JOHN CLAYTON

Despite criticism, Tom Cable feels good about Seahawks’ new-look offensive line

Aug 3, 2016, 10:08 AM | Updated: 12:40 pm
The Seahawks' projected starting offensive line includes new players at all five spots. (AP)...
The Seahawks' projected starting offensive line includes new players at all five spots. (AP)
(AP)
LISTEN: Tom Cable on what he's seen from the Seahawks' offensive line

While outside rating services aren’t buying into the Seahawks’ offensive line, Tom Cable is.

The debate is understandable. Those outside the organization are looking at a group that currently features new starters at all five positions. They point out only 6.9 percent of the Seahawks’ salary cap – $10.2 million in cap dollars – is invested in the offensive line. That’s the lowest in the league.

While no one will know until the regular season if that group is going to be good or bad, the mistake would be thinking there isn’t a commitment by the franchise to its offensive line.

Over the past three years, the Seahawks have used seven draft choices for offensive linemen, including a first-round pick for Germain Ifedi, a second for Justin Britt, a third for Rees Odhiambo and two fourths for Mark Glowinski and Terry Poole. The team hopes it struck gold with Garry Gilliam, who was undrafted.

In the first phase of Pete Carroll’s rebuilding plan, there was stability along the line. The Seahawks are now trying to make an adjustment into the next phase.

“We are in that transition with Marshawn retiring, with the linemen that have left here,” said Cable, Seattle’s offensive-line coach and assistant head coach. “Your quarterback is really kind of coming into maybe his finest years as a player. You’ve got some good, young runners. You’ve got a nice group of receivers now. This is the probably the most important time for the offensive line to come together and then be together.’’

Naturally, there will be growing pains. Everything is new. Gilliam is moving from right tackle to left tackle. Ifedi is a rookie right guard. Glowinski is a first-year starter at left guard. Britt is trying to be a center, his third position in three years.

Cable feels good about the transition so far. The first padded practice on Monday included Ifedi getting into a skirmish with defensive end Michael Bennett. Ifedi didn’t back down in that altercation. He won respect from his teammates and Cable for his toughness.

What you can see from Cable on the field is that he’s having a blast. He’s already considering this one of his favorite lines he’s coached. He likes the intelligence of the players and he likes the size. Pound for pound, the Seahawks have the fifth-heaviest offensive line in the league. Cable particularly loves the depth, considering some spots on the line to be three deep.

“We have numbers for the first time,’’ Cable said. “Guys have a chance to develop and be good NFL linemen.’’

In Glowinski, Cable sees size and physical skills reminiscent of Robert Gallery, a player he coached in Oakland. Gilliam won him over with his play at right tackle after five games last year and showed his blocking is perfect for a back to follow. Ifedi is big, strong, confident and smart. Clearly, Cable believes Britt is one of his five best blockers.

Last year, it took seven games for the line to come together. Cable noted the group gave up 31 sacks in the first seven games but only 15 in the final nine, and the team finished in the top five in rushing.

Cable’s mission this year is the get Seattle’s offensive line ready to win battles in the first game of the regular season. If it can, it should be good for years.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.

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Despite criticism, Tom Cable feels good about Seahawks’ new-look offensive line