RENTON After two wholly unsatisfying games of the Seahawks’ offense getting stuck in its own way, coach Tom Cable said the competition’s on along his criticized line.
“Always, you know,” Seattle’s offensive line coach and assistant head coach said Wednesday, with a chuckle. “Always.”
The most obvious place the Seahawks could make a lineup change up front for Sunday’s game at Tennessee (1-1) is at right guard.
Mark Glowinski has started the first two games there, and it’s where he played in college at West Virginia two years ago. But last year’s starting left guard has been missing blocks and getting quarterback Russell Wilson chased if not drilled from the right side.
Oday Aboushi, a former part-time starter with the New York Jets and Houston Seattle signed this offseason, was competing last month with Glowinski at right guard. They alternated in practices and preseason games before Glowinski got the job. Aboushi adds poise, experience and knowledge of the Titans’ blitzing ways under guru defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, from Absoushi’s AFC days that ended in January.
“We will certainly find out this week with competition where we go with that,” Cable said of right guard.
That’s as close to a hint of a change a coach is going to give during a game week.
Head coach Pete Carroll was asked if there were going to be any changes on the offensive line before the Tennessee game. He didn’t say no, as he has in past weeks.
“Got to wait and see,” Carroll said. “Competition. Competing this week.”
Change might be a great idea this week in particular. The Titans and LeBeau of former “Blitzburgh” Steelers fame bring pressure from varying fronts, with guys seemingly coming out of the linebacking group, the secondary, even section 124 to hound opposing quarterbacks. If the Seahawks aren’t straight on their assignments, their footwork, their leverage, their quickness and just their plain blocking overall, Wilson is likely to have a looooooong, potentially painful Sunday in Nashville.
Cable said the team is weighing getting continuity from having the same five starters for consecutive games with making changes to avoid consecutive, substandard performances. Those are what the Seahawks have mostly gotten up front in the first two games.
What good’s continuity if you are continuing to miss blocks?
“That’s what you are battling,” Cable said. “But you’ve got to continue to get them to compete, until that gets done, until you know.”
So, I asked, you don’t know yet?
“We’re working at it,” he said.
Cable said new left tackle Rees Odhiambi, the fill-in since George Fant’s season-ending knee surgery last month, has been “very inconsistent.
“He’s had really good stretches, but the thing that jumps out at me is early in the game. That’s when he’s been really inconsistent. The later the game’s gone the better he’s been. So we are trying to really focus him on getting dialed in from the get-go with him.”
Fant posted a picture on his social-media accounts Wednesday showing his progress since surgery.
Cable said the team is working with right tackle Germain Ifedi on his timing on snaps. The coach acknowledged Ifedi could have been called for many false starts so far this season for coming out of his stance too early in an effort to get quicker to the outside against edge rushers.
Left guard Luke Joeckel was out of practice Wednesday resting his left knee he had surgically repaired in October when he was playing for Jacksonville. He returned to practice Thursday.
So the only Seahawks blocker without a clealy defined issue is Justin Britt. That’s why last season’s Pro Bowl alternate got a $27 million contract extension last month.
But there aren’t five Britts to go around.
Last weekend against the 49ers, the Seahawks had just two field goals into the fourth quarter and were destined for a second consecutive game with fewer than 300 total yards. Then Wilson took it upon himself to run on pass calls to extend the decisive drive that ended with his magical play for the go-ahead touchdown pass to Paul Richardson. And rookie Chris Carson rushed five times for 41 yards and three first downs to exhaust the final 4:47 on the clock and seal the win.
“I thought I saw a much better second half and obviously a really good finish to the game,” Cable said. “Early, maybe not enough of a rhythm with the back (Thomas Rawls, five carries, 4 yards). Some misreads (of running lanes).
“Targeting (whom to block was) much better than the week before, and that showed later in the game. And then, obviously, at the end, it was pretty good.
“So, some things that were better. The targeting, from week one to week two, 100-percent improvement in that regard.”
So now the Seahawks linemen are identifying the right foes to block. Yet as Wilson getting sacked three times and hit 10 other times by the 49ers showed, they often aren’t blocking them.
“At times very good, and at times it broke down,” Cable said of the pass protection. “I liked the actions, all of those things were fine. I think we were sacked three times, and really, one of them one of them was really unnecessary.”
Cable later amended that to two sacks being unnecessary. The third against the 49ers came when Wilson ran around in the second half without a defender about to hear him.
That and Wilson’s many off-target passes last weekend are the cumulative effects of all the pressure and hits he’s taken already this season.
“If you are not poised after the snap and you can stay calm about it and deal with it, then it doesn’t matter if you make the right call or not, you are going to misfire (on throws),” Carroll said. “There is a lot to it. It is an incredible part of the game that it is hard to really appreciate for people that watch, how much is going on and how difficult it is for a guy to execute under those circumstances.
“So it is a magnificent part of the game and the challenge that the quarterbacks have every week.”
Especially Seattle’s. Especially right now.