Solari also offered thoughts on Germain Ifedi, George Fant and the starting five.
Given the way many view the Seahawks’ offensive line, no coach in the NFL may have a tougher job than Mike Solari, hired last winter to replace the fired Tom Cable as Seattle’s new OL coach.
Monday, he met the media for the first time during training camp to discuss what he has seen four days into camp.
Here are five things that stood out:
D.J. FLUKER HAS ‘PURE ASS ATTITUDE’
Seattle’s most notable newcomer on the line is Fluker, a 2013 first-round pick of the Chargers who played last year under Solari with the Giants. Fluker has been running with the starting unit at right guard early in camp, though limited at times apparently due to a knee issue that also slowed him some in the offseason.
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Asked about Fluker, Solari offered an interesting description.
“Pure ass attitude. D.J. has been – he’ll pound you. He’s a guy that brings the passion to the game. Again, I know you guys got great eyes, (watch) the way he works on the football field. He loves the game. He loves the game. He loves when the pads come on. He’s a physical football player and he brings passion and he brings an energy and a physicality that you want on your offensive line. You want that physical-ness, you want that toughness on your offensive line, and he brings it.”
USING GERMAIN IFEDI SOME AT RIGHT GUARD IS ALL ABOUT COMPETITION
Ifedi, the team’s first-round pick in 2016 and lightning rod for criticism following his penalty-riddled 2017 season, is still running with the starting unit at right tackle. But Ifedi also got some work Monday at right guard with starters with Isaiah Battle at right tackle. Solari joked that a reporter who noticed it had “great eyes.” But he also said not to read too much into it.
“Okay, with Germain, he’s working hard just like the other men. We’re getting better, we’re getting better, we got to keep building. Again, like I told you before earlier, the key thing is with the pads, he’s putting it together and coming on. Pete, like I said before, Coach Carroll, you guys know better than I do, it’s about competition, it’s about competing. The best five start, best five starts. So, we wanted to work them in a little bit in a sense of playing some different positions. We wanted to keep the integrity, the unit together so we can build that unity, that comradery, but we got to work some guys in a little bit if an injury happens or we have to move some guys. So, we’ll do that throughout every day to try make a little adjustment here and there.”
FANT WILL START AT LEFT TACKLE AND ODHIAMBO AT GUARD
George Fant and Rees Odhiambo, each recovering from injuries that ended their 2017 seasons, got some brief work Monday in team sessions — Fant at left tackle and Odhiambo at left guard.
For now, Solari says that’s where they will stay as they work their way back — Fant from an ACL injured suffered last August and Odhiambo from hand injuries midway through the 2017 season.
“We’ve got to find the spots for them but the thought process is initially, starting off, starting Rees at guard and George at tackle because of the limited reps initially. We’re going to keep George grounded at the left tackle, but again, he’s got to be ready to adjust. Again, the best five start. The best five start, so again, we’ll adjust accordingly if needed.”
DUANE BROWN IS ‘A GREAT LEADER’
Brown, who signed a three-year extension keeping him with the team through 2021, is regarded by the Seahawks as almost as important for how helps the team in the locker room and meeting rooms as what he does on the field, said Solari, who raved about the veteran left tackle’s leadership.
“Just watch the way he practices, watch the way he plays the game. Watch the way he competes, he leads, on and off the field. I know you men and you women don’t see it off the field, but in the meeting room, in the sense of being a pro, listening. In the back of his mind, he is like I got it, but he’s listening, focusing. He’s trying to learn, trying to be the leader, in the sense of the young men, how to prepare as a pro. It’s hard in training camp, it’s hard because you got to stay locked in throughout all the meetings, and he’s been excellent. He’s a great leader, great position leader, great group leader, offense, great team leader.”
EVERY SPOT REMAINS UP FOR GRAB
The Seahawks have had a pretty set starting five early in camp going, from left to right: Brown, Ethan Pocic, Justin Britt, Fluker and Ifedi.
But Solari insisted that nothing is set in stone (even if Britt and Brown are locks and Pocic appears pretty close to one).
“No, it’s an open competition. You do have to have a starting point, so those five were there for a reason. No, it’s open competition. Everybody’s competing. Iron sharpens iron. The best five start and be ready if we have to move some guys to get the best five on the field.”