The offensive line began the season as the real Achilles heal for the Seahawks. The lack of a true offseason and training camp really hurt this unit. As the season progressed, so did the play of the offensive line. Once Robert Gallery got health, the line play really improved. Even with the loss of 3 starters over the last few game, the line play continued to improve.
Seattle first round pick, James Carpenter, was a major disappointment. He really struggled in pass protection, which hurt his confidence. Once his confidence started dipping, his performance dropped even further. By the time he blew out his knee, he had become a major liability.
Carpenter’s knee wont be ready for training camp. It’s highly likely that it wont be ready for the start of the season. I fully expect him to start 2012 on the PUP list, meaning he’ll be out for at least the first 6 weeks. Unless there’s an injury on the offensive line late in the year, I doubt Carpenter makes a single start. It’s looking more and more like Carpenter will get a year off to get himself right, both physically and mentally.
The Seahawk’s 3rd round pick, John Moffitt, had his season end in the same week as Carpenter’s did. His season didn’t mirror that of the first round pick though. Moffitt, on the other hand, improved steadily throughout the season up until his injury. He showed signs that he could develop into a special player, while he still made the occasional rookie mistake, his overall performance was positive.
The Seahawks signed Robert Gallery to a big contract to be the veteran leader on the offensive line. Injuries forced him to be out or only marginally effective for most of the first half of the season. As his heath improved, so did his effectiveness. A big reason why the Seahawks running game took off over the final 10 weeks of the season was Gallery finally rounding into form. It seems that most Seahawk fans don’t appreciate just how good Gallery was over the second half of the season.
Max Unger was a rock at center season, missing just one game in the middle to a minor injury. Scattered around the blogosphere you’ll find random pieces of Unger hate, but it is not warranted. Unger is one of the top 10 centers in the NFL according to many different statistical and traditional scouting outlets like Pro-Footbal Focus and NFL advanced stats. He only gave up 7 pressures all season, including 0 sacks or QB hits.
Russel Okung did little to get rid of his image that he’s injury prone. First there was the sprained ankle, and then he landed on IR when he was intentionally injured by Trent Cole in the Eagles game. When he was in there, he was a force at LT. When healthy, Okung is clearly the player the Seahawks thought he was when they spent a first round pick on him.
Breno Giacomini was recently re-signed to contract worth of someone who’s not going to spend most of the time on the bench. As I wrote when re was re-signed, Giacomini is going to enter the 2012 season as the starter, and is going be given a chance to keep that job even once Carpenter is healthy.
I was a little surprised that the Seahawks committed to Giacomini so quickly because they also have Jariel King. King was a seldom used reserve that the Seahawks coaches really love. He’s an absolute beast of a run blocker, perhaps the best on the team. His pass blocking leaves a lot to be desired, but he young and still improving.
Lemuel JeanPierre proved to be everything you could want in a backup. He played well when pressed into service; well enough that Seahawks signed another backup center at one point in order to allow JeanPierre to become the start at guard.
Paul McQuistan proved to be a fan favorite by the end of the season because he stepped in and started both at RG, and then later at LT. The problem is that he didn’t play particularly well at LT; requiring help from either a back or a TE on almost every passing play.McQuistan also wasn’t the team’s first choice to back up RG. It was JeanPierre who came in when Moffitt was hurt and the only reason McQuistan played at RG after that was because Pete Carroll didn’t want to risk playing playing both of the team’s centers at the same time in case one got injured.
The Seahawks would like to re-sign McQuistan because of his versatility, but only if the price is right. With King available at tackle, and JeanPierre returning in the middle, the primary backup rolls can be filled without him.