Dec 23, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant (79) is introduced before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Seahawks Roster Battles: In The Trenches

This is part 2 of my look at the roster battles that we’ll be watching once training camp rolls around in a couple weeks. Yesterday, we looked at the offensive skill positions. Today, the “big uglies” are under the spotlight, as we examine the offensive and defensive lines.

January 25, 2013; Ko Olina, HI, USA; NFC tackle Russell Okung of the Seattle Seahawks (76) lines up at the line of scrimmage during practice at NFC media day for the 2013 Pro Bowl at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Line (10)

Locks: Russell Okung, Max Unger, James Carpenter, JR Sweezy, John Moffitt

On The Bubble: Paul McQuistan, Breno Giacomini, Lemuel Jeanpierre, Rishaw Johnson, Ryan Seymore, Jared Smith, Michael Bowie, Alvin Bailey, Mike Person

Longer Odds: Jake Bscherer

I’m sure I’ll get some grief for putting Giacomini on the bubble, but the team could use the cap space that cutting him would create. If one of the other tackles, especially Bowie, were to show they’re ready for playing time, Giacomini would be cut. It’s unlikely, but it is a possibility.

Paul McQuistan is another one that most people wouldn’t expect to be on the bubble. The problem is that he’s making substantially more than a backup guard should make, and given the team’s cap situation, he’s unlikely to make the final 53 man roster. His only hope may be an injury to one of Moffitt, Carpenter or Sweezy.

Defensive Line (10 +1)

Locks: Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, Brandon Mebane, Bruce Irvin, Jesse Williams, Jordan Hill

On The Bubble: Tony McDaniel, Jaye Howard, Kenneth Boatright

Longer Odds: Michael Brooks, Benson Mayowa, Clinton McDonald

This unit could have 9 or 10 roster spots. Last season, the team kept 9 for most of the year. This year, I believe they’ll carry 10 defensive linemen, simply because Avril and Irvin will be seeing playing time at strong-side LB as well as at defensive end. Because of this, I expect the Seahawks to carry an extra pass rushing DE, and one less LB than they did a year ago.

The “+1″ is Bruce Irvin, who will start the year on the suspended list, and thus will make the team but not count against the 53 man limit until after week 4. Greg Scruggs will spend the entire year on injured reserve, and thus isn’t included even though he is on the 90 man roster.

7 of the other 10 spots are already accounted for, leaving 3 additional spots left to be claimed. A lot of who makes it likely depends on whether or not Chris Clemons is ready for significant playing time in week 1. If he’s not, then Boatright will make the team because he’s the only pass rusher who could fill in.

If Clemons is 100%, or very close to it, then the team may try and get by with just him, Avril, and Bennett as pass rushing DEs until Irvin returns. This will allow them to keep an extra inside player, or a true backup for 5-technique DE Red Bryant, or possibly an extra LB.

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  • hawkman54

    The main issue last year ( after the first few games of Breno’s penalties) was at ORG. That caused many of Breno’s issues as well. No one played well at that position last year. McQuistan was the best guard they had, so until Carpenter is fully healthy and they figure out what to do at ORG I say they would be fools to dump either guy!

    • 12thMan_Rising

      To blame Breno’s struggles on the RG makes no sense. He guy is a poor blocker, and makes way too many mistakes. The play at OG wasn’t great (Carpenter was pretty damn good for a coulpe games until his knee started acting up again) but there’s plenty of reason for hope there.

      Carp and Moffitt will be healthy for the first time since early in their rookie seasons, and Sweezy will have another training camp to work on his technique. He was servicabel at the end of the year in first year as an offensive linemen. Imagine how much better he’ll be when he actually gets a chance to learn how to use his hands and feet properly.

      • hawkman54

        Have watched all the games -AGAIN and to say that Breno was at fault for many of the breakdowns on the right side is just in accurate. It was mainly at ORG , and is blatantly obvious. NOW I am not saying he is a top notch ORT but he is as of now the best they have. I feel after watching Again that the most need of improvement is obviously needed at ORG – Hoping Carp is healthy and plugs in at OLG.

        • 12thMan_Rising

          The coaches tape means we don’t have to look at the right side as a unit, but can look at the play of individuals. I don’t blame Breno for the mistakes of the RG, but for his own mistakes, such as: getting beaten around the corner by speed rushers, getting driven straight back into the pocket but bull rushers, not getting the DE to the ground on outside zone runs, getting beating across his body to the inside by the DE on runs designed to be run through the B gap, and by whiffing on blocks on LBs at the 2nd level on inside zone runs.

          Breno’s play was poor enough that it forced the Seahawks to keep Zach Miller in to block way more than he should have, and was lined up on the right side 91% of the time when he pass blocked. Breno’s play didn’t get any better when McQuistan was moved to RG either.

          Everyone needs to stop making excuses for his poor play. The RG didn’t do any of those things, or commit the 3rd most penalties of any player in the league, for the most net yards of any player in the league.

          • hawkman54

            I saw a small amount of what you stated but not the amount of breakdowns that were obvious at the ORG spot. Would I like an upgrade , YOU BET, But until someone steps up I don’t see any sense on trashing him when others were worse!

          • 12thMan_Rising

            It’s not a matter of others being worse. It’s his performance not coming close to the $4.25 mil cap # he’s going to have. If the team can re-coup that without a major drop off in production (it would be tough for there to be a huge drop off, considering how poorly he played) then they will take it. They need to cap space, and it’s an obvious place to get it.

          • hawkman54

            I can see them doing that after this year , when several players come up for contracts. Hopefully he plays better or they have a young guy emerge. Dollars aside I am still more concerned with the ORG spot , or at least hoping they find their guy there and Carp can remain healthy for the left side.

  • davidgwilliams

    Giacomini also has a history of critical mental errors such as blocking players a few seconds after the whistle. His penalties could cost the Sehawks a drive or two in a close game.