By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — It would be a heck of a learning experience if only J.R. Sweezy had any desire to remember it.
Last season, when the Seattle Seahawks opened their season in Arizona, Sweezy, who had only moved from defense to offense earlier that year, started his first NFL game at right guard.
And let’s just say it didn’t go well.
Sweezy had been a defensive tackle in college, but the Seahawks drafted him with the intention of moving him to guard. Nobody, however, expected he’d do well enough to be, in his words, thrown to the wolves in Week 1. And in retrospect, lining up against Pro Bowl defensive end Darnell Dockett might have actually been worse than tangling with wolves.
“I felt ready,” Sweezy said. “I felt good to go. Then they did some stuff that I’d never seen before, moving around wise. I tried to do the best I could. Now looking back, I can’t even watch the film, it makes me sick watching it. I missed so many calls. … I’ve tried to block most of it out from my memory.”
As Sweezy and the Seahawks prepare to head back to the scene of that mauling, he can laugh about that experience now, knowing that, despite the bad memories of that day, he is in fact better for it. Sweezy would have worked hard to improve regardless of how his career began, but that humbling experience has helped drive him.
“I wasn’t familiar enough with the offense,” Sweezy said. “That’s on me. I took it as a learning experience. I don’t want to say I’m happy it happened, but it made me want to do better to take the next step. I think that helped a lot in making me do that.”
When the Seahawks faced the Cardinals later in the 2012 season, John Moffitt was starting ahead of Sweezy, though he did see playing time in the game. So this will be his first chance at a full game against the team that welcomed him so rudely to the league 13 months ago. And while nobody expects any lineman to be flawless for four quarters, this should be a much better day than Sweezy’s last one at University of Phoenix Stadium.
“He’s progressed enormously since that game,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. “I think he had 11 missed assignments in that game or something like that. He had a tough game, and Darnell Dockett is as challenging a guy you can go against, particularly when you never played before. He’s a lot further down the road now. It will be interesting to watch it. Hopefully we’ll block the right guys a little more than we did that time and give us a little better shot at it, because they tore us up in that game.”
With a short week, the Seahawks practiced Tuesday on what would normally be their off day, and as expected Zach Miller, who missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, was a full participant.
Marshawn Lynch (hip), Bobby Wagner (ankle) and Chris Clemons (elbow) were among those who sat out. Lynch played Sunday with the same injury, so it’s likely his absence was more related to rest. Wagner’s and Clemons’ status, however, are very much in doubt this week.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.