The Seahawks' three interior offensive line spots seem more set than ever after Thursday's game against Dallas. But the tackle spots remain in some question.
Justin Britt, once at the center of so many questions about the Seattle Seahawks offensive line, is now simply the team’s center.
A 2014 second-round pick, Britt was moved to center in May after playing last season at left guard and the previous year at right tackle.
And after reviewing the Seahawks’ 27-17 preseason win over Dallas Thursday, Seattle coaches on Sunday gave their strongest endorsement to date of Britt, as well as guards Mark Glowinski and Germain Ifedi.
“It looks good,’’ offensive line coach Tom Cable said of the play of the three interior linemen. “It looks like we have gotten to a place where it’s been really consistent for three games — on the same page, playing together and demonstrating some really good football whether it’s run or pass.’’
Most Read Sports Stories
- Standout QB Michael Penix Jr. announces he'll return to Washington for 2023 season
- UW Huskies to meet Texas — and former coach Steve Sarkisian — in Alamo Bowl in San Antonio on Dec. 29
- What Utah's Pac-12 championship win means for Huskies' and rest of conference's bowl bids
- Seahawks snap losing skid with comeback win over Rams
- Three things we learned from the Seahawks' 27-23 victory at the Rams
When Britt was moved to center he had to compete with Patrick Lewis, who started nine games for the Seahawks last season, including the last eight when the Seahawks went on a 6-2 tear and quarterback Russell Wilson embarked on an historic passing run, throwing for 25 touchdowns in the second half of the season.
The Seahawks thought enough of Lewis that they awarded him a tender offer as a restricted free agent that gave Seattle the right to match any offer he might receive from another team, as well as a potential salary of $1.67 million if he makes the 53-man roster (Lewis made $585,000 last season).
Lewis, though, now appears to be battling just to stay on the roster. Lewis worked with the third unit in Thursday’s game against Dallas behind Britt and rookie Joey Hunt, with the team possibly thinking that it could save some money by jettisoning Lewis.
Lewis has no guaranteed money in his contract, meaning the Seahawks could save all of his $1.67 million salary against the cap if he is released or traded. Hunt is due to make $475,000 so the Seahawks could save almost $1.2 million on their backup center spot by going with the sixth-round pick from TCU instead of Lewis (like all NFL teams, the Seahawks have to cut their roster from 90 to 75 by Tuesday at 1 p.m. Pacific time. Seattle announced no cuts on Sunday).
Lewis is the only player on the Seattle roster to play center in an NFL game.
But Cable said Sunday that if anything, Britt has surpassed the expectation the team had in making the shift from guard.
Asked if he could have foreseen the way Britt has adapted to the role Cable said “I don’t know if anybody could see all that. … I think that all the work that has been put in since April, May, he has taken advantage of every day. So what we thought could happen has sure enough happened right before our eyes.’’
Glowinski and Ifedi also continue to play well enough that veteran Jahri Evans remains a backup — with that likely to be his role if he makes the team.
A 10-year vet, Evans has been an All-Pro four times and made the Pro Bowl every season from 2009-14 while with the Saints. But after being used some at left guard early after arriving the first week of August he has played only right guard since then, the spot where Ifedi has emerged as the starter.
Asked about the guard spots Sunday, Carroll said: “The guys are doing a really good job, I really like the consistency we’ve had and the communication seems good. It’s been very solid so they’re doing a good job of holding their spots right now.”
The two tackle positions, though, remain at least somewhat uncertain, especially the right side.
Garry Gilliam has been the starter at right tackle the last few weeks and Bradley Sowell at left tackle, each moving to those spots after an injury early in camp to J’Marcus Webb. Webb had been the right tackle but when he was injured the Seahawks moved Gilliam from left to right and promoted Sowell to starting left tackle.
Webb, an-offseason free agent signee who played last year with the Raiders, saw his first action against Dallas playing both right tackle and left tackle and Carroll said “I thought he did a great job. He did a very solid job on the right side and flipped over and was very comfortable on the left side.’’
Cable said Webb’s return means neither tackle spot is set but that Sowell may have a firmer grip on the left side than Gilliam does on the right.
“There’s competition really cranking at right tackle,’’ Cable said. “That doesn’t mean it’s done at left — it’s not. But that’s ahead of where we are at right tackle. So the competition is all three guys. But right now it’s pretty heavy at right tackle.’’