RENTON – Seahawks offensive-line coach Tom Cable brought a bit of clarity to Seattle’s plans at left tackle in the wake of George Fant’s season-ending knee injury, saying Tuesday that Rees Odhiambo and newcomer Matt Tobin are the top two options.
Luke Joeckel is another option, having spent his first three seasons at left tackle while in Jacksonville. Cable, though, described him as more of a last resort, saying his preference is to keep Joeckel at left guard for the sake of continuity, something that has been fleeting along Seattle’s offensive line in recent seasons.
“My wish, my want is to try and keep as much of it intact as possible,” Cable said. “So if anyone is saying, ‘Why don’t they just move Joeckel out there?’ Well, remember last year? If you just go back 12 months, I think there was too much of that. Nothing we could really handle then; just had to be that way. But this year we have choices, we have the opportunity to keep as much of it intact as we can, and we’ll do that going forward.”
The Seahawks acquired Tobin in a trade with Philadelphia on Monday afternoon. He said he arrived at his hotel room in the Seattle area at around 2 in the morning and got about three hours of sleep before heading to the team’s facility. He had just finished up a physical when he ran onto the field during warmups before practice. That’s when he met Cable, who gave him a handshake and a crash course.
“I was running back and forth on my warmup, not knowing what I was doing and I shook his hand and I shook Coach (Pete) Carroll’s hand,” Tobin said. “I haven’t really gotten to talk to the guys too much but I was talking to them behind the team periods trying to figure out the cadence, for one, and then the calls and the protections and different plays and everything I need to learn.”
Tobin, 27, said he mostly played both tackle spots during his four seasons with the Eagles even though 20 of his 21 starts were at guard. That versatility was a plus for the Seahawks. Cable said he liked the consistency he saw on film from Tobin as well as his background as a college walk-on and a former undrafted free agent “who’s earned everything” he’s gotten in the NFL.
“I have never had anything come easy,” Tobin said. “I mean, I walked on at Iowa. I was the backup and grinding, just trying to get bigger and stronger for three years and had an opportunity to start and then I was a free agent with the Eagles and made the team and just tried to get better and built the trust up with those coaches. Now I’m out here and gonna try and do the same thing.”
Tom Cable: Seahawks’ three LT options are Rees Odhiambo, newcomer Matt Tobin and Luke Joeckel, but preference is to keep Joeckel at LG. pic.twitter.com/6hAaF01CCR
— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) August 22, 2017
Cable said rookie second-round pick Ethan Pocic is not an option at left tackle, which means that, for now, it’s essentially a two-man race between Tobin and Odhiambo for the job of protecting Russell Wilson’s blind side.
A 2016 third-round pick, Odhiambo has all the physical tools but has hard a hard time cutting it loose when the ball is snapped, something Cable said isn’t uncommon for young players. Cable said he was pleased with how Odhiambo played last week when he replaced Fant in the first half of Seattle’s preseason game against Minnesota, save for one series at the start of the second half “that wasn’t very good.”
Odhiambo will start Friday night when the Seahawks play Kansas City at CenturyLink Field in their third preseason game. It sounds like the starting left-tackle job is his to lose.
“It’s a really cool opportunity,” Cable said. “He’s ready for it. We wouldn’t do it unless we kinda felt that way. So I’m kinda excited for him.”