Tom Cable has been working with a mostly new cadre of offensive linemen for over three months now, and — like all of us — he is eager to see them “block someone that has a different helmet on.”
He will get his chance Saturday in Kansas City, and we will finally see what Justin Britt looks like at center, how first-round pick Germain Ifedi fits at right guard, whether Bradley Sowell has any shot of playing left tackle and more.
With J’Marcus Webb injured again, it appears the Hawks might start with a line featuring (left to right) Sowell, Mark Glowinski, Britt, Ifedi and Garry Gilliam. We’ll probably see the tackles move around a lot — e.g., Gilliam or George Fant on the left with Terry Poole or Rees Odhiambo on the right.
“It’s really more just to see the different combinations,” Cable said. “Maybe we missed something — like this guy is better at left than at right or vice versa. This is the time to do that, obviously.”
Cable and Pete Carroll both have said Sowell is competing to start at left tackle — and we have to believe them, based on Carroll’s history.
“I think we brought him here because we saw a skillset that was pretty cool and you have some experience that he’s bringing to the group, which is really important right now,” Cable said of Sowell, a four-year vet who spent the past three years in Arizona.
“When he’s gone in games, he’s played pretty well,” Cable said. “So what we want to do is see if he can fit in our system, our way of playing, our culture here as a team and all that. So far, I think he’s doing fine. He’ll get a lot of work as we go through this. I think he’s right in the middle of the competition.”
Of course, the guy who’s most in the middle is Britt, who is aiming to start at his third different position in three years.
“I’m anxious to see him play now,” Cable said. “He’s had a nice spring and a good summer, but you’ve got to go play.”
Cable also is eager to see Ifedi in his first action. The coach said the rookie needs to learn to rebound from mistakes.
“The issue is more when he has his failures, how he handles those,” Cable said. “… As a typical young guy, when you have your failures, you need to learn how you learn from them, rather than get all screwed up over it. That’s the part that we’re working on.
“He’s growing each and every day. Now it’s time to go block someone that has a different helmet on.”
Meanwhile, Jahri Evans is wearing a different helmet than the one he wore in New Orleans for the past decade. Cable said he is still getting back into football shape and — like most of the new guys — learning Seattle’s system.
“He’s wonderful in the (O-line meeting) room; he does a tremendous job of talking with those young guys,” Cable said of Evans, a six-time Pro Bowl guard who turns 33 on Aug. 22. “Obviously he wasn’t with the team in the spring, so (it’s about) getting him back into football, getting his legs underneath him, and then see what he can do going forward.”
Evans, who played right guard with the Saints, is working at both guard spots in Seattle. Unless he can beat out Glowinski or Ifedi — who seem to be the only sure things for the future of this unit — Evans seems likely to be the swing backup guard.
“He’s learning,” Cable said. “Our system is totally different than where he comes from — the scheme, the run, the whole thing. There’s some learning going on, but he’s played a lot and he is adapting quickly.”
While the Hawks are moving Evans between guard spots and tackles from side to side, there is only one player who is working at both guard and tackle: third-round rookie Odhiambo.
“He fits in a lot of places, and that was kind of the plan when we took him,” Cable said. “He’s very versatile and he’s showing up (well) in each spot too, which is really cool.”
It sounds like Odhiambo will continue to move around, mixing and matching with the rest of the linemen. Cable said he plans “to play different combinations and figure out who plays well together and why, then collectively who is going to be our offensive line. That starts here on Saturday.”