Room for improvement

  • By John Boyle Herald Writer
  • Saturday, August 27, 2011 12:01am
  • Sports

RENTON — Tom Cable knew there would be growing pains.

Really, with an offensive line this young and inexperienced, how could there not be? Still, that doesn’t mean the Seahawks’ offensive-line coach is content with how things have gone so far this preseason. Cable has seen progress over the

past month, so he’s happy about that, but the line is still a long way from where he wants it to be when the Seahawks play their regular-season opener on Sept. 11.

“I’m happy with where we’re going because every day we’re improving, but if I had to grade us right now, I think we’re around a C-plus,” Cable said. “We’re not any better than that yet. The goal is to get it to an A-game, so we have a lot of work to do.”

So tonight in Denver, when the starters see their most significant playing time of the preseason in game No. 3 — otherwise known as the most important of the games that don’t actually mean anything — Cable and his youthful offensive line hope to take a big step forward.

“I want to see what I saw from San Diego to Minnesota,” Cable said. “I want to see that from Minnesota to Denver is another leap forward. We’re not going to get it right today or the next day, it’s going to be a process as we go, and the goal is to be ready for September 11th.”

While a lot of the attention after last weekend’s loss to the Vikings focused on the struggles of starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and the relative success enjoyed by his backup, Charlie Whitehurst, the more important story was the struggles of the line. Jackson got little done in the first half in large part because he was getting knocked down or running for his life on nearly every pass attempt. It was also tough going in the run game for Seattle. In the first half, with the starters on the field, the Seahawks averaged just 3.6 yards per carry, not a horrible number, but certainly not what Seattle is hoping to do on the ground. That number drops to 3.25 yards per carry if you throw out the yards Jackson gained while scrambling to avoid the pass rush.

Still, the linemen and their coach aren’t worrying too much about what hasn’t gone well so far. They’re focused on getting things fixed in the time they have before the games matter.

“There may be mistakes, but that’s what the preseason is for,” left guard Robert Gallery said. “Obviously we’d like to be further ahead, but it’s not a panic either. It’s camp. This week is big for us, we need to go out and play well and execute well and then get ready for week one.”

Gallery, who came to Seattle from Oakland in free agency, has the advantage of knowing Cable’s blocking schemes. At 31, he’s also the lone veteran of the line, which helps explain why he’s taking a patient approach to the group’s growth. After Gallery, the next oldest and most experienced of the starting linemen is center Max Unger, who is 25 and has started all of 17 games in his career. In fact Unger, who missed 15 games with an injury last season, is the longest-tenured linemen on the roster having been with the Seahawks since the 2009 draft.

To Unger’s right are a pair of rookies, guard John Moffitt and tackle James Carpenter, and at left tackle is second-year player Russell Okung. So obviously some struggles were inevitable. The question now is: How quickly can the Seahawks work out the kinks?

“We’re coming along,” said Moffitt, a third-round pick. “Maybe we need to move a little faster at times, but we’re trying to focus on learning as much as we can. It’s a learning experience.”

The reality for the Seahawks is that the line won’t come together overnight. It will be a season-long process, one Cable is excited to see play itself out.

“That’s the cool part, because they’ll just get better and better and better and better,” he said. “There will be speed bumps and hiccups along the way, but they’ll learn from that and adapt. I’m not too worried about that, because it’s part of the process. We’ve made it a point to not worry about a negative but to learn from it and move on. That’s one thing this group does very well.”

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Barely taller than the 150yard marker,  Max Soterakopoulos, 6, tees off as he and his family golfs at Legion Memorial Golf Course on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 in Everett, Washington. Soterakopoulos hit a hole-in-one on the 14th hole at the golf course.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Everett 6-year-old makes hole-in-one at Legion Memorial

Too hard to believe? Watch the video of Everett’s Max Soterakopoulos hitting an ace on May 29.

AquaSox's Zach DeLoach is congratulated by his teammates after hitting a grand slam during the game against the Dust Devils on Sunday, May 16, 2021 in Everett, Wash.
AquaSox update: News, storylines, standouts from the past week

The Sox split with Vancouver, Brandon Williamson got promoted, Zach DeLoach is on a tear, and more.

The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Month.
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Month for May/June

Below are the candidates for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Month… Continue reading

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Newly promoted Marlowe helps AquaSox beat Canadians

In just his second game with Everett, the young outfielder drives in three runs in a 12-4 win.

FILE - This June 8, 2021, file photo shows the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, FIle)
High court sides with former athletes in dispute with NCAA

The case doesn’t decide whether students can be paid salaries.

Brandon Williamson pitches during the first game of a double header against the Hops on Sunday, June 6, 2021 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
AquaSox pitcher Williamson promoted to Double-A Arkansas

The 2019 2nd-round draft pick posted a 47.6% strikeout rate in 6 starts with Everett this season.

Everett's Olen Zellweger controls the puck against the Saskatoon Blades Friday evening at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett on November 22, 2019. The Silvertips will play Friday without fans due on-going concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Silvertips will play home opener on Oct. 8 in front of fans

Everett has not played with fans in the stands at Angel of the Winds Arena since March 7, 2020.

Mariner's Jailin Johnson chases down a loose ball through Glacier Peak's defense Thursday evening at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish on May 27, 2021. Mariner won 64-36. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Boys basketball season review: Mariner dominates Wesco

The Marauders were a force on offense and defense on their way to a perfect record this past season.

Trina Davis watches the while playing a game for ASA Tel Aviv in Israel. (Moshik Oshri)
She fled rocket fire in Israel for the safety of Marysville

MPHS grad Trina Davis was enjoying her first professional soccer season when the fighting broke out.

Most Read