RENTON — It wouldn’t be the preseason without uncertainty about how the Seattle Seahawks offensive line will look come Week 1.
In what has become a regular occurrence the past few seasons, the line has been thrown into flux again with the season-ending knee injury suffered by expected starting left tackle George Fant in last Friday’s preseason game against Minnesota. Fant suffered a torn ACL and some MCL damage in his right knee and will undergo surgery soon.
The loss of Fant completely alters an offensive line that was on the verge of being mostly settled for the final two weeks of the preseason. Fant and Luke Joeckel were set on the left side with Justin Britt at center and Germain Ifedi the expected starter at right tackle. The only competition appeared to be at right guard between Oday Aboushi and Mark Glowinski, with Ethan Pocic and Rees Odhiambo serving as backups across the line.
“We’re moving. We’ve got to keep rolling,” coach Pete Carroll said Monday.
Carroll chose not to go into specifics, but indicated that Odhiambo will likely be the first option. The second-year lineman from Boise State stepped in for Fant after his injury and played briefly at left tackle in one game last season. Carroll said Pocic will get a look at the position and Seattle added another option after finishing practice Monday by trading for Matt Tobin from Philadelphia in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2018. Seattle also received a seventh-round pick next year from the Eagles.
Seattle has used Odhiambo at a variety of guard and tackle spots but only as a backup to this point. He played left tackle exclusively during his college career at Boise State, but has been inconsistent in his limited opportunities with the Seahawks. Offensive line coach Tom Cable was critical of Odhiambo last week prior to the Fant injury.
“He has some moments where it looks great and some moments where we’re like, ‘OK we have work to do,'” Cable said.
Odhiambo said Seattle’s practice of having its offensive linemen rotate through a variety of positions makes stepping in at left tackle feel familiar.
“You have a lot of guys that could go in there and feel comfortable doing the things,” Odhiambo said. “At the same time, the way he coaches us is to know every single spot.”
Carroll repeatedly mentioned Joeckel’s experience as a left tackle, but reiterated that the goal is to keep Joeckel at left guard. The indication is that moving Joeckel to left tackle would be a fall back plan if Seattle can’t find a more definitive answer.
Pocic could be the wild card in the discussion. The rookie from LSU had been primarily playing at right tackle while also backing up Britt at center, his primary position in college. Pocic projects as more of a tackle in the NFL, but could be thrust into the spot sooner than expected.
“He’s already played a little bit of everything for us. That’s a possibility,” Carroll said. “He’s only played there a short time on the left side. He’s been primarily a right side guy.”
Tobin appears to be an addition for depth. He’s played mostly guard during his career, starting 13 games during the 2015 season for the Eagles. But he started at right tackle for the Eagles in their preseason game against Buffalo last week. Seattle also signed free agent Tyrus Thompson on Monday for additional depth.
• LB K.J. Wright returned to practice after missing last week while having a “process” done to a sore knee. Carroll said Wright would be a full participant Tuesday.
• RB C.J. Prosise sat out practice Monday after his groin tightened up during pregame warmups last Friday. His status for this week against Kansas City remains to be determined.
• Carroll on Monday’s solar eclipse, which the Seahawks stepped outside their facility to watch: “I thought it was one of the two best I’ve ever seen.”