Seahawks’ Rees Odhiambo, Justin Britt say confidence growing for O-line

Aug 25, 2017, 10:53 PM | Updated: 11:03 pm
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OL Rees Odhiambo started at left tackle in Friday's preseason game against Kansas City. (AP)

One of the biggest question marks heading into the Seahawks’ preseason game Friday against the Kansas City Chiefs was at left tackle, where second-year pro Rees Odhiambo got his first start in relief of George Fant, who last week suffered a torn ACL.

There may not be a clear answer yet, but outside of a communication error that led to a sack, Odhiambo performed well in Seattle’s 26-13 win. And although it provided an admittedly small sample size, the Seahawks offensive line appeared more than capable of handling the job of protecting Russell Wilson on Friday night – which is good news for fans hoping to see a unit grow from its dead-last ranking in 2016.

A look at the Seahawks’ left tackle options

Odhiambo, 24, appeared in just nine games for Seattle since being drafted in 2016, including a playoff game in which he played at right guard in place of an injured Germain Ifedi. Head coach Pete Carroll was pleased with his performance against Kansas City despite his inexperience.

“I thought he did pretty well,” Carroll said. “He had one bad pass set and (Wilson) got hit. He just made a mistake on it, but other than that, he did a pretty good job. There was another run play where his target may have been a little off, but I thought he was very solid from what I can tell.”

That mistake came in the third quarter. On second-and-10 from the Kansas City 29-yard line, Odhiambo was beaten inside almost immediately by Kansas City defensive end Chris Jones, who took down Wilson for a 7-yard loss.

“(Luke Joeckel and I) kind of talked about it differently,” Odhiambo told reporters after the game.  “I was expecting to set out to the linebacker and we misread it. Besides that, we had a pretty good day communicating.”

Through the first half, Seattle’s offensive line held the Chiefs defense to just one sack and one quarterback hit, and it also opened rushing lanes for a solid ground game. Lead backs Chris Carson and Eddie Lacy averaged more than five yards per carry. Another highlight came just before halftime on first-and-10 from the Kansas City 34-yard line, as Wilson had plenty of time in the pocket and threw a 30-yard dart to tight end Jimmy Graham over the middle.

“(Russell) was able for the most part to sit back there and toss the ball around,” center Justin Britt said after the game. “So that’s a good sign.”

Britt liked what he saw from Odhiambo, and says the group’s trust in one another is evident.

“I think our confidence is skyrocketing,” he said. “I think out camaraderie and our trust in each other is starting to really show.

“I trusted Rees, so did Luke, and we miss George to death and it’s a tragic injury, but Rees is a great man to step up and fill the void. He’s done great all week and he did good tonight.”

Odhiambo is likely to start again at left tackle for the Seahawks’ final preseason game next Thursday against the Oakland Raiders. His biggest test, though, will be when Seattle travels to Green Bay to take on the Packers in their regular season opener on Sept. 10.

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