As the Seahawks wrapped up offseason workouts last week, center Justin Britt, one of Seattle's leaders on offense, was already looking forward to getting back on the field for training camp in late July.
"We're all heading into camp excited for our offense and what we have potential to be, and that's the best offense we've had here in a long time," said Britt, a five-year starter who has missed only one game in his NFL career.
And yes, optimism abounds this time of year, so it's not exactly surprising to hear a player take a positive outlook about his team's upcoming season, but Britt has genuine reasons for his excitement about the Seahawks offense and the line in particular in 2018.
For starters, Britt likes what he has seen from new offensive line coach Mike Solari and how he is helping a line that, beyond Britt, Duane Brown and free-agent signing D.J. Fluker, is pretty young across the board.
"It's just a different attitude, different perspective on things," Britt said. "He's been around football for a long time, he's done what he's doing for a long time. He's definitely got different experience, different tactics on how he coaches, and it's been great. Our room is younger, with the exception of Duane and D.J. Our room is on the younger side, so to have someone like coach Solari come in and be real repetitive on how he does things and how he teaches the technique, I think he has done a really good job bringing us along. I don't think there's a lot of guys who are out there feeling lost. I think they're feeling prepared and ready to go.
"I think this is the youngest we've been since I've been here, so you see a lot of speed, a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of want-to and not a lot of have-to. The attitude is right, I'm excited heading into camp after having the OTA and minicamp that we've had. If we stay on course like the way we are, I don't see why we can't be one of the top offenses in the league. We have the tools, we have the coaching and we have the attitude, so we just have to have a good six weeks leading up to camp, and hit it full stride."
Britt added that a coaching change brings different perspective, "in a good way, a real good way."
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll also likes what Solari is adding to an offensive line that he believes will take a big step forward this year.
"We're a little different," Carroll said. "I'm not going to talk a lot about that, you'll see as we go, but we're a little different, and it has called for—Mike has his background that he has brought to these guys, and he's a heck of salesman, he's got them tuned already into the stuff we're doing, and how he speaks and his language, and technically how we're doing it. It has changed the dynamic somewhat, there's a different variety of stuff that we're doing, and guys are really excited about it. There already is a relationship, there already is a sense and they already have their sights set on what they want to do and how they want to do it. I think Justin as well as Duane have given us really solid leadership and voice and all that. We've just got to get really good and work really hard, as well as there's going to be competition too, there's going to be guys battling for spots, so that's all we could ask for in this group. We're coming back feeling more experienced than we've been with really solid leadership, and it's competitive. As soon as George (Fant) gets back, we're going to healthy too. And we really didn't get to see a full load from (Rees) Odhiambo. Rees is going to be competitively involved with everything as soon as he's free to practice on a full-go basis. He's practicing half the stuff right now, and he has looked really good. So it's just a really positive air about them, and I'm really fired up about it."
If the Seahawks are going to have success this year under new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and Solari, an important part of that will be improving a running game that struggled in 2017. At their best under Carroll, the Seahawks have had one of the league's top rushing attacks that is complemented by an efficient and explosive passing game, but over the past two years, in part because of injuries and in part because of inconsistent line play, the Seahawks have struggled to run the ball. From what he has seen out of the running backs to what the new coaches are bringing to the offense, Britt is confident the running game will take a step in the right direction this year.
"Just getting down to the core of things and digging deep into the attitude of who we are and what we're about, and Schotty and Solari coming in, and kind of re-introducing us to our old attitude and what we got away from is all we need," Britt said.
Photos from the third and final practice of the Seattle Seahawks' mandatory minicamp on Thursday, June 14 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.