Seahawks dancing O-line shuffle again
ERIC D. WILLIAMS; Staff writer
RENTON – The Seattle Seahawks could not make it through the first week of the regular season without making changes to the starting offensive line heading into Sunday’s opener at San Francisco.
What seemed like dabbling on Monday became more solidified on Wednesday, when rookie James Carpenter took most of his repetitions with the first unit at left guard for a second day in place of an injured Robert Gallery.
Gallery, the Oakland Raiders veteran, suffered a sprained knee playing against his former team in Seattle’s last exhibition game and has not practiced this week.
With Carpenter working at left guard, fourth-year pro Breno Giacomini has been working at right tackle with the first unit.
The Seahawks used 10 different starting offensive line combinations last season, and they appear headed down a similar path. Second-year pro Russell Okung missed most of the exhibition season with a sprained left ankle suffered in the first series of Seattle’s exhibition opener at San Diego, but he now appears fully healthy and was a full participant in practice Wednesday alongside Carpenter.
“We’re just trying to figure it out and see what’s best for us,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “Breno has done really well in preseason. We’re really excited about him. If that’s the way we go, we feel good about him playing right tackle. It just depends on how James goes.
“But he’s (Carpenter) very much at home at that side. We’re lucky in that regard that we have a chance to have this option possible. We’ll see what happens.”
The left-handed Carpenter played left tackle in college at Alabama, so he’s comfortable playing on the left side of the offensive line. One of the reasons Seattle drafted him was his ability to play all positions on the line except center. Some draft analysts projected Carpenter as an NFL guard because of his ability to run block.
Center Max Unger, the veteran on Seattle’s offensive line in only his third season, said change is just something the guys up front have to deal with.
“It’s a little bit different,” Unger said. “But we’ve got to plug and play. I think that’s kind of the nature of the beast. But it’s nothing crazy. There’s no real shocker. On the O-line, a lot of the positions are pretty interchangeable. So any time we can build depth like this it really does help. … James obviously has been thrust into a tough spot, but in the end it will help him.”
Another element the Sea-hawks will have to deal with is the fact they faced just one 3-4 defensive front during exhibition play – in the first game against San Diego – so figuring out where guys will be lined up will be key.
“We’ve been practicing in training camp, making sure that we focus days on it because rules are different in terms of protection,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “So we’ve had to work on it.”
Offensive lineman Robert Gallery (knee), wide receiver Sidney Rice (shoulder) and offensive tackle Jarriel King (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday. Linebacker David Hawthorne (knee) was a limited participant, and running back Marshawn Lynch (ankle) was a full participant and was not listed on the team’s injury report. Carroll said that he would have to see Gallery and Rice do some things on the field to know where they stand for Sunday’s game. “Both guys have to get out and run around and do some stuff, but less than a younger guy,” Carroll said. “Obviously, Robert has been around. He knows his calls, he knows what’s going on and he’ll be able to pick it up. Sidney is very clearly in the same boat.” … The Seahawks announced that tight end John Carlson underwent successful arthroscopic shoulder surgery on Monday for his left-shoulder instability at Seattle Surgery Center. The surgery was performed by team doctor Ed Khalfayan.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks