Blocking it out

The Seahawks’ new-look and oh-so-young offensive line had its problems in last week’s loss to the Broncos, which makes Friday night’s finale against the Raiders the last preseason chance to get it right.

Tom Cable was asked about rookie right tackle James Carpenter and whether this was an ultimatum week for the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice.

The team’s assistant head coach/offensive line coach spun it into a blanket answer about his working-in-progress unit heading into Friday night’s preseason finale against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field.

“I actually think it’s an ultimatum week for the group,” Cable said, “because you don’t have any more practices games. You don’t have any more do-overs. So that’s our approach this week.”

Asked about Cable’s ultimatum assessment, coach Pete Carroll offered, “If Tom said it, I agree with it.”

Obviously, in Cable they trust when it comes to whipping the line into a cohesive unit before the Sept. 11 regular-season opener in San Francisco against the 49ers.

What he is attempting to do is no easy task. In addition to Carpenter at right tackle, third-round draft choice John Moffitt is starting at right guard. Russell Okung, last year’s first-round draft choice, will be the left tackle, but he has been sidelined since the preseason opener because of a sprained ankle. The center is Max Unger, who missed last season with a toe injury that required surgery and started more games at right guard (13) than center (three) as a rookie in 2009. At left tackle is veteran Robert Gallery, but he didn’t start practicing until Aug. 4 after being signed in free agency.

If ever there was a team that could have benefitted from the minicamps and OTA sessions that were erased by the 136-day lockout, it’s the Seahawks – who have only 16 players on the 80-man roster from the team Carroll inherited 18 months ago. If ever there was a unit that is showing the signs of that missed time, it’s the new-look O-line.

Asked about the development of Carpenter and Moffitt on the right side, as well as the other young players on the line, Cable said, “We can all see where they’re at. They’re not there yet. So how do you handle the time crunch? We talked about it from Day One. We didn’t have OTAs, minicamps, all those sort of things. But it can’t be an excuse.”

That’s why the rookies have gotten as many reps as the coaches can force feed them.

“Probably playing that group more than you normally would,” Cable said. “But we need to do. And I think Saturday was a perfect example of how much they need to continue to play and continue to grow.

“We have to do it now. We’re all in it together. We know we’ll have some bumps in the road. But we what to minimize it. Saturday, we didn’t do a good job of it.”

The starters have had problems providing quarterback Tarvaris Jackson adequate protection in the first three games, and it was never more apparent than in the loss to the Broncos in Denver on Saturday night – when Jackson was sacked five times.

Rather than go crazy, which could prompt his players to do the same, Cable has been an island of stability in the sea of negativity generated by the line’s performance.

via Blocking it out.