Because the Seahawks are on their bye week, it’s good news for two reasons. One, there remains the outside chance that Sean Locklear might be able to return for the Nov. 1 game against the Cowboys in Dallas. Two, if it doesn’t happen, Solari has extra time to get McIntosh ready to make his first start for the Seahawks.
“We’ve got to get the rust off, because he hasn’t played since training camp,” Solari said. “We’ve got to do it quickly, and he’s got to learn the system. That will be the key.”
Asked about getting a bye week in his second week with the team, and after five weeks away from the game, McIntosh said, “I see at it as a plus. I’m able to get an extra week to prepare myself and learn this offense better.”
Jones, a nine-time Pro Bowl performer and the preferred option, has yet to play this season and remains sidelined because of his surgically repaired left knee. Locklear, the starter on the right side who was subbing for Jones, has been out since spraining an ankle in the Week 2 loss to the 49ers. Frye, who joined the team on Sept. 6, started three games before being lost for the season to a neck injury. Williams was released on Tuesday and re-signed to the practice squad on Wednesday.
So, McIntosh it is – for now, and until further notice.
But who is this guy that could be protecting Matt Hasselbeck’s blind side against the Cowboys’ DeMarcus Ware in 12 days?
McIntosh was born in Kingston, Jamaica, raised in Hollywood, Fla., and played his college ball at Kansas State. He was a third-round draft choice by the San Diego Chargers in 2000 and also has played for the Miami Dolphins (2004-06) and Kansas City Chiefs (2007-08).
But if you’re going to call him a journeyman, make sure it’s with a capital “J” – because McIntosh has started 111 games in his nine-year NFL career.
“Damion is a big offensive tackle, and he’s got very good feet,” said Solari, who coached the 6-foot-4, 320-pound McIntosh during his first season with the Chiefs. “He’s an athletic big man.”
After Willie Roaf retired unexpectedly in 2007, the Chiefs signed McIntosh to a six-year contract. So his release last month on the final roster cut caught many by surprise. But McIntosh was not among them.
“Not really,” he said. “You see all the changes they have going on. I didn’t sit there and not anticipate it. The mere fact that it was at the last minute, that kind of got me.
“But at the same time, I’m happy to be here. I feel I’m in a much better situation.”
Now that McIntosh is here – with his third team in the past four seasons – he’s playing catch up. Exacerbating his situation is the tempo the Seahawks’ offense strives to play at.
“He’s a ways away, especially the conditioning part – being able to play a full game as a starting offensive lineman at the tempo that we like to play at,” Solari said. “We’re behind. Is he going to make it up? No. He’s missed those practices. But he’s working at it, and that’s all he can do.”
This line dancing has become a way of life for Solari since he joined the Seahawks’ coaching staff last season. Injuries have forced him to use 12 different starting line combinations – including four in six games this season, when they’ve already used two centers, three left guards and are on their fifth left tackle.
“It’s a problem,” Solari said. “It’s a problem, because you just don’t have that consistency as an offensive line. You don’t have that communication. You don’t have that sense of that feel with the lineman next to you. You just don’t.
“So we’re just behind. There are no excuses. You’ve got to get it done. And they will.”
Even if it has to be done with a fifth option at left tackle.