Big expectations for Seahawks’ big offensive line

Published on August 7, 2011 by     Tacoma News Tribune (Feed)

A week into training camp, the Seattle Seahawks look pretty comfortable running new offensive line coach Tom Cable’s version of the zone blocking scheme.

Running backs Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett and Leon Washington squirted through running lanes for big gains during team drills the past two days, cutting off the crisp blocks of offensive linemen and getting into the secondary.

Veteran offensive lineman Robert Gallery says understanding the pace at which Cable wants his offensive line to play is essential for Seattle’s success running the football.

“He pushes guys,” Gallery said. “He wants you to push your body past where you thought it would go. I think that’s the biggest thing – just the mentality he wants you to bring to the game. And in the style offense that he wants for us to be successful, we’ve got to come off the line and strike people – play, after play, after play – and some people aren’t built for that. So if that’s not your deal, and you can’t learn to relish in that, it’s going to be a long camp.”

Cable’s trying to change the culture of the Seahawks’ running game, which finished in the bottom third of the league the past four seasons – including second-worst last season, averaging 89 yards a contest.

Cable received help from general manager John Schneider in the talent acquisition department. Three of Seattle’s five line starters are first round picks in Gallery (second overall in 2004), left tackle Russell Okung (sixth overall in 2010) and right tackle James Carpenter (25th overall this year).

Center Max Unger (second round in 2009) was the highest lineman drafted by Seattle that year, and right guard John Moffitt (third round this year) gives Seattle potentially one of the more talented offensive lines since the team’s Super Bowl run in 2005.

And Seattle’s bigger up front as well, averaging 6-foot, 5-inches and 316 pounds across the line.

“They’re huge,” Forsett said. “And that helps us out a lot for us to be able to hide behind those big linemen, and being able to shoot out into those creases. It’s going to be good for us.

“I’m happily surprised that we’re able to get this thing started early. And I think that’s a credit to Coach Cable coming in with his coaching, and getting his guys up front right, and Coach Sherm (running backs coach Sherman Smith) working on us in getting our steps right. We’ve meshed early.”

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