RENTON — This week is less painful than last for Tom Cable, and not just because the Seahawks offensive line coach and assistant head coach is recovering from back surgery.
Not only is Cable’s back getting better with time, so too is the young line he is in charge of developing. When Cable w
ent in for back surgery two weeks ago, the Seahawks were coming off a victory, but it was a win that featured just 13 points from an offense that had scored just 30 in its first three games. In their past two games, however, the Seahawks scored 28 points in a loss to Atlanta, and 36 points in last weekend’s win in New York (although the defense accounted for nine of those points).
Cable, a Snohomish High School grad, has been a big part of the offense’s growth. While Darrell Bevell carries the title of offensive coordinator and calls the plays during the game, Cable plays the biggest role in offensive game-planning during the week.
And while Cable’s recovery has been the result of an operation that required the insertion of four rods, bone grafts and a cage, the healing of the offense has been a more natural process.
It hardly came as a surprise that the Seahawks’ offense struggled early this season. They have a new offensive coordinator, a new quarterback and an offensive line with two rookies, first-round pick James Carpenter and third-round pick John Moffitt, and only one seasoned veteran, Robert Gallery, who has missed four of five games.
If anything, the surprise is how much improvement the offense, and the line in particular, have shown in the past two weeks.
“(Carpenter) and Moffitt both have (improved),” Cable said. “Every day they get better now. They understand what you’re asking them, they understand what it takes to compete at this level, how to prepare and all those kind of things.
“The talent that we drafted is now showing up, but you had to get it prepared and trained and all that — it was a process to go through. Like I told you before, I wasn’t too worried about that. It was just a matter of when. It’s finally happening, so it’s pretty cool.”
It does appear to be happening for the line. The first positive sign was improved protection for quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. After allowing 10 sacks in the first two games, the Seahawks did allow four more against Arizona, but at least two of those were on Jackson for holding the ball too long. The Seahawks then held Atlanta without a sack as, not coincidentally, Jackson had his best game.
The Giants were able rack up six sacks Sunday, but the line did show growth in another area — the running game. After rushing for just 5 yards in the first half against Atlanta and 53 in the game, the Seahawks ranked 31st in the league with an average of 67.5 rushing yards through four games. Last week, however, the Seahawks rushed for a season-high 145 yards, including 97 in the first half.
“I told them going into Arizona, ‘You’re not a bunch of kids anymore. You’re NFL linemen now. So even though we’ve had our struggles, you’re ready for this. You have to believe you’re ready for this,'” Cable said. “And I think they started to (believe) that week.”
The test now is to keep building even as the personnel changes, at least in the short term. Center Max Unger watched Tuesday’s practice on crutches and in a protective boot for a foot injury. Cable said Unger, who finished Sunday’s game, didn’t feel the injury until Monday, and that he is expected to be back following this weekend’s bye.
“It doesn’t look to be anything too bad,” Cable said. “Right now they’re saying we should plan like we’re going to have him next week, so we’ll move toward that and see what happens. It’s something to do with the foot, but I don’t know the details of it.”
Gallery also is expected back after missing three games following groin surgery. And Cable, after having to watch practice two weeks ago on an iPad from his hospital bed and last week while oftentimes sitting on a chair, said he should be full-go after the bye as well, joking that he will no longer show up on the injury report.
It’s all part of the process of getting healthy, both for Cable, and more importantly for the Seahawks, for a young offensive line.
“There’s still tons of improvement out there,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “… We’re going in the right direction and we’re seeing the young guys gaining from their experience, and they’re feeling better about their play and they’re getting more aggressive, tougher and more confident just because they know what they’re doing and they’ve been asked to do the same things now more so. … We have a long ways to go of improving what we’ve started here and I’m real excited about it.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog