O’Neil: For once, high-profile veterans fitting in with Pete Carroll’s Seahawks
The same old story?
Not when it comes to Seahawks receiver Brandon Marshall and offensive lineman D.J. Fluker.
They are two high-profile veterans, precisely the kind of players who’ve had such a hard time making the Seattle roster during Pete Carroll’s tenure. But after three weeks of practice, they appear to be exactly the right fit for this Seahawks team with Marshall as that big-bodied receiver seeking to prolong what might be a Hall of Fame career and Fluker a mountain of a man who’s fitting in (snugly) at right guard.
These developments constitute a surprise for anyone who has followed the Seahawks under Carroll not to mention those of us who were scrutinizing Fluker’s noticeable limp the first week of training camp.
Under Carroll, the Seahawks have signed a number of big-name veterans with the hopes of seeing if there’s still tread on the tires. Receivers like Antonio Bryant and Terrell Owens. Offensive linemen like Jahri Evans and Eric Winston. There was even a Pro Bowler in Antoine Winfield that was mixed in there. The Seahawks kept exactly none of those guys on the regular-season roster.
So when Marshall signed with the Seahawks for an eminently reasonable $2 million, I considered it a move that would look better in theory than actual practice. You know, kind of like Communism. Or starting the backup quarterback.
One catch changed that assessment. It happened the first week of training camp on the day of the Seahawks’ mock game, when Russell Wilson threw a back-shoulder fade that Marshall leaped up to catch without much more than a whimper of protest from the defensive back.
But what happened next was even more important. Marshall kept practicing. And while that doesn’t sound like a big deal, it is. Not just because the veteran who has played for five different teams was limited to five games with the Giants last season and is coming off surgeries to his toe and his ankle. It’s a big deal because veterans don’t get to cruise through training camp. At least not if they’re newly signed to the Seahawks.
And watching Fluker the first week, it was impossible not to look at the bulky leg brace, the noticeable limp as he walked between drills and wonder if he would make it through training camp let alone into the regular season. When the Seahawks brought back J.R. Sweezy, it seemed to be another veteran to provide insurance.
Well, Fluker hasn’t missed a practice since then while Sweezy has been limited by a leg injury, and it seems that if there’s a question on Seattle’s offensive line, it’s about the right tackle and not Fluker’s status as the starting right guard.
As Seattle prepares for its second preseason game, it certainly appears the Seahawks have (finally) drawn a pair of veterans who should stick around into the regular season.