Lemuel Jeanpierre an example of Seahawks' new depth
RENTON – Offensive lineman Lemuel Jeanpierre is a prime example of the difference in coach Pete Carroll’s first season back in the NFL – last year with the Seattle Seahawks – and his second season. It’s called depth.
Last year, Seattle used 10 different starting offensive line combinations, and had to rely on a mishmash of journeyman veterans, such as Chester Pitts, Stacy Andrews and Tyler Polumbus, to plug holes up front.
But now the Seahawks have developed enough depth behind their front-line starters that they’ve been able to weather losing three of the starting five offensive linemen to season-ending injuries this year.
That’s where Jeanpierre comes in. The 24-year-old player out of South Carolina was signed to Seattle’s practice squad last season after being cut by Kansas City during final roster cut-downs in September. Jeanpierre spent most of his first season in Seattle on the practice squad learning the ropes but was moved up to the active roster for the final two playoff games last January, although he was not active for either game.
However, the year on the practice squad helped prepare Jeanpierre for his role as the backup center and interior lineman this season. He’ll get his second start of the year on Monday at right guard, with Paul McQuistan moving from right guard to left tackle to replace Russell Okung – out for the year with a torn pectoral muscle.
“As a football player you just want to compete, you just want to get out there and play,” Jeanpierre said. “I want to get out there and just do anything I can to help the team. I’m very proud and happy that they have the faith in me to go in there and step in. I just have to go out there and work my butt off to prove them right.”
The Seahawks like Jeanpierre’s smarts and toughness. He started as a defensive tackle at South Carolina but after two years moved to the offensive line and excelled. He played both guard spots and center for the Gamecocks. Jeanpierre earned his degree in retailing in three and half years, and is working on his masters in sports management.
Along with ability to communicate effectively and read defenses up front, at 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, Jeanpierre also likes to mix it up.
“You put your hand in the ground and you’re in the trenches, it’s time to fight,” Jeanpierre said. “Once that ball’s getting snapped I’m making contact – that’s the best thing about being in the trenches, you’re going to hit somebody. It’s not like I can drop back and not get touched, you’re going to hit somebody. If not, something’s wrong.”
Even with all of the offensive line changes – the Seahawks will start their sixth different starting combination Monday – the one constant for that group has been offensive line coach Tom Cable.
Jeanpierre said the group relies on a steady diet of fundamentals, which has helped it continue to mesh and improve, evidenced by Seattle’s 100-yard rushing performances in each of the past five games.
“We’re trying to take on more of the attitude that Coach Cable has taught us,” Jeanpierre said. “He talks a lot about not saying much but just going out there and putting your work in. In football, it’s you versus the other man. It’s competition. We love to compete. We preach competition and believing. I think as we continue to do that and don’t let other things distract us – the season keeps going and we still believe.”
The origin of Jeanpierre’s unique name is French – his grandfather is from Haiti, and Jeanpierre’s home is in Orlando, Fla. His teammates call him Lem for short.
“He’s a strong kid,” Carroll said. “He’s real quick at the line of scrimmage. He’s one of our guys that we’ve raised him in the system, so he knows what’s going on and he communicates well.
“At center you have to do a lot of talking and all that, so that helps us. He can make sense of the calls and everything at guard. He has good flexibility in the positions that he can play and all of that.”
BROCK CHARGED WITH DUI
More than a year after the initial arrest, Seattle Seahawks receiver Raheem Brock has been charged with DUI in King County.
Brock will be arraigned in King County District Court on Dec. 21.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred just before 3 a.m. on Nov. 13 of last year – one day before the Seahawks’ game against Arizona. Brock was driving north on Interstate 5 at speeds up to 90 mph, after leaving a bar in the University District in Seattle, when he was pulled over by the State Patrol and arrested on suspicion of DUI.
According to a report by the Washington State Patrol, a preliminary breath test showed Brock’s blood-alcohol percentage to be 0.133. The legal limit is 0.08. Brock refused field sobriety tests and was taken to the UW Police Department, where two more tests came back at 0.115 and 0.111.
During the arrest, Brock asked the arresting officer, “You guys don’t take care of your athletes here?” When asked to clarify the statement, Brock responded, “Every time I have been stopped out east, Chicago, New Jersey and Philadelphia, the cops either followed me home or gave me a ride.”
According to the report, Brock was informed he would be processed just like anyone else.
Seattle Seahawks linebacker David Hawthorne has earned NFC defensive player of the week honors for the first time in his career for his effort against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
Hawthorne finished tied with fellow linebacker Leroy Hill with a team-high six tackles, and also intercepted a Vince Young pass in the flat intended for running back LeSean McCoy and returned it 77 yards for a touchdown.
Hawthorne is the second Seattle defensive player in three weeks to receive the award. Defensive end Chris Clemons was voted defensive player of the week for his effort three weeks ago against St. Louis, finishing with three sacks and two forced fumbles.
EAGLES’ COLE FINED
Philadelphia defensive end Trent Cole told Philadelphia-area reporters he was fined $7,500 by the league for his intentional slamming of Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Russell Okung on the turf at the end of the Seahawks 31-14 victory last week. The incident resulted in Okung suffering a torn pectoral muscle and being out for the rest of the season.
For a comparison, Seattle receiver Golden Tate was fined the same amount ($7,5000) for his touchdown celebration against Washington two weeks ago.
According to the report, Cole will not appeal the fine.
“I’m not a dirty player,” Cole told the Inquirer. “At the time, all the stuff that led up to that, there was a lot of stuff that happened in that game.
Watch that game closely and key on Okung and key on me you’ll see what I’m talking about.”
Cole bristled at his actions being compared to Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who was suspended for two games after stepping on Green Bay offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith’s arm after the play was over.
“They try to compare me to Suh up there,” Cole said. “You can’t compare me to that. I was in a situation.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks