Whenever someone asks a seahawks fan about guards we usually try to change the subject.
Ever since the poison pill the Seahawks' guard position seemed to be cursed. Players came and went without impact and it was regularly deemed a must improve position on a yearly basis.
Even after winning the SB most pundits marked the guard position as the 1st priority for the draft with the likes of XioFilo or Yankley predicted to be our first pick.
The FO however showed zero interest in looking for top guards during FA and later in the draft.
IMO they know something we don't.
As we roll into OTA's it seems like the guard positions are locked, loaded and ready to go. 2014 may indeed be the year that we could proudly mention our guards again.
There are 3 elements to evaluate when trying to evaluate a guard: Physical capabilities, Technical capabilities and Team play. Let's see how our gurds measure on those –
Going into the draft at 2012 Sweezy was a "high motor try-hard defensive tackle/end with stiff movement skills and suspect upper body strength". What do we have now?
Physical capabilities: At his combine Sweezy measured at 6'5", 298 pounds, 34 inch arms, 5.01 40, 21 bench press, 36 inch vert, 113 inch broad jump and 7.40 3 cone. All are solid numbers for a defensive lineman but nothing to write home about. However, when you take those numbers and compare them to the numbers posted by the 2014 offensive lineman you find the following –
5.01 40 – ranked 6th.
113 broad jump – ranked 3rd.
7.40 3 cone – ranked 5th.
4.41 20 yard shuttle – ranked 3rd.
36 vertical jump – RANKED FIRST FOR OL IN THE PAST DECADE.
Consider me positively impressed.
As for his "suspect upper body strength" – He starts 2014 at a ripped 315 pounds so whatever strength he needs is there in spades.
Technical capabilities: Well, it isn't easy being Sweezy. When he was tossed on the field in 2012 without instincts and muscle memory built over years of play, one fact was clear immediately – He needs to get a hell of a lot better at his technical skills. As time went by another fact became clear – He does get better at it, step by step. It's been 2 years and Sweezy is working on it and getting better. With another full off season under his belt he just might be a solid guard technically entering his 3rd year. Again, he will not be a great technical specimen but a solid one.
Team play: Entering his 3rd year under PC Sweezy should be fully versed on what's expected of him. Playing 18 games during 2013 he should provide cohesive play and much needed continuity.
Sweezy Summery: 2014 Sweezy should be a semi veteran on this line, providing continuity and understanding of his role. Solid technical play combined with off the charts physical capabilities should make him a positive plus on the OL this year.
Carp is in many ways the total opposite of Sweezy. He was a 1st. round offensive tackle from mighty Alabama at the 2011 draft. He was described as " Carpenter is a highly-durable player who has been able to stay on the field during his career. Has the height and build you look for at the offensive tackle position. Does a good job in pass protection against the speed and bull rush. Possesses the athletic ability to get to the second level when run blocking."
As durable as Carp was in his college career, he proved to be just the opposite during his first 3 years in the NFL. He never had a full season of health missing 2 of his 3 off seasons tending to injuries and playing less then half of the time.
What can we expect from his 4th contract year?
Physical capabilities: Carp is a mountain of a man. He was listed as 325 pounds on 2014 but he looked way over 340 and played accordingly (an out of shape dancing bear is not a pretty sight...). He looked winded a lot and failed to make his size felt on many occasions. Entering 2014 Carp looks ready. He is back to his 320 weight and looks ripped. Being finally in peek shape may enable him to display his fast legs and put his size to good use.
Technical capabilities: Carp knows the game. He knows what to do and how to do it. If he is finally in top shape he may finally be able to show everything he knows. He has always been his best against Justine Smith. It's time to see the same at the other 14 games of the season.
Team play: Entering his 4th year under PC he should be another plus on this OL as far as understanding and continuity.
Carp Summery: If 2014 Carp can stay at peek physical shape and play at the level he displayed at the end of 2013 and better we may have a new cornerstone on the OL. It's his contract year so it's really now or never. I believe it will be now.
There are a lot of "ifs" about both guards but I have a feeling that the FO and coaching stuff are happy with what they have. I think they could play a major part in an offensive line that will surprise a lot of people at 2014.