When Luke Joeckel signed with the Seahawks in March, it seemed like the logical move would be to make him the left tackle — he had much more pedigree than the undrafted George Fant.
But coaches thought Joeckel was better at left guard and Fant had promise at tackle, and that’s how they had lined up — and were set to line up in the opener at Green Bay — until Fant was injured Friday vs. Minnesota.
Now Fant will have to wait to prove his improvement and Joeckel probably is headed to tackle, where he was drafted to play by Jacksonville with the No. 2 overall pick in 2013.
As rough as Fant’s injury is for him, we don’t really know how much it hurts Seattle’s fledgling line. The reshuffled unit hadn’t proven a thing yet, even if Pete Carroll and Tom Cable had been excited about Fant’s performance. And you can’t really miss something you never had.
After the 20-13 win over the Vikings, Carroll obviously had not had time to think about how the line would be shuffled again, but Joeckel immediately sprang to mind.
“I don’t know. We’ll see,” Carroll said. “We’re very fortunate that Luke Joeckel is on our team. Luke can start at left tackle or left guard. We’re just fortunate that he’s with us. We have some choices and we’ll figure that out in time.”
Starting this week, we expect the line to look like this (left to right): Joeckel, Mark Glowinski, Justin Britt, Oday Aboushi, Germain Ifedi — Glowinski returning to the spot he played last season.
Ethan Pocic would back up the right side, Rees Odhiambo the left, with Jordan Roos and Joey Hunt both likely making the team now that Fant’s injury has opened a spot. It’s also possible Roos will be given a shot at left guard, but the guard combination of Glowinski and Aboushi seems best at this point.
Odhiambo, a reach in the third round last year, certainly does not seem ready to play left tackle. He did not look good replacing Fant vs. Minnesota, giving up a couple of sacks, and Carroll and Cable both have lamented his lack of consistency.
“He’s been a little bit up and down,” Carroll said. “We like his physicality. He’s a good athlete, he’s strong and tough and all that. Just cleaning up his game and being really consistent is what we’re concerned about. How soon will that come? And will he be able to clean it all up in time to try to win one of these spots? So we’ll see what happens.”
The Hawks are highly unlikely to make a big move, like trading for Houston holdout Duane Brown. They added a young player Sunday — Tyrus Thompson, a sixth-round pick by Minnesota in 2015 — and surely are hunting for better veteran backup options.
Branden Albert, 32, is available after Jacksonville cut him when he decided against retiring. But, if the Jags didn’t want him, would Seattle?
The Hawks also could see whether Ryan Clady, 31, wants to change his mind about retiring. The former Pro Bowl tackle worked out for Seattle this offseason. It seems, though, that he is serious about leaving the game.
“Despite having several teams who are currently interested in signing me, I have made a very difficult decision to retire from my NFL playing career,” Clady said. “I have deliberated on this decision thoroughly until now because I wanted to see if the beginning of NFL training camps would inspire the passion that I need to perform at the standards that I established for myself during my nine-year NFL career. … I am excited about what life holds for me going forward.”
Other possible veteran backups include Will Beatty and Jake Long (who also would have to be talked out of retirement). And the Hawks surely will scour the waiver wire for other tackles — this week and beyond.