In the wake of the drafting of German Ifedi, Rees Odhiambo and Joey Hunt, the Seahawks also made a few other moves on their offensive line, news of which gradually leaked out over the last few days as the team conducted its rookie minicamp.
In the wake of the drafting of Ifedi, Odhiambo and Hunt, the Seahawks also made a few other moves on their offensive line, news of which gradually leaked out over the last few days as the team conducted its rookie minicamp, which marked the official on-field debut for the three rookies.
The result is the Seahawks could begin training camp with an offensive line featuring just one regular from last season playing at the same spot as a year ago — center Patrick Lewis.
Lewis, though, figures to face stiff competition for the job not only from Hunt, a sixth-round pick, but also from a veteran who is the focus of the biggest position shakeup the team is making, Justin Britt, who is now officially a center.
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After the team concluded its rookie minicamp Sunday, coach Pete Carroll confirmed the move of Britt, a second-round pick in 2014 who started all 16 games as a rookie at right tackle and all 16 last year at left guard.
But the Seahawks now plan to have Odhiambo, a third-round pick out of Boise State, and Mark Glowinski, a fourth-round pick last season, battle for the left guard spot. Free agent signee J’Marcus Webb, meanwhile, will start out at right tackle, with last year’s starter there, Garry Gilliam, moving to left tackle. Ifedi, the team’s first-round pick out of Texas A&M, will start out at right guard.
Illustrative of the massive turnover of the offensive line the last few years, Britt is now something of the grizzled veteran of the group. While he’s entering just his third season, he is also the only remaining starter from the 2014 offensive line, which Carroll said factored into the decision to move him.
“It’s an opportunity for us to mix our guys and see how we can get the best guys on the field,” Carroll said. “Justin is the guy that’s been with us the most and can be in command of the most information and all that. We’re going to take a good look at him at center and see how that works out. We know he can play guard and tackle.”
In essence, Carroll said, it’s easier to move Britt due to his experience and let the rookies start out in the spots where the team thinks they can make the most immediate impact.
“We are trying to utilize the background that he has — we are still a young group, project (to be) another young group,” Carroll said. “(Britt) is the guy that knows the most and has the best communication and dialogue with (offensive line coach) Tom (Cable) and we think that that might be a real advantage there.”
Carroll added that Britt learning the center spot would mean he could play everywhere on the line “which will make him extremely valuable in that regard.”
Seattle not only lost starting left tackle Russell Okung and right guard J.R. Sweezy in free agency but also Alvin Bailey, who served as a utility backup last season, able to play guard and tackle.
Carroll also said the Seahawks thought about moving Britt to center last year — he played the spot a little bit during his years at Missouri.
“We almost did it last year,” Carroll said. “We had talked to him about that and he was working at it mentally and then when we got to camp, we just didn’t go for it in that direction. … When we drafted him that was the thought as well. We had that in mind. So this is not a new thought for us.”
The shuffle this week also saw Glowinski move from right guard, where he played last year, starting the regular-season finale win at Arizona, to left guard.
Britt and Glowinski played at their new spots when the veterans began limited on-field workouts last week during Phase Two of the team’s offseason program, sessions in which there are no pads or contact.
“This is just where we’re starting out,” Carroll said. “We are just taking a shot right now to see how it looks, how it fits together. We are hoping to see what J’Marcus looks like at right tackle. I really like the way he finished last season there. The flexibility that Germain has, he has played both right guard and right tackle as has J’Marcus, that just gives us a chance to get this thing started.
“We have to get started somewhere. I wanted to put the flexibility on Mark, he has been around a little bit longer (than Ifedi and Odhiambo) so we give him a shot to go to the other side. He already feels comfortable with that. And it’s going to give Garry Gilliam the chance to go back to where we thought he should play from the start at left tackle. So we’ll see how it all comes together.”