KANSAS CITY -- Heading into Saturday's preseason opener against the Chiefs, Tom Cable was asked what he wanted to see out of his offensive line, with the Seattle assistant head coach stating he simply needed to see his players play football, because due to the physical nature of the position, judging the group's play during less-than-full-speed training camp practices can only show you so much.
Well, following the Seahawks' 17-16 win at Kansas City, one that came in thrilling fashion on the final play of the game, head coach Pete Carroll shared an encouraging assessment of the team's offensive line that features several new faces in new places.
"I was really pleased," Carroll said. "I thought the first group did a great job of driving the ball. Everything was really on it."
Against Kansas City, Seattle's first-string offensive line looked as it did in practice this past week. With J'Marcus Webb, who has been starting at right tackle in training camp, battling a knee injury, the Seahawks used Bradley Sowell at left tackle, Mark Glowinski at left guard, Justin Britt at center, rookie first-round pick Germain Ifedi at right guard, and Garry Gilliam at right tackle. The group ran just one series with starting quarterback Russell Wilson, but remained in the game into the second quarter.
"I thought the offensive line did great," said Wilson. "I was only in there for one series, but for that one series I had plenty of time, guys were solid up there up front. The communication, guys being engaged."
Before an end-zone interception ended the Seahawks' opening drive, Wilson had time to connect with open receivers, finding Doug Baldwin twice and Tyler Lockett once. Running back Christine Michael, meanwhile, finished the day with seven carries for 44 yards, 27 of which came on four totes during Seattle's initial possession, as he ran through tackles, and open holes.
"I told those guys, those guys did an outstanding job tonight, man," Michael said of Seattle's O-line. "Those guys were giving their running backs five yards before we even get touched. That's always good. I hang my hats off to those guys. Without those guys, of course it's hard to even throw the ball, run the ball, anything. So those guys did a good job."
Added Ifedi: "I thought we did good. We communicated well. We picked up a lot of things they threw at us. We can always get better. This is the first preseason game, but I thought for the first game, for this group only being together a week or so now, I thought we were really good."
The grouping of Sowell, Glowinski, Britt, Ifedi, and Gilliam saw anywhere between 23-25 plays together, according to Carroll's estimate, which is what the Seahawks had hoped to see. Britt is perhaps in the newest spot of the bunch, having started at right tackle his rookie season, left guard last season, and now making the move to center, with Saturday's game marking his first real action at the position.
"This is my third year in the NFL and I've kind of gone up and down mentally and I finally feel like I've done a really good job in learning how I prepare and being in a calm setting mentally," said Britt. "I was talking with Russell, and I've felt like I've been [at center] for years, and he said the same thing. But I feel like that's the way I prepared and having a great coaching staff and everybody in the building, and trusting the guys next to me to do their job."
In terms of the offensive line's communication with the quarterback, Wilson said it all starts with Britt, who in working with Wilson has been "in tune with what we're trying to do" while making "some great calls" that allowed the offense to move the ball "extremely well."
"He's so dedicated to the craft," Wilson said of Britt. "He's constantly studying, constantly asking questions. When we were out there I didn't even realize it was his first game at center just because I've seen him so much, so many times, and he's been in so many big games and so many big moments.
"There's no fear in him. He loves the challenge. We love that he loves the challenge. He's going to be great at it."
As Wilson said postgame, there is still plenty of room for improvement across the board on the offensive side of the football. But through roughly two weeks of training camp and now one exhibition game, the Seahawks quarterback feels confident in saying the offense is further ahead at this point of preseason play than it has been in any of his previous four NFL seasons.
"I think we're right where we need to be," Wilson said. "I don't think we can get too much better in the sense of guys being connected to one another. The calls, the plays, we're playing with great tempo. There's always room for improvement, obviously, as you go throughout the season and we're just starting. We haven't been this good in terms of collective offense I don't think ever since we've been here, for four years, five years or whatever. So it's a great start and we want to start where we finished last year. We want to accelerate. We want to continue to be able to do all the things that we can do."
Coach Carroll admitted he would need to watch the film of Saturday's game before making a thorough assessment of the offensive line, but added "I thought we looked very solid and that's a really good first outing for our guys. It looked like it's looked in practice."
"I can't wait to see this film," he said. "The sooner we can get to it the better just so we can see what all these guys look like and we'll know more."
Look through the best photos from the Seahawks preseason game at Kansas City on Saturday, August 13.