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“I’m the most excited coach”: Tom Cable addresses state of offensive line after OTAs

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Seahawks blocking guru loves “good brain” and the rest of the development and competition among Seattle’s young front unit

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable spoke Friday after organized team activities practice:

In charge of the unit facing the most pressure to improve after dismal 2015 and 2016 seasons, Cable focused on the value of experience for Seattle’s young line, nearly all of whom are moving or did move to a new spot or new team within the last year—or both at once. Asked about George Fant, for example, the left tackle who started nine games in 2016 while learning the sport entirely, Cable mentioned the advancement of the whole 2016 rookie class, naming Germain Ifedi, Joey Hunt, Rees Odhiambo, as well as third-year guard Mark Glowinski moving back and forth from left to right (with Ifedi now at tackle, Glowinski worked with the first team at right guard in OTAs).

“They all have matured a year. They understand what we’re doing,” Cable said. “... Those were young kids last year with no experience, in George’s case zero experience. And now they’ve been through it a year. So you can expect us to be much further along in our preparation as we get ready for camp.”

Of course what else is he gonna say? But it’s a fair point, and later in the conversation with reporters Cable seemed to acknowledge some relief to be reaching the part of a rebuilding project with still raw players yet moving toward more continuity in the group. Cable mentioned the growing leadership of center Justin Britt and he also praised general manager John Scheider with the front office as well as Pete Carroll for executing such a daring upheaval up front. “I’m the most excited coach on the staff right now,” Cable said. “I appreciate them putting this back together in a year’s time, and we’re looking forward to getting ready to go.”

Some of the talk was more measured (“We have made some progress on being ready to go to training camp” which sounds like when I tell myself I’m almost ready to get out of bed) and Cable emphasized he can’t project placements at positions for any players by now (“Everybody’s learning through spots really”). Cable spoke about the adaptability of rookie Ethan Pocic and described the progress for undrafted free agency Jordan Roos. Cable said Roos “exceeded what we hoped for” but added: “He’s not ready to play yet.”

Otherwise, amid the general encouragement and praise appropriate for this hopeful moment of the offseason, one particular point of compliment stood out in Cable’s words—perhaps revealing the attribute that attracts him most in an offensive lineman.

Asked what he likes from free agent addition Luke Joeckel, working his way slowly back from knee surgery, Cable said: “His brain. His understanding of it. You can see his experience level.”

About Ifedi: “His size, his brain, all that fits for what we’re trying to do.”

On former New York Jet and Houston Texan Oday Aboushi, competing at guard: “Veteran. Good brain. Mature. Keeps a room right.”

Naturally, it makes sense for Cable, who talks so much about learning and understanding contributing to the development of these players and execution of his scheme, to so admire the athletes’ mental qualities. Still it lends a bit of insight into the focus for what will be probably the most watched position group in the preseason.

As for Aboushi, Cable continued appreciating the vet heading to camp with his third team in five seasons, “It’s nice to have a guy demand from others to be a pro.... is a pro, knows what it takes from his body, ... from his study time, all that.” Aboushi also spoke with reporters Friday and seemed in agreement with both Cable’s take on his purpose on the Seahawks roster and the situation with the younger guys. “Showing guys what it is to be a lineman in this league,” Aboushi said. “I’m a lineman. I’ve been in the league a long time. I’ve seen a lot. I’ve played a lot of games. So it’s just a matter of bringing guys along.”

Watch Aboushi’s press conference here.

Aboushi revealed that when he met with Cable during his free agent visit to Seattle, the coach surprised him by spending “three hours” talking to the 26-year-old New Yorker. Aboushi said he expected more like 30-40 minutes, so the attention and perhaps intellectual engagement(?) from the assistant head coach made the decision to join Cable on the Seahawks, ironically, a “no-brainer”.

Queried what he had heard in advance about his new teammates, the famously-scapegoated Seattle offensive line, Aboushi spilled that he knew a thing or two when he signed up.

“You hear a lot about them,” Aboushi said. “You know the Seahawks are always in the news.”