It’s been less than 10 months since 2nd year offensive lineman James Carpenter suffered a devastating knee injury, one that usually take over a year to come back from. At best, I expected Carpenter to be place on the PUP list to start the year, and I honestly didn’t think the team would get much of a contribution out of him this year, unless he was able to get on the field as a late season injury replacement. Clearly my expectations were too low.
Instead, Carpenter has been an upgrade at LG, and has created a tandem on that side that the Seahawks haven’t had since Walter Jones and Steven Hutchinson. And while the new kids in town might never be as good as their predecessors (No one will ever be as good as Big Walt was) this new tandem has a chance to be pretty darn good in their own right.
I’ll admit, I was skeptical of the decision to put Carpenter in at LG and move Paul McQuistan over to RG. The Okung-McQuistan duo on the left side was working, and providing a side of the line that the team could depend on to run behind when it had to, and I didn’t want to lose that.
Plus, Carpenter wasn’t exactly looking like an all-pro before his injury. With the lockout denying him the offseason before his rookie year, and with him having to play at RT where his lack of lateral agility was a liability, made Carpenter look like he might never develop into an NFL starter.
Instead, Carpenter has been great, and has proven me wrong time and again in the two games since he has returned from injury. In both games, When the Seahawks ran the ball behind Carpenter they averaged more yards per carry then behind any other player. The only running plays that were more effective, in either game, was runs to the outside on right side of the line. When running behind the blocking of the linemen, Carpenter has been the best option to lead the way.
On the pass blocking side of thing, he hasn’t been as good, but he also hasn’t been a liability. In 2 games, he’s given up 3 QB pressures and no sacks. He did give up a QB hit on Wilson though against Carolina, which is something that we can’t have.
Overall though, the returns have been good. Better than I’d thought they’d be. Better I think anyone could have realistically thought they’d be.