Seahawks offensive line battling early injuries
By Dan Viens
The Seattle Seahawks offensive line, already in the midst of a complete rebuild, is battling injuries as the team goes through OTA’s.
Is it too early to panic in regards to the Seahawks offensive line?
Over the last couple months we’ve seen the Seattle brain trust completely tear down the offensive front that caused so many problems for the team in 2015. Veterans Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy were allowed to walk in free agency, while the team added new players through the draft and free agency.
The newcomers all arrive with mixed reviews, not a sure thing among them. “The plan” seemed to be to throw as much new talent and competition at the position as possible, coach them up, and hope for the best.
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But as the team convened in Renton, WA this week for the first full squad off season practices, they weren’t even able to get all their best linemen on the field at the same time.
Garry Gilliam, the projected starting left tackle, is on the shelf after having a cyst removed from his knee. At the same time his projected bookend at right tackle, J’Marcus Webb, is sidelined with a calf strain.
Minor injuries, to be sure, but when you’re projected starting lineup includes nary a single player at the same spot as the 2015 squad, continuity is everything.
Head coach Pete Carroll said shortly after the draft that they would like to figure out who the starters are going to be as early as possible, in order to get them as many reps together during the preseason. But so far, that hasn’t happened.
This week in practice, here is your “first team” offensive line:
- LT – Bradley Sowell
- LG – Mark Glowinski
- C – Justin Britt
- RG – Germain Ifedi
- RT – Terry Poole
From that group, only Glowinski and recent first round pick Ifedi are locks to start. Britt is trying to convert to center after failing as both a starting tackle and guard, but the team still has last year’s starter Patrick Lewis and 6th round draft pick Joey Hunt in the competition as well. Meanwhile, Sowell and Poole aren’t even givens to make the final roster.
The good news is, Webb is only expected to miss about 10 days while Gilliam’s recovery time shouldn’t be much longer.
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But if this line is to give the Seahawks the kind of upgrade they want, and need, in order to get the most out of all the new weapons they have on offense, they’re going to have to get and stay healthy. Then, and only then, will we know just how good they might be.
Regardless, starting the process with your two starting tackles on the shelf is anything but ideal.