A Down to Earth Look at the Seahawks Offensive Line

It’s been a while since I’ve written about football. Aside from a few comments and tweets here and there, the last six months of my life have been mostly void of football. I expected the void to be crushing, like the end of a high school relationship. Instead, it was voluntary. I used to write for my own blog. I may start writing for Field Gulls. Danny was kind enough to offer while we spoke over beers at a mostly empty Great Nabob in Seattle. Nothing beats a PBR and good company. And I just might do it. But who am I kidding? You don’t care! Onward.

I’m excited about the Seahawks’ new (and existing) offensive line talent. One could argue the merit of using your first two picks on offensive linemen with as many glaring needs as the Seahawks (still) have, but that’s what happened and James Carpenter and John Moffitt are who we’ve got.

I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter (not necessarily here, but in general) that the Seahawks have a shiny new offensive line (which conveniently includes a free agent named Robert Gallery) and an amazing new line coach to whip them into shape. Things are peachy and domination is nigh. Peachy enough to re-sign and start Matt Hasselbeck, in fact. Excuse my rolling eyes. They’ve got minds of their own.

Well I’m here to slap those rose colored glasses off your face. (In the case that you're a large, imposing person: to ask politely for you to remove them from your face).

As it stands, the Seahawks offensive line has a new coach, four new faces, and gobs of inexperience. The presumed starting line is made up of four guys that have two years of NFL experience combined (that’d be Max Unger and Russell Okung; and I’m being generous with Russell’s ‘year’). The fifth guy is nothing but an outline with a question mark for a face. And here’s the maraschino on top:  an extended lockout could very well wipe out OTAs, training camp and even the preseason. You know: time that’s invaluable to young players and to units (such as the offensive line) that rely on unity and coordination.

So when cohesive, veteran units like the Giants’ defensive line line up across from our offensive line [of newbies], how do you think they’ll fare?

Listen, I’m not trying to be a Debbie downer, here. I’m trying to level-set expectations. I think it’s important to understand the situation our team is in. And the labor conflict will likely only exacerbate the issue that the Seahawks offensive line, despite now being chalk with talent, needs serious time to develop and gel. And that time simply doesn’t exist in the 2011 season (even if the lockout ends tomorrow).

I’m VERY excited to see this unit grow. I’m excited to see John Moffitt to disengage from double teams, pull into the second level with Beast Mode in tow and bulldoze over Patrick Willis. For James Carpenter to collapse opposing defensive lines and set an edge that even I could use to net positive rushing yards. And to see Russell Okung show 49ers fans that Aldon Smith ain’t shit. And you know: I’m even going to bet these things will happen in 2011. I’m confident they will. But be patient with the mistakes, the blown assignments. Because they’ll happen.

And you know, I’m happy they’ll be happening now: when Seattle is in the beginning stages of rebuilding. When the quarterback getting crushed isn’t our future franchise guy, but simply a bridge to something better. Because when that something better strolls onto the practice field day one as a Seahawk, he’ll set up under center for the first time, look down each side of the offensive line and he’ll smile. And so will all of us.


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