What did we learn about the Seahawks' offensive line against the Kansas City Chiefs? For one, line coach Tom Cable thought the starting unit played well.

Share story

There will be no Seahawks’ position group more scrutinized this season than the offensive line.

So after the first preseason game of the year for the Seahawks, we’re devoting all of the items in our regular “What We Learned’’ day-after review to the new-look line.

1, Offensive line coach Tom Cable thought the starting unit graded out just fine.

“Those guys, I thought, did really well,’’ Cable said of the starting five, which included Garry Gilliam at right tackle and Bradley Sowell at left. “The only thing I thought we could do better was communicate, which is kind of normal.’’

Seahawks 17, Chiefs 16

Gallery  |   Box  |  Full coverage »

 

Cable, though, clarified that he didn’t mean there were missed assignments. Instead,he said the kind of communication the group needs to improve on was more subtle tasks such as identifying the proper gaps of linebackers.

The starting offensive line played 23 snaps on which the Seahawks gained 96 yards. It did not allow a sack, and helped lead the Seahawks on an opening drive that might have finished in a touchdown if not for Russell Wilson’s interception in the end zone (though yes, the usual caveats apply that it was the preseason and the Chiefs were without five defensive starters).

“Everybody did their job at their position really, really well,’’ Cable said. “So for first time out, OK.’’

2, The Seahawks may still go back to J’Marcus Webb at right tackle and Gilliam on the left but all options seem open.

Webb had been running as the starting right tackle until twisting his knee in practice this week. Cable said the team decided to go with Gilliam at right tackle and Sowell at left to compensate since that is where each has the most game experience.

“It was kind of the perfect fit,’’ Cable said.

Sowell has also played well of late, Cable said, adding he wanted to see how the line would look in a game with Sowell at left tackle.

It’s still unclear if Webb will be back for Thursday’s preseason home opener against the Vikings, which could mean another week of Gilliam at right and Sowell at left. But once Webb returns, Cable said the Seahawks could go back to the grouping they had been using previously.

“We’ll see when we get back to where J’Marcus is at in terms of getting back to our normal rotation,’’ he said.

Gilliam insists either side is fine with him.

“A little rusty here and there,’’ Gilliam said of how he played against the Chiefs. “I haven’t had a lot of reps at right tackle. Had to revert to what I learned last year. But if that’s going to be my spot then I’ll get more reps, get better at it, handle my business.’’

3, Germain Ifedi can hold in his emotions — now he needs not to hold on the field.

The game marked the debut for Seattle’s first-round pick, whose feistiness figures to be the lasting image of this year’s training camp.

After a tussle last week with linebacker K.J.Wright that defensive players and coach Pete Carroll thought went too far, Carroll and others talked to Ifedi about making sure he didn’t do anything to hurt the team.

Ifedi said the message got through.

“You can’t be selfish,’’ Ifedi said. “You can’t cost the team. And I came in today with a mindset that I am going to play my game. I’m not a guy out there looking to cheap shot people or get personal fouls, just play my game. We’re fine on that aspect.’’

Ifedi was called for a hold on the last play of the first quarter which turned a third-and-one into a third-and-11 on a drive that ended in a field goal — the only penalty of the game called on a Seattle offensive lineman.

Cable said the call was legit.

“Don’t hesitate on that block, just run it,’’ Cable said. “So he’ll learn from that.’’

Said Ifedi: “I’ve just got to keep running my feet. It’s an easy fix.’’

4, The Justin Britt-to-center experiment appears to have some legs.

The game was the first for Britt at center, but it won’t be the last — and it is increasingly looking like the third-year vet has found what may be a permanent home after playing left guard and right tackle his first two seasons.

QB Russell Wilson said he has grown so comfortable with Britt that “I didn’t even realize this was his first game at center…. he’s going to be great at it.’’

Britt appeared flawless at one of the main aspects of the job — if one that is often overlooked — snapping the ball.

During Britt’s first few practices at center during OTAs he had a few wayward snaps out of the shotgun. But Saturday Britt had 12 shotgun snaps and said he has now done so many in practice that they felt “second nature. You learn not to think about it.’’

5, It was a spottier outing for many of the backups.

While the starting unit was largely praised for its play, the backups had a few more issues.

After the starting offensive line departed, the Seahawks gained 116 yards on 41 plays over a span of six drives, four of which ended in punts and another on downs (the other in a field goal) with Boykin sacked twice.

Rookie Rees Odhiambo, a third-round pick out of Boise State, got snaps at both guard spots and both tackle spots.

Cable said he did well everywhere but right tackle. “It was new for him and he didn’t handle the speed the first couple of times,’’ Cable said.

Rookie George Fant got what were the first snaps of his career — at any level — at left tackle, and had some understandable learning moments.

“It was a great opportunity for George, but he was really overwhelmed,’’ Cable said. “But it was OK. That’s what is was supposed to be the first time out, so I will expect him to make a big jump (in his second game).’’

Backup centers Patrick Lewis and Joey Hunt, Cable said, “looked OK.’’ Cable said Lewis continues to be ahead of Hunt on the depth chart, but for now, neither seems to be making a real run at Britt.

Veteran Jahri Evans also got some significant work at right guard and, Cable said, ”did fine.’’ It’s becoming clear, though, that Evans will need a little time to both shake off the rust after having not played football since the end of last season and also adjusting to the Seahawks’ style before it may be fair to make a real assessment of where he might fit in.