By John Boyle
J.R. Sweezy was one of the biggest surprises of the preseason, showing so much improvement as a rookie switching from defensive to offense that he was named the Week 1 starter at right guard. But now that John Moffitt is fully healthy, and Sweezy is coming off of a rough debut against the Cardinals, Moffitt will return to the starting spot at right guard that he held down last year through nine games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Moffitt had surgery on his elbow during training camp, which allowed Sweezy to take over the starting role, and while Moffitt had returned to practice, he wasn’t quite ready for game action last week, according to Carroll. Had Sweezy played well, we might be having a different conversation this week, but given his struggles, it’s not that surprising to see Moffitt back in the starting role.
“John’s going to start at right guard for us,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “It’s good to have him back in. He was almost there last week and if he makes it through the week solid and healthy, then we’ll get a chance to see John come back for us, which would be great.”
This doesn’t mean Sweezy will go back to being a backup and never be seen again, however. Carroll said Sweezy will likely play some this week, and that right guard will remain a competitive position for the Seahawks.
“The fact that John has a chance to come back, he’s ready to play again, John was starting before he got hurt,” Carroll said. “We’ll see how this goes. We feel like we have two guys that can play. Sweez has done a remarkable job to get this far, and he can only continue to improve and get better with every experience. This was really a challenge for him last week. I would expect J.R. to play in this game and be part of it regardless of if John starts the game. We’re counting on John to start until he can’t, but Sweez will be ready to play. We’ll just see how it goes from here. Is it competitive? Yeah, it’s a really competitive spot for us.”
And speaking of the offensive line, left tackle Russell Okung, who left last weekend’s game with a bone bruise on his knee, will not practice this week, and could see little time in practice all week, but the hope is that he will still play Sunday. Frank Omiyale will work with the first-team offense in Okung’s place, and would be the starter if Okung can’t play.
“Russell won’t practice today,” Carroll said. “He tried going and we’re going to wait until tomorrow and check him again. It looks like, the kind of bruise that he has, that he’ll be able get back by the weekend. It might be hard for him to get much work early, so we’ll just take it one day at a time. He’s planning on playing, we’re planning that he’ll get back, but Frank is ready to go in his place at this point and he’ll get all the work this week.”
The Seahawks are expecting to have Golden Tate back after he missed the opener with a sprained knee, and he will practice on a limited basis Wednesday. Receiver Doug Baldwin is also expected to be fine after having his two front teeth replaced Tuesday having broken both while attempting to make a diving catch Sunday. Receiver Charly Martin, who suffered a bruised lung, is back with the team after spending a night in an Arizona hospital, but is out for this week at least.
“He feels fine, he’s getting around fine, but it was just severe enough that he’s going to take a week or so to get back,” Carroll said. “We’ll see how long that takes.”