Seahawks offensive line coach/assistant head coach Tom Cable was excited about the prospects for this year's line dating back to the first offseason workouts when he got his hands on the group, and after seeing them in action through two weeks of camp and one preseason game, he remains bullish on that group.
"I think there was a lot put on them last year, very inconsistent," Cable said. "But the fact of the matter is that in the two playoff games, they maybe played their best football of the year. Then you add (Luke) Joeckel, you add (Oday) Aboushi, you add (Ethan) Pocic into that, not only has the group grown a lot mentally as NFL players, but physically we're more comfortable with who we are and what we're capable of. I've said it before, but I'm very excited about this group. Hopefully they'll be able to stay together and play together for a good while."
Seattle's line saw its first game action in Sunday's preseason victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, and while there were a few plays Cable didn't like, he had mostly positive things to say about what is an important step in the development process for this year's line.
"There were some good things and then some things I thought we could get better at," Cable said. "I liked how hard we played right away. I liked our pad-level right away. There were two pressures I didn't like, because it wasn't versus pressure—we picked those up fine, the stunts fine—but we overset twice and rushed the quarterback. We don't need to do that."
As for who will start this season, a starting five has not yet been determined—though Justin Britt is all but a lock to start at center—but Cable said they're getting closer to sticking with a left side of George Fant at tackle and Luke Joeckel at guard. There is still less certainly on the right side, where Germain Ifedi is leading the way at right tackle, but trying to hold off rookie Ethan Pocic, and where Mark Glowinski and Oday Aboushi are splitting time with the No. 1 offense at right guard. Aboushi started Sunday's preseason game, and Cable said Glowinski will get the start this week against Minnesota.
"Really I think the biggest pressing issue is to solidify that right side," Cable said. "I think we're pretty solid at center, left guard and left tackle, so now we just want make sure the opportunity is there for everybody to compete, get their opportunity on the right side, then we'll make that decision hopefully sooner rather than later."
Cable also noted that Pocic will see time at right guard in this week's game, and remains an option at both guard and tackle. And though Ifedi continues to get the bulk of the first-team reps at right tackle, Cable said the time he missed early in camp set him back a bit.
"I'm a little disappointed in that week he missed," Cable said. "That would have really kind of been a big deal for him. So we're kind of playing catchup a little bit, but he seems to be doing fine."
On the left side, Fant has come into his second season a markedly improved player, which was to be expected considering that he barely played in college before signing with the Seahawks as an undrafted rookie.
Coaches have raved about how Fant is not just noticeably bigger and stronger this year, but also much more comfortable and confident having a year under his belt, and all of that showed up "just like you would hope" in Fant's first game action of 2017.
"That was probably my biggest question going in, was how would all of this fit now?" Cable said. "What would it feel like to him? How would he be able to display it, and it was really exciting to see what he has done in terms of his learning curve and his training and all of those things. It's pretty neat."
One think helping Fant in his second season—in addition to his own mental and physical development—is playing next to Joeckel, a fifth-year veteran who has starting experience at both guard and tackle.
"I think there's something to that," Cable said. "We've talked a lot about (Joeckel's) calmness and his experience level and some of the things he has faced in his own career—not much different than George in a lot of ways other than that he had a football background. So I think it's having a great, positive effect in regards to their communication, being able to settle (Fant) down, keep him kind of on point."
Photos from the 12th day of 2017 Seahawks training camp practice at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.