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One tough guy
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The Seahawks’ offensive linemen need no motivational ploys about fighting through fatigue or maniacal messages about playing through pain.
They’ve got Tom Cable.
The team’s assistant head coach/offensive line coach had back surgery on Sept. 26, but has not missed a game – the one against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field on Oct. 2, which he watched from an oversized chair in the coaches’ box; or Sunday’s against the New York Giants at the Meadowlands, which included five-hour flights to get there and get back.
“Tom is definitely an O-line guy – one of those big, tough guys who just loves the game,” left tackle Russell Okung said Tuesday, after the first of the team’s two bye-week practices. “He just can’t stand to be away from the game. You’ve got to hold him in high regard and have respect for what he’s doing.
“He’s going through a lot, but he’s obviously showing a lot of perseverance.”
There was nothing minor about Cable back surgery, and no way he could have postponed it until after the season or even this week.
“It was an old injury that all of a sudden just got really bad,” Cable said. “So your choice is either you lose the use your left leg, or you go get this done.”
Talk about having no choice. So Cable got it done, and then some.
“The incision is a big one, so that’s the only real negative left is just kind of letting that heal up,” Cable said.
The size of the incision matched the amount of repair work that was needed.
“I don’t really know,” Cable said when asked exactly what was done. “I know there’s four rods in there and a cage and a couple of bone grafts. Whatever that means.”
What that means is that Cable is one tough hombre, which is the way he wants his linemen to play. And the improved play of his unit the past three weeks – especially from the rookie right side of guard John Moffitt and tackle James Carpenter – has been the best medicine Cable could get in his recovery.
“Like I told you before, I wasn’t too worried about that,” Cable said. “It was just a matter of ‘when.’ It’s finally happening. So it’s pretty cool.”
On the entire offensive performance in the upset win over the Giants, Cable said, “I think that we’re on to something that everybody – every player – gets to put their hands on and be excited about their role. It involves everybody. It’s just really cool.”
Cool is not a word he would use to describe the procedure on his back. On the contrary. Asked what it was like going through the surgery and recovery, Cable offered, “Suffering.”
But he didn’t suffer in solitude, even during the four days he was in the hospital.
“The whole group – the staff, Pete (Carroll), everybody – has been so helpful in helping me get through it,” he said. “I’m in the hospital and I’ve still got film to game plan and do all that stuff. They’re getting it to me, so I never had to miss anything. Which was really cool.
“My days were kind of short, so I just got a lot of stuff done. But everybody did a great job of really helping me. That made it all possible, really.”
Cable was even able to watch practice via Skype.
“I could see some things and talk to a couple of guys and really just kind of stay connected, and that was the whole point of doing it,” he said. “And it worked really well.”
What Cable saw was the improvement he has been expecting from his young starting unit – Okung, the second-year starter at left tackle; Paul McQuistan, who is starting at left guard for an injured Robert Gallery; Max Unger, a first-year starter at center; and the rookies on the right side.
“I told them going into Arizona, ‘You’re not a bunch of kids anymore. You’re NFL linemen now. So even though we’ve had our struggles, you’re ready for this. You have to believe you’re ready for this,’ ” Cable said.
From his lips to the linemen’s improved play on the field.
“I think they started to (believe) that week and played much better against Atlanta,” he said. “It has just taken off on its own.”