Fans and observers were all atwitter Friday over what they perceived as a major shakeup on the Seahawks’ offensive line: J’Marcus Webb being demoted.
Word that veteran guard Jahri Evans was in town (and reportedly received an offer) spawned speculation that the former All-Pro would step in at right guard and Germain Ifedi would slide to tackle to replace Webb.
When three other guys got work at right tackle Friday, many saw that as confirmation that the Hawks were indeed dissatisfied with Webb, the oft-maligned journeyman who is now on his fifth team in seven years.
But Tom Cable shot down that perception after practice, telling KJR, “I don’t know where that came from. That would be completely unfair and inaccurate. I think he’s done quite well. I love what he’s doing.” Cable added that Webb is adapting to the Hawks’ tempo and expectations.
Many had thought Cable was displeased with Webb after the coach called the veteran “a guy that looks like he didn’t do hardly anything in the spring” (due to a calf injury), and the shuffling Friday seemed to confirm that opinion for some. The Seahawks used Garry Gilliam, Terry Poole and rookie Rees Odhiambo at right tackle and undrafted rookie George Fant on the left side.
Cable said they were “just mixing guys around a little bit just to see what it all looks like.” He said he won’t narrow it down to five until after preseason games start.
“Now we’re starting to build that competition with some numbers,” he said. “Then we’ll sort it out — who’s the right (tackle), who’s the left.”
The immediate question: Could Poole or Odhiambo oust Webb for the starting RT job?
The other day, Cable hinted to John Clayton that he would soon be trying Odhiambo, one of Seattle’s three third-round picks this year, at tackle.
“It may very well be sooner rather than later,” he said, noting that Odhiambo played tackle at Boise State. “We feel pretty lucky that we have him.”
Poole reportedly is in great shape and looks much more engaged than he did as a rookie — so much so that some think he could push Webb for the No. 1 spot at right tackle. Cable told KJR that Poole “is having a heck of a camp.”
Ifedi is not an option at right tackle right now, Cable said. “He could transition out there one day, but right now he’s in the right spot for us. … It would be tough to move him out of that right guard spot right now. I think he’s doing exceptionally well.”
Cable said left guard Mark Glowinski is having a great camp, too.
In fact, with Gilliam basically unchallenged at left tackle (Fant and career backup Bradley Sowell are not going to challenge him) and Glowinski and Ifedi pretty locked in at the guard spots (Cable said Evans was a just case of “always looking to make this team better”), it looks like the Hawks really have only two battles.
Even more important than right tackle is the competition at center, where Justin Britt is working to unseat Patrick Lewis.
A team has to have experience at center, a lesson the Hawks learned the hard way last year when they messed up and went with neophyte Drew Nowak over Lewis, who had started four games the previous season. The Hawks could stay with Lewis (6-1, 311), but the much bigger Britt (6-6, 325) ideally would help stonewall some of the great D-lines the Hawks will play.
Lewis was playing third team Friday, but he is still very much in the mix for the starting job. After his nine starts last year, the coaches know what he is; they now need to find out about Britt and rookie Joey Hunt (who ideally would sit as a rookie).
Cable says Britt has a long way to go. But there is a long time until they play games.
Meanwhile, Cable will continue to “mix and match” for the next couple of weeks, ideally coming up with his favored five by the third preseason game.
And then we’ll know whether Webb has managed to hold off Poole and Odhiambo for the right tackle job.