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Line dancing, again

Posted Sep 19, 2011

Surgery to repair a lingering groin injury will sideline veteran left guard Robert Gallery for four to six weeks, so the Seahawks will turn to Paul McQuistan as they prepare for their home opener.


The Seahawks had big plans for Robert Gallery when they signed the veteran left guard in free agency, and still do.

It’s just that those plans are on hold for four to six weeks because Gallery needs surgery to repair an existing groin problem that he aggravated in the first quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

“Robert is an important guy to us,” coach Pete Carroll said Monday during his weekly day-after news conference. “We’ve loved having him. He’s a fantastic character on your team and personality and all. The experience that he’s been through, the knowledge that he has, helps other guys. So you miss that. There’s no replacing that.”

Paul McQuistan, who was signed to a future contract in January, is the likely replacement until Gallery can return. The 6-foot-6, 315-pound McQuistan has been in the league for five seasons, playing in 35 games – and starting 12 for the Oakland Raiders in 2006 and 2007.

When Gallery was out for the season opener with a sprained knee, rookie right tackle James Carpenter moved to left guard. But Carroll said he is inclined to keep Carpenter at right tackle.

“James played very well at right tackle in this game,” Carroll said. “It was one of his best games, of the six, probably.”

The youth on the line is one of the reasons Gallery’s experience was so vital to a unit that still is seeking consistency and an identity. Carpenter and right guard John Moffitt were the team’s top picks in the April NFL Draft. Max Unger made his fifth start at center and Russell Okung his 12th at left tackle in Sunday’s game.

Gallery has started 94 games since being a first-round draft choice by the Raiders in 2004.

“It’s been something that’s been bothering him,” Carroll said of Gallery’s groin. “We thought that after the couple weeks (off) because of his knee that would get better. But it actually went the other way, because of favoring the other side. So it got a little more vulnerable. He studded it out and played through it. He shouldn’t have, but he did.”

Whoever is playing on the line needs to help an offense that is averaging 191.5 total yards and 47.5 rushing yards to rank last in the league and has scored 17 points in two games.

Carroll said the pass protection improved against the Steelers, even though Tarvaris Jackson was sacked five times, but that the running game is “not happening the way we want to yet.”

“It’s encouraging that they’re improving, but yet we have to go – we have a ways to go still,” he said. “I thought we would be able to move along faster, but we’ve done what we had to do and we’ll continue to push it. We have to push the limits of it and the guys are giving us license to do that. They’re more comfortable. They understand.

“It’s just the circumstances of this year. This was a hard time to have a new group. … We know that they’re going in the right direction. We know they’re going to be good – they’re going to be really good. It’s just a matter of time.”

For the time being, they’ll have to continue to move on without Gallery.