Lewis’ play is being credited as a key to the Seahawks’ offensive resurgence. And a key to Lewis claiming the starting job was taking to heart the call from coaches to be heard.
RENTON — Patrick Lewis’ position on the football field is one where he can’t just let his play speak for itself.
The Seahawks center has to talk — loudly — before every play, helping the quarterback set the protections at the line of scrimmage and making sure the other linemen know the call.
That was something coaches felt Lewis needed to improve earlier this year, though, one reason the Seahawks began the season with Drew Nowak at center.
When the coaches in August went with Nowak, offensive-line coach Tom Cable pulled Lewis aside and let him know what he needed to do to get the job for himself.
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“Tom pointed it out to him that that’s what was holding him back,’’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this week. “And he emerged out of that and has become the captain of the front.’’
In fact, the coaches decided to go with Lewis after the fifth game of the season. The line struggled early in the season and at one point was on track to allow the most sacks in franchise history.
After recovering from an ankle injury that cost him two more games, Lewis has started the past three and his play is being credited as a key to the Seahawks’ offensive resurgence. And a key to Lewis claiming the starting job was taking to heart the call to be heard.
Carroll said Lewis simply is a soft-spoken person who needed to understand there’s a time when turning the volume to 11 is required.
“He’s communicating really well,’’ Carroll said. “He’s really taking command of the line of scrimmage. That’s exactly the point. He was kind of quiet and didn’t assume the responsibility to be verbal and to really reach out. He has done that.”
After being signed in October 2014 off Cleveland’s practice squad, Lewis started four games late that season, all wins, in place of injured Max Unger. That included a 596-yard Seahawks offensive performance at Arizona. He originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2013 with Jacksonville after playing at Texas A&M.
Because Lewis started games in which the Seahawks played well, many thought he would be a front-runner for the starting job after Unger was traded. The Seahawks instead went with Nowak, who had never taken a live snap on the offensive line in an NFL game before starting the season opener.
Carroll has since said the Seahawks might have erred in that decision and for waiting as long as they did to change back to Lewis.
Lewis, though, said he took it all in stride.
“I don’t think it really fired me up,” Lewis said. “It just made me focus more. It drove me to be more hungry and just come out and work hard every day until my time was called. And I figured when my time was called I was going to answer and just be ready.”
Lewis,in fact, has answered about as loudly as can be, having cemented his role as the starting center. Nowak was waived this week to make room for tight end Chase Coffman and now is on the team’s practice squad.
“I thought I always did a pretty decent job of being verbal,” Lewis said. “But I’ve been more adamant about it, being louder so everyone can hear me.”
• Receiver Paul Richardson again was among those who sat out of practice Thursday. Richardson has missed the past two games because of a pulled hamstring suffered against Arizona. Carroll hopes Richardson can play Sunday at Minnesota.
• Also out Thursday were RB Marshawn Lynch (abdomen), DE Demarcus Dobbs (concussion) and DT Jordan Hill (toe). Dobbs has been going through the concussion protocol. DT Michael Bennett was also out because it was his usual rest day.
• Participating on a limited basis were FB Will Tukuafu (concussion) and CB Marcus Burley (ankle). Tukuafu has also been going through the concussion protocol.