Offensive line coach Tom Cable talked to the media Monday about the progress of Kristjan Sokoli, Justin Britt, the center spot, and more.
Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable talked to the media after practice Monday about the offensive line, as well as a few other topics. Here’s some of what he had to say.
On moving Kristjan Sokoli to left guard to compete with Alvin Bailey: “We’re going to create competition for him. Kristjan Sokoli has shown, a lot like J.R. three years ago, that he has a real knack for playing this game. He has to understand that he’s going to have failures and to not let it get him down or not struggle with those emotionally. Just put it behind him, learn from it and move to the next one. But he’s really talented. We have a number of guys I think who are going to challenge Alvin for that spot.”
Sokoli, how’d he do with the first team?: “He did fine. He had some failures, but then on top of that, the goods were like, Wow. That’s pretty cool.”
What allows you to move Sokoli around? “If you think back to when we brought J.R. along, our first thought initially was to start developing him at center. And so we wanted to do that with Kristjan. Then you look at him and say, He’s doing a lot of things. He’s learning how to be an offensive lineman for the first time, learning a new offensive system. Stuff that’s completely foreign. And then we’re saying, Hey, by the way, snap the football on time. Maybe it’s too much to develop the football player so we’re hoping to take a step back here, take the ball out of his hand, let him grow in our system and then we can come back to that. I think that’s exciting after what I saw today. We’ll see.”
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You thought sooner than later center might settle itself. Is it settling as you thought it would? “I think there’s some great competition. We’re kind of doing a little like we did with the quarterback competition a few years ago and giving them equal reps in a majority and saying, OK, today is your day to be in the first huddle and we’ll kind of continue that here for a couple days. But it’s starting to show itself. I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere here soon that we’ll have a guy we want to keep in there and get as many reps as he can with the first group.”
On Drew Nowak: “Like a guy who came in from defense and is learning how to be an offensive lineman, he’s a gritty, gritty smart guy. Tough. So he’s got those really good elements that we really hope for. What I really like about him is failure doesn’t bother him, meaning it doesn’t get him down. It bothers him, he fixes it, but he’s able to just move forward. That’s what J.R. had. That’s what we’re hoping to see from a guy like Kristjan, all these kids.”
Can you afford to do with these guys like you did with J.R. Sweezy and just throw them in the fire?: “I don’t know if we have a choice if it comes down to that. If Lem wins the job, then we don’t have that issue. If it’s Nowak, you have that. I think, too, we maybe got a little more fortunate with him because he’s been around here a year longer. Maybe he’s ahead of that issue a little more than people figure.”
What are you expecting from Justin Britt? “Being consistently good. We saw flashes of it. We saw a young guy that was not affected by down moments, and he could move by them and fix them in a the middle of the game. We want to eliminate some of those negatives and just see a little more consistency.”
When he did struggle, what were some of the things that led to that?: “If you look at it, sometimes he can get a little forward and get off balance sometimes. I think he’s really done a nice job, and it’s early in camp, but understanding his body and where his spot is and how to work off that. To me, he’s already light years ahead of last year. That’s pretty cool. If we can keep that coming, then we’re accomplished what we’re trying to do.”
He’s always seemed like a mature guy. How much has that helped him?: “I think it’s big. Not that I’m saying every young guy should go out and get married, but I do think his level of grit allows him, he has some priorities in his life, he knows how to take care of business. He has good internal discipline, which I think is really, really strong. And it shows. It’s how he plays and is able to handle it as a rookie and play all those games and then come right back and go to work. A really cool story: I’m up in Canada fishing, and I have no cell phone service. I get back to where I get service for about 20 minutes before I catch a flight. There’s all these texts from him and J.R. because they’re in the building working. They’re sitting there talking ball and having dinner together. It’s like, OK, that’s who they are. They’re in to this thing all the way.”
Is Marshawn Lynch content? “I don’t know if anyone is necessary ever really content. I don’t know if that’s the right choice. He’s content in the fact that he wants to be on another good football team and have another good year. That’s the thing about him: He’s just giving us so much in terms of his effort, his play and I think he’s held by his teammates in very high regard.”
On Christine Michael: “I see a kid who’s growing up, and I’m excited about that. For him, as we’ve said in the past, when he can come out and do it day after day, he’s going to have his breakthrough. We see that happening, and that’s exciting.”