he is a powerful run blocker capable of pushing back opposing lineman. His Pass protection skills are currently untested, and are likely the reason why King did not see additional playing time this past season.