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Pete Carroll shares updates on the Seahawks offensive line competition

Oakland Raiders v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks are still getting into their groove when it comes to training camp, with the team just starting to wear pads and ease into hitting. After a long offseason in which there were no formal, on-site activities, and with almost another four weeks until the regular season opener against the Atlanta Falcons, there is no rush. That said, during his media time Monday, head coach Pete Carroll shared several updates on where things stand with the offensive line.

Starting in the middle of the line, here’s what he had to see about the center spot.

Thus, while B.J. Finney is the presumed starter because of the contract he was given in free agency, those fans who have been calling for Ethan Pocic to be given a shot should be pleased with this. In addition, when it comes to questions regarding Pocic and whether he’s also in consideration at the guard spots, according to Carroll he is not, at least for now.

The third name in the bunch, Kyle Fuller, is a name Seahawks fans are likely not familiar with, but is someone who could surprise some fans if given the shot. He’s not likely to play at a Pro Bowl level, but as a seventh round pick of the Houston Texans in 2017, he started two games as a rookie and has been on either a 53-man roster or practice squad since then. In short, he’s been good enough to stick around, but not quite good enough to break into the starting lineup. That means that with three seasons of practice under his belt and in his fourth training camp, he’s at the point where he has amassed enough practice reps that his play is likely to be at the level above that of a raw rookie.

So, with that in mind, here is a clip of him going head to head against third year defensive lineman Rasheem Green during practice Monday.

In any case, knowing that Pocic is working exclusively at center for the time being and is not in the competition at guard, here’s a look at what Carroll shared regarding the guard spots. Specifically, starting with the right side, Pete had a lot to say about rookie Damien Lewis, about whom he is obviously very excited.

So, Carroll’s obviously excited about the rookie, but what do things look like on the left side?

Mike Iupati played well as he managed to stay on the field for the majority of 2019, so him coming into 2020 as the starter is not a surprise. That said, competition from 2019 fourth round pick Phil Haynes and Jordan Simmons is good to see. Simmons flashed when given a shot to start three games in place of an injured D.J. Fluker in 2018, but his career has be slowed by injuries in both college and the NFL. If Simmons is able to stay healthy, he could be an extremely valuable contributor to the Hawks in the coming years, but as fans have come to know, that’s been a huge “if” for Simmons going all the way back to his college days.

The interesting question, of course, is who is projected as the backup on the right side behind Lewis. With Simmons and Haynes both in competition to potentially start on the left side, it would seem logical that either of them, both of whom have experience playing on the right side, would slide into the backup role on the right side.

However, there’s one name fans have asked about competing at guard, and that’s Jamarco Jones, who was rotating in with Haynes missing practice Monday due to injury.

Questions have surrounded Jones’ ability to perform at tackle in the NFL after his Week 16 performance against Chandler Jones of the Arizona Cardinals, which saw Jones tie a career high with four sacks and set a career high of six quarterback hits. In spite of concerns regarding his performance at tackle, his inclusion in the competition at guard is less of a concern given the fact that on the interior of the offensive line he’s less susceptible to speed rushers because the amount of ground needed to be covered is limited by the center and tackle. However, on the subject of struggling against speedier pass rushers, here’s what Bruce Irvin did to Jamarco on a pair of reps when they faced off in camp Monday.

That moves the discussion to the tackle position, where Duane Brown is the unquestioned starter at left tackle. Further, based on what Carroll had to say about free agent acquisition Brandon Shell, it doesn’t appear there is much question who the starter at right tackle is set to be.

That leaves Jones, Chad Wheeler, Tommy Champion and Cedric Ogbuehi battling for the backup tackle jobs. Carroll offered this insight on Ogbuehi during his press conference.

Ogbuehi is not just working at left tackle, however, as both he and Jones have been working at both tackle spots so far.

Wheeler is a player who offensive line coach Mike Solari also coached for the New York Giants in 2017, and who started five games as an undrafted rookie before starting 14 games for the G Men in 2018. He spent much of last season on the Seattle practice squad before a late season promotion to the active roster. His athletic profile is very similar to that of Jones, but Wheeler weighs in about 25 pounds heavier. That said, he’s also had problems with speedier pass rushers in the past, and here is a look at how he fared on a pair of reps against Shaquem Griffin, who might be the fastest pass rusher in the league.

That’s where things stand across the Seahawks offensive line, though with nearly a month more of practice before Week 1, things could certainly change due to injury or other factors.