RENTON Pete Carroll says the Seahawks are not going to make personnel changes on their struggling offensive line.
So they are apparently pinning their hopes of improving that line -- and thus, the entire, slogging offense -- on the health of their top rookie’s sprained ankle.
“No, we are not considering any changes,” on the line, Carroll said Monday, the day after Seattle’s fewest points in five years resulted in a 9-3 loss at Los Angeles.
“We are looking to see if we get Germain back.”
Yes, Germain Ifedi has gone from injured starter to something of a would-be savior.
Carroll said how important Ifedi’s return will be, and that the 31st-overall pick in May’s draft is “really close” to making his NFL regular-season debut. Ifedi will test this week by running on the ankle he injured days before the Sept. 11 opener.
Ifedi was a star in training camp and in the preseason, the most aggressive and dominant of the offensive linemen, four of which are starting in new positions for Seattle this season. Then on the Wednesday before the opening game he got tangled with other linemen during a practice. He hasn’t been on the field since.
The continuity the new line had built all summer? Gone. J’Marcus Webb had to go from backup right tackle to starting left guard on the Thursday before the Sunday opener. He’s been mostly handled by Miami’s Ndamukong Suh and Los Angeles’ Aaron Donald during his two starts for Ifedi.
Meanwhile, Seattle has scored 15 points and one touchdown with an average of just 3.2 yards per rush -- and has a quarterback playing on a sprained ankle he got while getting sacked.
“Those are all legit,” Carroll said of those Ifedi-missing factors.
“We had good continuity throughout the preseason. We felt like we were intact for the running game. Things were getting stronger in the first four (preseason) looks at it -- and then there was some adjusting we had to do right there. It was a big shift. We shifted on Thursday of that week, so then you take a step back to go forward and we had to do that there.
”But two weeks into it now we need to go.”
Yes, they sure do.
Ifedi is the only option currently on the the roster to make this line, the league’s lowest paid, better.
The backup blockers Sunday at Los Angeles were rookie draft choices Joey Hunt for center and Rees Odhiambo for guard and tackle -- plus undrafted rookie tackle George Fant. He was a college basketball player at Western Kentucky.
Ifedi will try those run tests this week to play Sunday at home against San Francisco (1-1). But if I had to bet, it’s more likely he returns for game four, Oct. 2 at New York and the Jets’ nasty defensive front. The Seahawks’ bye week comes after that, but having to first face the Jets led by disruptive defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, Seattle likely can’t afford to shelve Ifedi until after the bye if he’s at all ready to go by next week.
If not before.
”We should be in pretty good shape and we should be able to get back to how we want to, and Germain is really close to getting back,” Carroll said. “He looks to be like a tremendous factor for us. We were really excited about him. So when he comes back out I wouldn’t be surprised if you see a little bit of difference because he was that impacting all throughout camp and the preseason all the way up to that Wednesday in practice.”