Seattle's O-line shuffle continues in Week 2

September 16, 2010

Eventually, Pete Carroll would like to see continuity with Seattle's offensive line.

That's not likely to arrive until rookie first-rounder Russell Okung returns from his high ankle sprain suffered in the preseason. Until then, the Seahawks will continue to shuffle their front line in the hopes of finding a bit of stability and better production from the run game.

''I think our best football is down the road. And that's something that I'm excited to see happen and come about,'' Carroll said Wednesday. ''I think as we grow, maybe it takes four or five weeks to really know where we are with the front and how we can run the football and all of that.''

Seattle's major change up front this week is the inclusion of veteran Stacy Andrews, acquired in a trade with Philadelphia less than two weeks ago. Andrews will start at right guard on Sunday in Denver, replacing Max Unger, who is done for the season with a toe injury.


Unger was placed on injured reserve Tuesday and will need surgery to repair a severe turf toe injury in his left foot. Unger, who was wearing a protective boot in the Seahawks' locker room on Monday, will need three months of rehab following the surgery.

His injury also leaves Seattle with just two of the five expected starting offensive linemen from when training camp began. Okung is out for this week and Ben Hamilton - signed from Denver in the offseason as a free agent - was a backup for last week's opener.

The shuffling still might not be done. Gibson suffered a lower back strain against San Francisco, leading Hamilton to take most of the snaps. Carroll said Wednesday he's not sure who will start in Denver, although Gibson fully participated in Wednesday's practice.

Andrews was brought to Seattle from Philadelphia after his highly regarded offseason pickup by the Eagles following the 2008 season. But he started just two games in 2009. Andrews has said in the past he's more comfortable playing tackle than guard.

''He gives us an experienced player that has to adapt very quickly to our system and our scheme. We were hoping it (would be) a couple weeks from now, he would have some time to learn what's going on,'' Carroll said. ''He's just on a racehorse pace to try and figure it out now.''

Okung, Seattle's $58-million investment as the replacement for Walter Jones at left tackle, started running on a treadmill this week, but the timing of his return is still unknown. Seattle's also trying to work in veteran Chester Pitts. Thought to be a candidate to fill in while Okung is out, Carroll said Wednesday that when Pitts gets healthy he'll work at guard.

Pitts is coming off microfracture knee surgery. Tyler Polumbus will make his second straight start at left tackle on Sunday. Seattle also added Mansfield Wrotto back to its roster on Tuesday. Wrotto has played guard and tackle for Seattle.

''We have some flexibility now,'' Carroll said.

Whatever the offensive line ultimately looks like Sunday against the Broncos, they'll be asked to do a better job in the run game. Seattle had just 77 yards rushing in the opener, with 48 of those coming on the Seahawks final possession of the game.

''You're trying to jell so your communication has to be better. It's not the same as a line that's been together for five or six years,'' Seattle running back Leon Washington said. ''We all help each other out and all sticking behind each other. It's not just the offensive line but the back have to do a good job of setting up their blocks so the offensive line can make their blocks correctly. It all has to work together.''