The Seahawks offensive line has been and will continue to be one of the most discussed position groups on the roster heading into the 2017 season. At times a young and relatively inexperienced line played well, but there were struggles and inconsistencies as well, something the Seahawks want to avoid this year.
With three second-year players battling for starting jobs—George Fant, Germain Ifedi and Rees Odhiambo—with two veteran free agents, Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi added to the mix; and with two rookies, Ethan Pocic and Jordan Roos competing for playing time, offensive line coach/assistant head coach Tom Cable sees the potential for a lot of growth.
"I think to start with is that our retention is good from the spring and they're working very hard," Cable said. "We're better because we're a little older, got some nice guys in addition in terms of Joeckel and Aboushi, and Pocic and Roos. I think all four guys can help us somewhere."
In particular, the trio of Fant, Odhiambo and Ifedi should be able to make a big leap with a year of NFL experience under their belt, and that's especially true for Fant, who was a college basketball player who barely played in his one season of football at Western Kentucky.
"Coach (Pete Carroll) and I talked about it; it's like when freshmen become sophomores, a big jump that second year, and we're seeing some of that," Cable said. "…When you talk about things now, (Fant) understands what it is. He's not just fresh off the basketball court, 'I don't know what you are saying', you know? So we are in another level in terms of our conversations, discussions, the things that he is working on now are things we never got to last year. So that is going to be a big part of him getting himself ready physically, but also his maturation.
While Fant, Odhiambo and Jockel are battling for two starting spots on the right side, Mark Glowinski, last year's starter at left guard, is competing at right guard with Aboushi. That's a move back to his natural position for Glowinski, who played on the right side in college and as a backup during his rookie season.
"That is his background and we have kind of talked about this before," Cable said. "He seems much more comfortable and much more sure of himself."
And while Britt, who was a Pro Bowl alternate in his first season at center, is a veteran who is as close to being a lock to start as anyone on the line, he too should benefit from having a year under his belt. A right tackle as a rookie and left guard in 2015, Britt is preparing this year to stay at the same position in consecutive years for the first time in his professional career.
"Like the rest of the group, his improvement is very noticeable," Cable said. "His command of it and his leadership has really showed up, but playing the position with the fundamentals, he's a whole year better after going at it for a year. He understands what you're talking about right from the get-go, and he's able to really make a difference in there."
And thanks to the signings of Jockel and Aboushi, Britt won't be the only veteran available to help the rest of the young linemen develop.
"Here are a couple of guys that played five years and both of them have been starters in the NFL and they have both been in transition from one team to another," Cable said. "… What I am really pleased with them about is how much they are doing for the young guys and how willing they are to help guys grow. So it's a cool group, really cool group."
Photos of fans from the sixth day of 2017 Seahawks training camp at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.