Seahawks offensive line shows promise/problems in camp

Jul 30, 2016; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks tackle Garry Gilliam (79) performs a drill during training camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 30, 2016; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks tackle Garry Gilliam (79) performs a drill during training camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

The offensive line for the Seattle Seahawks is a work in progress. Some aspects look good, while others are still major issues.

The biggest question mark for the Seattle Seahawks is their offensive line. They have no players back starting in the same position as last year. The weakest link of last year’s team has undergone a major overhaul.

It is still early, but the first four days of camp have made an impression. There are some good signs, and some other things that are definitely a concern.

Today’s off-day represents a good chance to pull together my notes from the first few practices and look for some overall trends. There are some definite positives and negatives in terms of the overall state of the offensive line.

Positive: These guys play with an edge

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One of the interesting storylines from the last couple of days has been scuffles between the offensive and defensive lines. The first was Germain Ifedi and Michael Bennett. Later it was Justin Britt and Jarran Reed. Mark Glowinski also got into it with Deangelo Tyson.

Make no mistake, this is what you want to see from offensive linemen. These guys need to play with an edge and want to physically dominate the man across from them. They can’t simply be going through the motions.

Negative: the competition at center is already decided

Despite what is being said by the coaches, there is only one player being considered for the starting job at center. Justin Britt is the only player getting reps with the starters. There’s no rotation, and no attempt to get anyone else used to playing with the new guards.

Like it or not, Britt is the guy. He’s playing a position he’s never played before. Center is also much tougher to play than guard, and Britt was a terrible guard.

Positive: Glowinski looks like a veteran

Unlike all the other raw-but-talented youngsters on the offensive line, Mark Glowinski knows what he’s doing. His hand placement is good. There’s no wasted motion in his footwork. Everything he does looked incredibly natural.

I still expect there to be some growing pains for Glow this season. I’m also not worried about him overall. He’s the lineman I’m most confident about at this time.

Negative: Everything about J’Marcus Webb

Monday’s practice was a demonstration of everything I’d feared about Webb. He’s really slow and almost always over-extended. He’s grabby. He changes directions slower than the Titanic.

Perhaps worse than all of that though was that Webb was also a false-start machine. I counted three false starts that were called on him just during team drills. There also also a few other plays that looked like penalties but they weren’t called.

Positive: Germain Ifedi’s size and strength

One thing that stood out was just how big rookie Germain Ifedi is. He looks big even compared to the other linemen. Seeing him standing next to Russell Wilson and Zac Brooks was mildly entertaining.

Ifedi is a guy that the defenders just can’t move. He stonewalled Michael Bennett’s attempt to bull-rush. He anchored against Jarran Reed and pushed him out of the A gap.

His feet are slow in pass protection, which is an issue that’ll likely never go away. As a guard though, it won’t matter much. Instead, he looks like an absolute road grader in the middle.

Negative: The pass rushers are winning…

This is especially noticeable in 1 on 1 drills. Most of Seattle’s offensive linemen are simply too slow and unrefined to slow down Seattle’s pass rushers.

Some of that has to do with the quality of guys like Michael Bennett and Frank Clark, but not all of it. The Seahawks only have a couple offensive linemen with the foot speed necessary to win these battles.

Positive: …but it might not matter

To say that Russell Wilson is having a great camp so far would be an understatement. He’s getting the ball out of his hand so quickly that the defense hasn’t been able to get close to him, poor pass blocking and all.

If this trend continues, Wilson will be able to negate a great deal of Seattle’s issues up front. If the pass blocking ever does solidify the way we expect it to, than the offensive is going to be virtually unstoppable.