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Another week, another starter at left tackle
Kyle Williams steps into the pivotal left tackle position on Sunday when the Seahawks play an important early season game against the Arizona Cardinals at Qwest Field.
But his mom won’t be around to see it.
“She’s getting on a flight for Europe this weekend to run a marathon,” Williams said Wednesday after practice. “It’s her first one and she’s been training for it for about a year now.
“So she’ll miss this, but that’s all right.”
While his mother is running 26.2 miles, Williams will be worrying about controlling the couple-of-yards area that separates sore-ribbed quarterback Matt Hasselbeck from a Cardinals’ pass rush that hit him six times and sacked him twice in last year’s game at Qwest Field.
Williams is in because Walter Jones, Sean Locklear and now Brandon Frye are out. Jones, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, continues his rehab from having two surgical procedures on his left knee in a nine-month span. Locklear, the starter on the right side who was subbing for Jones, is out with a high ankle sprain. Frye, a waiver-wire pickup last month who started the past three games, was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after injuring his neck in Sunday’s big win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
So Williams it is.
“I’m just going to step in right now and help us get this win,” he said. “That’s why I’m here.”
Williams’ season has mirrored that of the position he is stepping into – up, and down.
When the final cuts were made last month, Williams was on the 53-man roster – at least until Frye was claimed the next day. Williams was then signed to the practice squad. He remained there until two weeks ago, when he was signed to the active roster on Saturday for the game against the Indianapolis Colts, only to return to the practice squad three days later. He was added to the active roster again last Saturday, and then quickly thrust into the lineup on Sunday.
“He did a good job,” offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said. “He had some hesitation at times. But as the game progressed and as our tempo kept going, he improved.”
Despite having another player fall into his knee on one of the Seahawks’ field goals in the first half.
“It wasn’t a big deal,” Williams said. “You’re on the ground and you’re kind of scared, because you don’t know what’s going to happen until you get up and walk around. But it’s fine.”
Six games, three different starters at left tackle. Six games, four different starting line combinations. Not exactly the kind of continuity anyone is looking for on the offensive line, and especially not at the most important position on that line.
“We’re going to have to change things a little bit, because Kyle’s experience isn’t as much as some others,” Knapp said. “But not a lot. We’re going to do what we do.”
Williams has been here before. In fact, it was in last year’s season finale – against the Cardinals in Arizona. He actually started the final two games after the entire starting unit ended up injured reserve.
“Quick. Fast. Strong. They’ve got experience,” he said when asked about the Cardinals’ defensive front. “That’s pretty much all you can say about it.”
Sunday, Williams was thrown into the mix so quickly that he admitted there was no time to think about what was happening. This time, at least he’ll have the week to prepare – and be playing just one position.
“Now, I’m able to focus a little bit more on that left side,” he said. “Before, like last week, I had to practice on both sides. So just being able to concentrate on one side helps out, too.”
As with all the backups who have had to step in during this season where 12 starters already have missed a combined 30 games, coach Jim Mora is taking a forge-ahead approach with Williams – who also spent the entire 2007 season on the practice squad.
“We have a lot of confidence in Kyle,” Mora said. “He’s been here. He went in and played well Sunday. He’ll get better this week because he’ll get more repetitions. He’s confident. He played at USC. He’s played in big game. He’s not going to be intimidated by the atmosphere. So he’ll do fine.”
Asked how he might approach Williams this week, when too much attention could only add to the pressure of the situation, Mora offered, “I don’t even think about that stuff, really. He’s a pro. He’s expected to do his job.
“We’re not dealing with a high school kid here. He knows what it’s all about.”