Seattle’s Offensive line is about to get a whole lot better. This week could feature the first appearance of James Carpenter at left guard alongside Russell Okung for the first time since he suffered a torn ACL ten months ago. Pete Carroll indicated in his press conference this week that he’ll begin to use ‘Carp’ at left guard against the Rams. He plans to make that assignment permanent and “have him be a monster in there”. Indeed, when the Seahawks really got Marshawn Lynch rolling the second half of last season, it was the Okung/Carpenter duo that sprung him for a lot of those yards.
So, this week against the Rams the Seattle O line may see a little shuffling around due to the addition of Carpenter as well as uncertainty about a chest strain for Breno Giacomini and an injury to John Moffitt’s elbow which will keep him out 2-3 weeks. It’s not certain at this point how Giacomini’s injury could affect his status for week 4, but having the option of moving versatile McQuistan around from Carpenter’s old spot to either spot on the right side will certainly make Carroll’s options better. These position changes could also come with some degree of uncertainty on the line since they haven’t played together in this configuration this season. It may take several weeks for this lineup to gel and become as effective as the Hawks line was at the end of last year. Luckily the defense and special teams have thus far been able to keep the first three games close enough for a less effective offense to break itself in with a new QB and several new linemen. It looks like those units will be called upon to keep that up a while longer.
This week’s opponent, the St. Louis Rams, have a significantly improved defense since last year so the Seahawks can expect a much tougher time in the trenches as Russell Wilson continues his development under Carroll’s “protect the ball-first” philosophy. The Rams are looking to get back even in wins and losses and remain in the hunt in the NFC West. This game has the potential to be a ‘let-down’ threat for the Seahawks who come in to St. Louis on a short week after a huge but controversial Monday Night Football win. This will be a test of the Seahawks ability to focus and move on to the next task. If they can win this week, even against a less formidable opponent than the last two, it will be another significant step towards being a legitimate playoff contender.