SEATTLE — The Seattle Seahawks are definitively unsure who will be protecting Russell Wilson's blindside come Week 1 in Green Bay, but Friday evening may have given them a positive indication for which direction they may be headed.
In his first career start, left tackle Rees Odhiambo made the most of his opportunity in Seattle's 26-13 win against the Kansas City Chiefs, putting together an impressive performance against a stingy Chiefs defense that features a slate of pass-rushing specialists. Odhiambo played six offensive drives for the Seahawks at left tackle as Seattle's starters played the entire first half and one drive in the third quarter. Besides one play where he had a miscommunication with left guard Luke Joeckel that allowed defense lineman Chris Jones to fly past him, Seahawks head coach Pete Caroll was impressed with how Odhiambo played.
"I thought he did pretty well," Carroll said. "He had one bad pass set when Russ (Russell Wilson) got hit, just made one bad mistake, but other than that he did a pretty good job. There's another run play he might've targeted a little bit off but I thought he was very solid from what I can tell."
The Seahawks opened up the competition at left tackle after starter George Fant sustained a season-ending knee injury against the Minnesota Vikings. That forced Seattle to go with the second-year offensive lineman for the remainder of that game, as well as for the time being as they continue to mix up and browse through their options across the line.
Seattle's starting offensive line unit of Odhiambo, Joeckel, Justin Britt, Oday Aboushi and Germain Ifedi put together a good performance against the Chiefs. Odhiambo gave up one of the two sacks the Seahawks allowed all night, but he still helped open up many things for Seattle on offense. Not only was Wilson sharp through the air, completing 13-of-19 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown, Seattle moved the ball on the ground with Eddie Lacy and rookie Chris Carson. Lacy ran for 21 yards on four carries, while Carson gained 46 yards on eight attempts. It gave the Seahawks the type of balance any team would want on offense.
"We're doing a pretty good job early on and as long as we correct all the little mistakes we made as a unit, everything will be good," Odhiambo said of the line.
Carroll said throughout the week he stayed in constant communication with Odhiambo and that he could tell he wasn't bothered by the pressure of the game. That's a huge positive for somebody who hasn't had many in-game reps at tackle compared to guard where most of his snaps have been.
"I was really proud of him for that," Carroll said. "He wants to do really well, he's a really good worker, a smart kid. He just wants to come through because he knows we need him."
Odhiambo said after the game that consistency will be key for him if he hopes to capitalize off this performance and opportunity heading into the regular season. As the frontrunner for the job, he still has to hold off new left tackle Matt Tobin, who Carroll thought did a nice job as well Friday. Yet with one more remaining preseason game next week in Oakland, another solid outing could essentially win Odhiambo the spot.
"One thing you can always do is be consistent with everything you do every single day and prove yourself every chance you get," Odhiambo said. "Just make sure every time you go out there you do your best.
"I already know what I've got to do to get my job done, it's just a matter of cutting loose and letting go when you get on the field and playing your best."