Seahawks continue to shuffle offensive line after struggles in preseason opener

By Curtis Crabtree


RENTON, Wash. _ A rough showing in the preseason opener has left the Seattle Seahawks searching for answers along the offensive line.

Justin Britt, who started 18 games for Seattle at right tackle as a rookie last season, has been taking snaps with the first-team offence at left guard during practice this week. Britt is the fifth different player to take snaps with the first team at left guard since the start of training camp three weeks ago. Alvin Bailey, Keavon Milton and rookies Mark Glowinski and Kristjan Sokoli have also been there.

In Britt’s place, Garry Gilliam has taken over at right tackle.

“We’re trying to get the best guys out there in the huddle and then find out where they fit,” offensive line coach Tom Cable said.

Cable said he “did not like the pass protection at all” during Friday’s opener against the Denver Broncos. Seattle quarterbacks were sacked seven times and the team gained just 181 yards offensively as the line struggled.

“We’ve got to be better. We can’t have people hit the quarterback like that. It’s unacceptable,” left tackle Russell Okung said. “We can’t have seven sacks a game. I don’t care what team is out there.”

In addition to the turnstile at left guard, Drew Nowak and Lemuel Jeanpierre continue to battle for the starting centre job. Jeanpierre started last week against Denver while Nowak will get the chance to start this week against the Kansas City Chiefs. The two are competing to replace Max Unger, who was traded to New Orleans in a deal that brought Jimmy Graham to Seattle this off-season.

The only constants have been Okung at left tackle and J.R. Sweezy at right guard.

“It’s a really important week for us,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “We have to make strides. We have to get better. We can’t go out there and struggle early in games and take some hits that we don’t need to take. We’ve got to get off better than that.”

The move of Britt to guard may only be temporary, but he was one of the more notable players that struggled against Denver. He was beat by Von Miller for a sack on the second play of the game and had a few other missteps in the limited time the first-team offence was in the game.

Cable said he felt like they are getting closer to determining their starting offensive line. He said he hopes to have it in place by the end of next week to give the unit a chance to build cohesion before the regular-season opener on Sept. 13 at St. Louis.

Notes: Safety Earl Thomas returned to limited participation in practice for the first time since being activated off the physically unable to perform list on Aug. 5. Thomas had been taking part in the team’s afternoon walkthrough sessions but had not taken part in practice. He was wearing a red “no-contact” jersey and was limited to one period of team drills. Thomas is recovering from off-season labrum surgery on his shoulder.


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