Tom Cable was on Sports Radio KJR with Ian Furness and Jason Puckett yesterday and had a few interesting little tidbits to share. Cool intro, Danny. Let's get into it.
When Cable was asked if waiting until the 7th round was a commentary on how he feels about the players he already has on his line, Cable responded:
"Well, yes. We had some guys targeted that blew up into the first round, and we had thought we could - that they'd be there - in the 2nd or 3rd. And, obviously, as everyone is aware of, this was a very abnormal year. People got nervous, so they over drafted the offensive line."
So - who is Cable referring to? Luke Jeockel, Eric Fisher, Chance Warmack, Lane Johnson, Jonathan Cooper and D.J. Fluker were all projected first rounders - but Travis Frederick, Kyle Long and Justin Pugh went in the first as well, with Menelik Watson going off the board early in the 2nd. My guess is that Seattle had Long, Watson and Pugh graded in that 2nd/3rd round area and would have perhaps taken a shot on any of them if they were around at that point. No such luck, obviously. So Seattle sat on their hands until the 7th round when it came to offensive linemen.
"I like who I have (on the offensive line) and who's on our team right now, so it wasn't important to say, well, 'John, Pete, we gotta do this!" We don't have to do that. What we need to do is bring guys in here and develop and make the depth of our team better."
'Develop and make our team better.' That's the key here - Ryan Seymour and Michael Bowie in particular strike me as guys that can come in immediately and make the roster, providing some developmental depth as the 9th and 10th guys at that position. Jared Smith seems like more of a practice squad type project - stash him for a year and develop his skills and athleticism and hope you've found a guy that's a quality backup at best. That's how it works. The developmental depth factor is something you have to consider, as 7th round picks aren't typically expected to come in and even make the roster necessarily, but certainly not make the starting lineup. It's fun to think these guys will come in and be Pro Bowl types in a year or two, but the odds are way, way against that. I'm hoping for them to become quality depth, and then work from there.
Cable essentially said this - and when asked about why Seattle spent another pick on a convert type, he put it quite bluntly:
"Well, the fact there weren't enough good offensive linemen to draft - I think that was the issue. You saw all the linemen go early in this draft - and as a draft, it kind of filtered down, round by round. The good players became fewer and fewer and really, we didn't have the advantage in terms of guys still sitting there when it was our pick. So, you know, you do your homework, and you dig, you scrape it up, and you find a guy that fits what you're trying to do, and has the brain to do it, and then you just make the pick and convert him."
There weren't enough good offensive linemen to draft. Haha. Honesty.
On Smith, specifically:
"Yeah, you know first of all, I've done this a couple times before with guys in college, so doing it at this level, there's some experience (for me) at doing it. He answered the question the same way that J.R. did: That is, 'what do you think about moving to offensive line after being a defensive lineman your whole career?' and he said 'I don't care what I do, I just want to play.' And, that's where you start. If they're open to it that way, then you've got a chance. Then, you figure out if he's got a skill set athletically, mentally, and he's certainly a tough kid. So, it's another project, and we'll try it again."
As for Seymour, what did Cable see in the Vanderbilt offensive lineman?:
"The fact that he has played everywhere on the line, and just that he has the ability to be so versatile. He's played both tackles, he's played both guards, he's snapped the football, both under center and in shotgun. I think he's a valuable guy in that he's done so much - now let's see if he can add here (adhere?) to what we do."
With Seattle not adding any major names on the offensive line, Cable essentially noted that there will be a very high-level competition at right guard between John Moffitt and J.R. Sweezy (plus Seymour - and he didn't mention Rishaw Johnson but I think he could be there too), there will be a strong competition at left guard between James Carpenter and Paul McQuistan, and he said that Michael Bowie will compete with Breno Giacomini at right tackle. For what it's worth, I think that Alvin Bailey will be in the mix at both guard and tackle. This is a good, solid unit - and odds are they're going to be having to drop one or two quality players when it's said and done.
Regardless, things on the line in 2013 will likely be somewhat similar, if not hopefully more continuous. When asked if he is hoping for a big jump from 2012 to 2013, Cable responded;
"Well, the young guys for certain. You know, as a group, we probably made the big stride last year. When you finish third in rushing and you take off 17 sacks from the year before, you convert in critical situations at a higher percentage, they're doing something right. So this year, we're going to see if we can accomplish all those and then some."
So - development and depth. Improve as a unit.
With Percy Harvin added to the equation, can you devise crazy new stuff with the new players you've acquired, or is it all run-first offense still?
Cable: "I think so, I think so. But at the end of the day though, if we're going to win a championship, it's going to come our way by pounding people. We'll always run the football."
God I love that.
"The thing that's exciting though is that we have these weapons now to score points with. I'm just excited with the growth of Russell, getting Percy on board, with Sidney, and Zach Miller, and Marshawn in the backfield, and Golden Tate, and Doug Baldwin. You start thinking: 'to win in this league, you have to score points, and to do that you have to throw the ball, but to close people out and be really good you gotta run it. So, I hope we're headed toward the right kind of balance, if you will."
More from Cable:
"Two things: One, I asked him - 'how much are you different now, from you to me, how much are you different now from when you started?' - and just kind of hear him out, to hear where he's at. And then I sat down and made a cutup of every error he made last year that was related to inexperience, and that's kind of been his offseason program. He's done a great job with it, you know, very diligent, and as of today, he's miles away of where he was at the end of the season, so good things ahead.
When a defensive line would stem or move on him, - so he went from covered to uncovered or visa versa right before the snap - with experience, your rules would just kick right in, and they're not set in stone for him quite yet, or at least they weren't during the season. So, if they moved, and gave him a different picture, you know, just a couple seconds before the snap, he might have some trouble. And, as the season went on, he got better. So, I'd say that that's the biggest issue. Physically? Not an issue for him, this guy's a real stud."
ON RIGHT GUARD:
"We don't really have any starters; I know that the media or fans would look at it and say 'this guy's the starter' - we don't look at it that way. We've got a couple of guys - a few guys - lining up at right guard and they're all going to compete. And, we'll just kind of let it get settled in camp and through the pre-season."
ON BRENO GIACOMINI:
"People right now have a sour taste because in the first six games he's got nine penalties, and he doesn't really have his emotions under control - you kind of want him there on the edge but maybe not over the edge - but the second half of the season, he had two penalties, so people need to get over that. That's important to know. This guy - our mindset, how we play the game as a team - I would say you put him right at the front of that in terms of competing, and tough, and finish, and he's a guy that we know has some limitations athletically, but you get everything he's got and then a little bit more, and that's like gold."
ON JOHN MOFFITT:
(What do you need to see out of Moffitt this year?): "Consistency. That's how you make this team, one, and that's how you become a backup that gets put in the game and ultimately a starter, because as you mentioned earlier, we have a bunch of nice players. You know, we like our team, but it's going to come down to consistency. And, if you start to fail and you start to be up and down, you'll find yourself either on the bench or not on this football team pretty quick."
ON JAMES CARPENTER:
"He's a left guard. That's what he is. When we drafted him, our greatest need was at right tackle, so it was a great way to bring him in as a rookie and get him started and learning the game, but unfortunately he got hurt. He's doing well now, he's back on his feet; he's not 100% but I'd guess he's somewhere close. So, we'll take care of this thing through spring football here and get him ready for camp, and I'm pretty excited about James and his return, and what he can bring to us."