Bradley Sowell wasn't expecting to play as much as he did last week in his first game back from a knee injury, but after replacing Garry Gilliam at right tackle after just one offensive series, Sowell remained at that spot the rest of the game, playing 60 of 63 plays.
Sowell admits he felt a little rusty at times having missed Seattle's previous four games, but he was more than happy to stay on the field to show to the team and to himself that he was all the way back. And on Wednesday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll announced that Sowell, who started the first six games of the season at left tackle, will start this week's game at right tackle.
"It feels good," Sowell said of being back. "Obviously I had a rough month dealing with my knee. I felt really good, but I just couldn't make it back. I kept trying each week, and it always felt a little funny or something, then finally last week I got a chance to come back. They put me in there pretty quick, a lot quicker than I thought they were, and it just kind of went from there."
Sowell isn't returning to his spot at left tackle because the Seahawks are excited about what they've seen from rookie George Fant since he took over in Sowell's absence, so in the name of getting the best five players on the field, they had Sowell and Gilliam compete for the starting job on the right side.
"With George's movement and consistent improvement from week to week, and as you know everything in this program is about competition, we were just trying to find the best five guys to get on the field," offensive line coach Tom Cable said.
And as much as Sowell didn't like being out, him having time in practice the past couple of weeks to make the transition to right tackle, a position he hasn't played in a game since his rookie season, is what allowed him to win that job.
"The injury that he had with the knee was a bit of a blessing," offensive line coach Tom Cable said. "It gave us some extended time to train him and get more reps. Had we forced it and had him play earlier, he may not have been quite as ready."
Sowell admits he feels more comfortable at left tackle having spent more time there, but said, "Wherever they need me, I'm good to go with it."
The Seahawks switching to Sowell doesn't mean the line is set going forward—"it's always competition," Cable noted—but he has shown enough in practice and in last week's game to get the starting nod this week.
"I think you see in that game his physical-ness, his strength, obviously his length and size," Cable said. "All those things kind of fit what we're trying to do. It was pretty obvious right when he went in that it was a good thing."
And like everyone else on the line, Sowell knows he and his teammates need to be better than they were last week against Tampa Bay when Russell Wilson was sacked six times, and they're confident they'll be able to turn things around beginning this week.
"We've just got to do better, do a better job protecting, get off the ball better," Sowell said. "I think we'll be fine, we just had an off night, and we'll get better as we go.
"It is, it certainly is (fixable). I just feel like we've got to target things better, we've got to get off the ball better—we had a couple time we were late off the ball. It's all stuff that's correctable. We went against good D-lines this year and held up better than that. It's just one of those off nights, but I think we'll certainly fix it and come back ready to go."
Take a look at the Carolina Panthers players you can expect to see when the Seattle Seahawks take the field in Week 13 on Sunday Night Football at CenturyLink Field.