Maybe J’Marcus Webb shouldn’t have referred to Germain Ifedi’s injury as “dreamland”? Per Ian Rapoport, they might prefer to start a rookie instead on Sunday.
Having spent the summer preparing one of the more explosive interior offensive lines in the NFL (evidence here) — the Seahawks look set to blow everything up before week one.
Germain Ifedi’s twisted ankle sprain could keep him out for a few weeks (although he was only listed as ‘questionable’ for Sunday’s game, not ‘out’ or ‘doubtful’). Initially it looked like a straight swap. Webb plays right guard, Justin Britt and Mark Glowinski stay where they are. Webb played right guard for Oakland. Britt was excelling at center.
For whatever reason, Rapoport is suggesting they’re not entirely comfortable with that scenario. So let’s look at the pro’s and con’s of what might happen instead:
PRO #1 — Joey Hunt knows the center position
The Seahawks have tried converted defensive linemen, tackles and guards at center. Hunt at least knows the position. He’s already beaten Patrick Lewis for the backup job in pre-season. He might not be the massive, explosive force Britt was going to be — but as a stopgap he might be able to hold the fort.
PRO #2 — Justin Britt isn’t just succeeding because he’s a center
I can’t remember if it was Tom Cable or Pete Carroll but one of them recently suggested Britt was influenced too much by J.R. Sweezy. Britt liked Sweezy’s playing style — aggressive and a little reckless. It worked for Sweezy but Britt needed more technical refinement and control to succeed. It appears to be one of the reasons he has performed so well this summer. That shouldn’t change if he moves back to right guard.
CON #1 — What does it say about J’Marcus Webb?
He can’t win the right tackle job. He didn’t even appear to seriously compete at left tackle. And now with Germain Ifedi likely out, he might not even be trusted at right guard. This is quickly looking like the 2016 version of Cary Williams.
CON #2 — Loss of size and explosion
Britt is 6-6 and 325lbs. Next to Glowinski and Ifedi that was an intimidating and explosive trio. Joey Hunt was listed at 6-0 and 295lbs before the draft. He might’ve added weight — but it’s hard to add much more to a 6-0 frame. Seattle’s run game looked great in pre-season when the interior line was bossing defenders at the LOS. Hunt is more of a technician.
CON #3 — Oh, they’re playing Ndamukong Suh
This was always going to be a major test for Seattle’s new O-line. The feeling was if the interior holds up it won’t matter too much if the tackles Sowell and Gilliam struggle against Cameron Wake and Mario Williams. Can Hunt slow down Suh? Remember rookie J.R. Sweezy facing a baptism of fire against Darnell Dockett on debut? Hunt isn’t learning how to play offense like Sweezy — but could it be a similar rough start? How will he deal with knowing every time he snaps the ball — he’s battling Suh? Mentally can he deal with that, as well as physically?
The Seahawks’ roster is largely signed up for the long haul so they can pick and choose their target needs moving forward. This one injury proves, again, how light they are on the O-line. One injury to the right guard is leading to a major overhaul — with doubts already lingering at tackle.
It wouldn’t be a big shock if the Seahawks ‘do a Dallas’ and focus on the O-line for a series of drafts. Especially if they want to focus on protecting Russell Wilson and need better blocking in the post-Marshawn Lynch era.
With that in mind — here are some players to watch this weekend in college football:
Dan Feeney (G, Indiana)
The most impressive O-line performer on opening weekend, Feeney is powerful, adept at pulling, blocking at the second level and being physical at the POA. For more on Feeney click here. Indiana face Ball State on Saturday.
Adam Bisnowaty (T, Pittsburgh) & Dorian Johnson (G, Pittsburgh)
Both players looked strong teaming up vs Villanova at LT/LG and they have a much tougher match-up vs Penn State this weekend. Both are very physical but are also deceptively athletic. Pittsburgh dominated in the trenches last week and will likely continue to run to the left side this weekend.
David Sharpe (T, Florida)
In what looks like a generally weak tackle class in 2017, Florida’s LT has a chance to really boost his stock this year. The right side of the Gator’s line is a bit of a mess, which could make it hard to judge Sharpe if opponents focus on the right tackle (possibly true freshman Jawaan Taylor). Florida faces Kentucky on Saturday in one of the few intriguing games in an otherwise mediocre week two. Keep an eye on Kentucky’s Denzil Ware.