That's Sweezy, as in making it look easy

Posted Aug 24, 2012

A year ago, J.R. Sweezy was a defensive tackle at North Carolina State. Tonight, he will make his second preseason start for the Seahawks at right guard against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

KANSAS CITY – There seems to be no shortage of superlatives when it comes to assessing J.R. Sweezy’s on-going, but ridiculously rapid, transformation from college defensive tackle to NFL offensive guard.
“The biggest story from the coaching staff is J.R. Sweezy,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this week. “That’s really a remarkable situation. It’s really surprising that a guy could compete like he’s competing. That’s the biggest story for us, it’s such a surprise that he could do all of that so soon.”
Offered offensive line coach Tom Cable, “I’m shocked, really. He’s never been an offensive lineman and never put his hand on the ground that way. So this has been his first time, and his transition, so far, I would say he’s ahead of schedule.”
Then there’s this from second-year guard John Moffitt, “It’s amazing. What he’s doing would be tough in high school and really hard in college. To do it at this level, it’s amazing.”
Remarkable? Shocking? Amazing? Sweezy’s take? He hasn’t heard – or read – any of it. That’s because he’s too busy doing what he’s doing to worry about what others are saying about, well, what he’s doing.
“I don’t pay any attention to it,” Sweezy said. “I just go out there every day and go 100 miles an hour, and what happens happens.
“I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls from family and friends. I give them the, ‘Thank you, I appreciate it.’ And just keep working hard.”  
The 6-foot-5, 298-pound Sweezy, a seventh-round pick in the April NFL Draft, won’t just play in tonight’s third preseason game against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium; he is starting at right guard because Moffitt is sidelined after having surgery on his left elbow last week.
Sweezy also started last week’s game against the Broncos in Denver and did well enough that the coaches decided his impressive progress deserves another long look with the No. 1 offense that will quarterbacked tonight by rookie Russell Wilson.
“It didn’t really even affect me,” Sweezy said when asked for his reaction to the news that he was starting last week. “It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, I’m starting. I’d better call people.’ I just went to work, like any other day.”
That has been Sweezy’s approach since Day One, and it obviously is serving him well.
“He’s such a tenacious, tough guy. And smart. And, obviously, he had to be physically fit to play it,” Carroll said. “He had a very good game in his second game. That may be week-to-week, so we’re anxious to see J.R. play again with the first group and see how he does.”
Like Wilson earlier this week, Sweezy says working against the Seahawks’ No. 1 defense in practice all week is great preparation for what he’ll face against the Chiefs.
“I don’t believe we’ve faced a better defense,” he said. “You got Red (Bryant), he’s going to bull rush you. Then you’ve got speed guys like Clem (Chris Clemons). You’ve got every aspect, so we’re seeing everything in practice every day.”
Then there’s the tempo of Carroll’s practices.
“We practice so hard and so fast, these games they slow down sometimes,” Sweezy said.
The secret to Sweezy’s surprising success? His blinders-on focus? His attention to the most-minute nuance? His drive to success in a situation where the odds suggest he won’t?
“I haven’t really broken it down,” he said. “I would image all of that plays into it. But just having the great group of guys around me, the great coaches; I’ve got nothing but help and support. Like I said, I just try to go out there every day and fix things that I mess up on and every day I try to make something in my game better.”
At the end of the interview for this story, Sweezy reiterated that he isn’t getting caught up in all the attention his performance is generating.
“I won’t read this article,” he said through the slightest of smiles. “My mom will call and say, ‘Hey, they wrote an article about you.’ I’m like, ‘OK, that’s good to know.’ But I don’t even want to know what’s in it.”