Seahawks LT Duane Brown explains the difficulty Seattle’s new-look OL faces
After the Seahawks’ 2019 season ended, head coach Pete Carroll acknowledged that he wanted to maintain continuity on the team’s offensive line for 2020. Well, that didn’t really happen.
Seattle cut starting right guard D.J. Fluker and center Justin Britt as part of cap savings and let right tackle German Ifedi walk in free agency this offseasom. The Seahawks did, however, bring back 2019 starting left guard Mike Iupati on a one-year deal, but he has battled injuries and will face stiff competition to keep his spot. Additionally, Seattle used a tender on center Joey Hunt, who started for most of 2019 when Britt suffered a torn ACL.
All in all, the Seahawks could have as many as four new starting offensive linemen, or two, if Iupati wins the job at left guard and Hunt, if you would classify him as a 2019 starter, is the team’s starting center.
But someone who will be back is left tackle Duane Brown, 35 in August, who is entering his 13th NFL season and his fourth with the Seahawks.
The coronavirus has essentially made it so teams are unable to meet in person, and the future of practices are hazy. Because of this, Brown said getting the offensive line gelled as a solid unit could prove to be more difficult than normal.
“Good offensive line play, a major factor is chemistry and continuity,” Brown told reporters in a video call Wednesday morning. “We lost a good chunk of our starting pieces this offseason, so we’ve got some new faces, we’ve got some guys who’ve been in the system, got some guys that haven’t been there, so just getting to learn each other, learning the terminology, communication, just learning how we do everything here, all that stuff is important.”
To help those new players, such as third-round guard Damien Lewis and free-agent pickups B.J. Finney, Brandon Shell and Cedric Ogbuehi, Brown is talking with teammates over text and phone calls “to build as much chemistry as possible” until the players are able to meet in person.
“Once that happens, we’ll have a small window to build each other up as much as possible until the season starts,” he said.
If organized team activities are indeed scrapped, which appears to be the case as they normally would have started by now, then training camp will be the first time new players are with the team as a whole. Brown says that could be tricky, but acknowledges that the whole league is in the same situation.
“Once we go to training camp, that’s the most intense part of the offseason, so you don’t really have a build up of workouts and meetings and kind of a walkthrough tempo in practice,” he said. “You’re going straight to pads at full speed. It will be interesting to see how it plays out, but we’re all competitors, all professionals and we’ll get it done.”
Brown mentioned a few times to reporters that the offensive line would need to quickly get on the same page. He says that’s possible, but it will be tough.
“I think just put in more hours normal and I don’t know how we’ll be able to do that since training camp is full days, but I don’t know when we’ll be back,” Brown said. “… But whenever we are (practicing), you’ve got to put more time in meetings, make sure you’re seeing everything through the same set of eyes, answering any question that someone has … So we’ll have to spend a lot of time in meetings and execute in practice. There’s going to be mistakes, but just trying to cut them as little as possible. I can’t tell you what it’s going to be like, but once I get a a feel for it over the first few days, I’ll kind of know where to go from there.
Brown dealt with two injuries in 2019, a biceps injury that cost him two games and a minor knee surgery that caused him to miss the final two regular season games as well as the team’s first playoff game. He said he hasn’t experienced any setbacks with either injury.
“The knee’s doing great. I didn’t have to do any more work done after the year,” he said. “I just got it checked out and got treatment done to it and since then, I’ve just been working out, keeping it strong, moving around. It’s just a typical offseason for me at this point. I’m not really nursing it too much at this point, so I’m feeling pretty good.”With the bicep, he said he didn’t need any surgery and that he hasn’t had any restrictions with working out. Brown is a seasoned veteran, and to combat the wear and tear he’s had over his 12 NFL seasons, he’s changing how he’s staying in shape.
“One thing I’ve worked on this offseason is mobility, just being more flexible,” he said. “(Through most of) my career I’ve just focused on speed, strength, quickness, things like that … I’m working on my hips more and (doing) more body maintenance, being more proactive about my body the year’s past. I’ve worked very hard and worked out five days a week and the more you do that and the older you get, you have to match that with the same level of physical therapy work and body maintenance and not get muscles too tight and things like that, so that’s been a big point of emphasis for me.”
Brown has had a great NFl career, earning four Pro Bowl nods and being named First-Team All Pro once in his career. He is signed through the 2021 season and will be 36 when his contract is up.
Naturally, some will think that could be the end of his career, or perhaps even after this upcoming season. Brown said he’s not thinking about that.
“I tell myself I don’t want to put a number on when I want to walk away,” he said. “I’m enjoying it. My goal this year is just to stay as healthy as possible, play and be out there every Sunday and that’s all I’m really concerned with.”
You can watch Brown’s full interview at this link.