Kyle Williams was cut by Seattle for failing at left tackle, two days after Matt Hasselbeck got sacked five times in a dreadful 27-3 loss to Arizona. Before that, Brandon Frye, Sean Locklear and star Walter Jones all were hurt playing the most important position on the offensive line.
That makes Damion McIntosh Seattle’s Plan E at left tackle.
Four men down. Six games into the season.
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“It’s kind of unique, isn’t it?” Seahawks offensive line coach Mike Solari deadpanned Wednesday, raising his eyebrows.
More like unprecedented, at least to Solari. The former offensive coordinator with the Chiefs said he’s never gone through four blockers at one position in a year, let alone five in two months. He’s been coaching in the NFL for 23 years, and coaching football since 1976, counting his start at Mission Bay High School in San Diego.
Solari is a big reason why McIntosh is next in line to protect quarterback Matt Hasselbeck‘s back side on Nov. 1 at Dallas following the Seahawks‘ bye. Solari coached the 320-pound, 10-year veteran in 2007 with Kansas City.
That’s where McIntosh was last week when Seattle called him at home to fill its sinkhole on the left side. How long McIntosh plays depends on how soon his predecessors get healthy.
The Seahawks (2-4) had hoped Jones would remain the anchor to their offensive line – he’s filled that role for a decade – but the nine-time Pro Bowler had two surgeries on his left knee in December and August. The 35-year-old is planning to try practicing next week, but no one knows when he’ll play again.
Locklear has been Jones’ heir apparent, and he moved from right tackle to left when Jones went out in training camp. Then Locklear left in the second quarter of the second game and has been out since with a high sprain of his right ankle. He’s going to try to practice next week, too, but Solari said he has no idea if Locklear will be available against the Cowboys.
Frye won’t be practicing for the Seahawks any more this season. He replaced Locklear, played 2 1/2 games with a strained groin, then sustained a neck injury against Jacksonville two weeks ago. He’s on the injured reserve list.
That forced Williams off the practice squad and into the starting lineup. Then the Cardinals buzzed past him like cars on the outside lane of a freeway en route to Hasselbeck. Williams was demoted to the practice squad Tuesday, leaving McIntosh as the first-team left tackle at Wednesday’s practice. He calls this bye week a boon for his crash courses in fitness and in Seattle’s playbook.
“I’m still working at it now, getting in game shape,” McIntosh said before the Seahawks left for an extended bye weekend off.
Solari likes how quick McIntosh is for being so big. Seattle now needs that speed to carry over into learning the playbook and getting in shape.
Asked how ready McIntosh is to play at Dallas – the same place where Jones played his last game before major microfracture surgery, and where Hasselbeck was pounded into missing the rest of the season last Thanksgiving Day – Solari said ominously: “He’s a ways away.”
McIntosh was born 32 years ago in Kingston, Jamaica, then attended McArthur High School in Hollywood, Fla., and Kansas State. San Diego selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft.
He started 37 games in four seasons for the Chargers, then started for three seasons in Miami and two more for Kansas City before the Chiefs cut him in September just before the league deadline to set the regular-season roster.
McIntosh said New Orleans was the only other team to call him in for a tryout in those six weeks he spent at his home in Kansas City. The Chiefs didn’t even call back, even though they’ve endured injuries of their own and have used journeymen at tackle.
“And even if they did, I wouldn’t have answered,” McIntosh said. “I’m in a much better situation here.”