On Monday, Garry Gilliam was elevated to starting right tackle, right tackle Justin Britt moved to left guard and starting left guard Alvin Bailey moved to second-team left tackle.
RENTON — Sometimes football coaches see things a little differently than fans and media members when watching a game.
Friday night, though, was not one of those times.
After reviewing film of their 22-20 preseason loss to the Denver Broncos in which they allowed seven sacks, Seahawks offensive-line coach Tom Cable said the performance was as shaky as it appeared to everyone else.
“I did not like the pass protection at all,’’ Cable said. “It’s pretty simple to see that.’’
On Monday came the reaction — a new-look offensive line that featured Garry Gilliam elevated to starting right tackle, right tackle Justin Britt moved to left guard and starting left guard Alvin Bailey moved to second-team left tackle.
Cable said the moves are not necessarily permanent, just the latest experiment in an attempt to find the team’s best offensive line.
“We’ll see,’’ he said. “Feels like we need to do a little more mixing and matching to kind of figure all this out, so just kind of figuring it out. Garry played really well the other night. Justin did well except for a play. (He was beaten for a sack by Denver’s Von Miller on the second play, which resulted in a lost Russell Wilson fumble.) So we’re just trying to get the best guys out there.’’
Britt started all 16 games last season at right tackle after being taken in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft, and it had been thought he would man that spot again this season.
But Cable said the team talked to Britt before the 2015 draft about possibly moving to guard depending on how the draft unfolded — the Seahawks took three offensive linemen, two of whom played tackle in college (Mark Glowinski and Terry Poole).
Britt said he was fine with the move.
“It was exciting,’’ he said. “Something new. Change it up. We are just trying to figure out what is the best lineup and what we can do to be the best offensive unit.”
Britt said he hasn’t played guard since his freshman season at Missouri, but added that he grew comfortable with it Monday as practice wore on.
“I feel like I’m versatile enough to do it,’’ he said. “Things were going a little quick today, but as the day went on, they slowed down and I felt like I was understanding it more.’’
Cable said the shake-up is as much about the improvement of Gilliam as anything. Gilliam made the team a year ago as a rookie undrafted free agent out of Penn State. He entered Friday’s game as the backup at left tackle but continued what had been a solid game with some good play against the Broncos. Gilliam played just one year of tackle at Penn State after having begun his career as a tight end. (The receiving skills were on display during last season’s NFC Championship Game when he caught a touchdown pass on a fake-field-goal attempt.)
Gilliam is up to 308 pounds, but coach Pete Carroll said he hasn’t lost any athleticism.
“He’s had to transition from being an edge-guy tight end to an offensive lineman,’’ Carroll said. “I think last year was crucial to start that process. He had a terrific offseason, and he’s come back firing here.’’
Britt is the fifth player the team has used for at least one practice at starting left guard. The spot became open when James Carpenter signed with the Jets as a free agent. At the time, many assumed Bailey would take it over, and he drew raves for his play in the spring. But Bailey has yet to grab hold of the spot in training camp, creating the seemingly daily shuffle at that position.
The team also has yet to settle on a starting center to replace Max Unger, traded to New Orleans in the offseason for tight end Jimmy Graham. Lemuel Jeanpierre started against the Broncos, but Drew Nowak was working with the starters Monday. Cable said Nowak will work with the starters this week, but added that it was part of a plan to let them rotate and not a reflection of a change in status for either player.
Cable said the team will need to pick a starting five soon so they can work together.
That the team is still experimenting could seem worrisome, especially considering the performance against Denver.
But Carroll said he is far from panicked and added that, with having to use some young players this season, he figured it would take time for the line to come together.
“I think it’s a process that we have to go through,’’ Carroll said. “We knew that some young guys were going to play, so we are competing to figure it out.’’