Auditing the Seahawks Roster: Left Guard

Seattle needs better everything at guard. It is neither top heavy with talent nor deep with potential. It has one player with good potential that does not fit the scheme well and a host of generic offensive linemen and project players.

Rob Sims: Once upon a time, Rob Sims was probably the worst player you heard too much of. Mike Holmgren was never satisfied with Sims. Maybe it was holdover hostility for Ruskell losing Steve Hutchinson. Maybe Sims wasn't matched for Holmgren's demanding system of pull blocks. Maybe Sims was a more convenient target than Shaun Alexander. It seems almost implausible now, but many who followed the Seahawks, perhaps Holmgren believed it too, thought Sims was holding back Alexander in 2007.

I may have gotten too caught up defending Sims. I do not think I ever overstated his abilities, but rather I might have been too conservative for fear I would rile the Alexander partisans. You don't want to fight a battle on multiple fronts if you can avoid it, and to me defending Sims was auxiliary to identifying how awful Alexander had become.

Then Sims lost all of 2008. The debate was shelved. Talk ran to whether Julius Jones was fair, middling, mediocre or average. Mike Wahle showed us what good feet, good experience and a pair of arms hanging from zip ties could do - and could not do.

So it was with a bit of surprise that I saw Sims not just returning, returning to form or developing this season, but actually kicking ass. Sims was beginning to pair the steadiness and forgetability he had displayed as a pass blocker with mobility, lock down ability and dominance as a run blocker.

Then he got hurt again.

Sims is a restricted free agent this offseason. It could or should be a no brainer to retain him, but I am not sure it will be. Though Sims played tackle for part of his college career, and though Sims has good in-line quickness and straight line speed, he is not the prototypical, athletic-but-undersized zone lineman. He isn't tripping over his own feet anymore like he did in 2007, but he's not pulling out and commanding a position the way Wahle did in 2008, either.

This is a position Seattle can get better at. I've often thought of Sims as a right guard, regardless of where he played at Ohio State. But this isn't a position Seattle must upgrade to succeed. Sims is young, developing, a good pass blocker and, for at least one more season, cheap.

Mansfield Wrotto: Steve Vallos started over Wrotto last Sunday. Mr. Wrotto, say hello to Mr. Atkins.

Steve Vallos: Vallos has earned his stripes as the utility offensive lineman fans absolutely cringe at, "real" fans speak of in glowing coach speak, and real fans know is an interchangeable company man that will be cut and promoted to line coach the day he gets hurt, expensive or says "No."

"Vallos! Grab me that ShamWow, Matt needs to put his helmet on and it's sticking."

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