“James Carpenter is a Guard, not a Tackle.” That’s a quote from me 15 months ago when Carpenter was draft by the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks, at least partially, disagreed.
Carpenter split time between guard and tackle last year in training camp, started week 1 at LG, and then spend the rest of the year at RT until he blew out his knee. Now, it seems they’ve finally decided to move him to guard permanently.
John Schneider, in a radio interview this morning, said that Carpenter will be a LG when he finally recovers from his injury. Breno Giacomini is the team’s starting RT, and will be no matter what happens to Carpenter.
This is a good move for the Seahawks. Carpenter has all the makings of a pro-bowl guard. What he doesn’t have, and didn’t have even before his injury, is the lateral quickness to shut down the game’s fastest edge pass rushers. He was never going to be great tackle, I think that is pretty clear at this point.
What wasn’t said was when Carpenter will be back from his injury. The team has danced around that question every time it’s been asked, but from what I saw at camp, it’s not going to be any time soon.
Carpenter’s injured leg is considerably smaller than his healthy one. There has been a tremendous amount of muscle atrophy, and it’s going to take some time, and serious work, to get that muscle mass back. I don’t don’t for a second that Carpenter will put in the work, but it’s the time that worries me.
After seeing that, Carpenter will most certainly be put on the PUP list to start the season. Even if his knee is ready to allow him to begin putting in that work right now, and there’s no sign that it is, there’s no way he’s ready to begin playing by week 1.
Being placed on the PUP list, and not on IR, gives Carpenter time to get healthy. It also gives him a deadline to be ready to play, or else his entire 2012 season will be lost. IF he can’t get his leg in shape and get cleared to practice w/o restriction by week 10, then Carpenter will have to be placed on IR and will not play at all in 2012.