We used to be in there, now we’re out here
The loss of both rookie offensive linemen in the span of four days is an unbelievable setback to a unit whose progress was the major focus of this low-expectations season.
The season-ending knee injuries to James Carpenter and John Moffitt this week – i.e., in the middle of the season — mean the rookies are likely to miss all of the offseason workouts and perhaps part of training camp next year. That’s a major blow to a line that was expected to take its lumps this season in hopes of turning into a solid unit next year. Now, that development has been put off for an entire year.
It’s just the latest in a seemingly never-ending string of mishaps for the Seahawks’ offensive line since Steve Hutchinson was allowed to sign with Minnesota in 2006. Thus, the Curse of Hutch.
How else do you explain 29 line combinations in the last 58 games? That’s a different group every other game for almost four seasons! That’s as far as anyone has to look to know why the Seahawks are 19-38 since 2008.
Whether it was nagging injuries that continually sidelined guys like Chris Spencer, Rob Sims and Sean Locklear, the inability to find a left tackle to replace Walter Jones, left guards dropping like flies, Russell Okung suffering not one but two high ankle sprains as a rookie or the latest double whammy, there’s no doubt this unit is cursed.
Just ask Tom Cable, who told reporters he had never lost a guy for the season in a pass protection drill in 25 years as a coach.
So, the Hawks are on to a new lineup combination – their fifth of the season and 15th in the last 26 games. In that span alone, they have started three left tackles, seven left guards, three centers, three right tackles and now five right guards.
Everyone but Okung will have missed at least one game this season, and Okung started out playing with a high ankle sprain like the two that sidelined him for six games last season.
So, now the line figures to look like this: Okung, Robert Gallery, Max Unger, Paul McQuistan, Breno Giacomini. And the Hawks can’t afford any more injuries.
This is actually Giacomini’s chance to show whether he is any better than Carpenter, who has really struggled in the passing game (which makes it apropos in a twisted way that he was hurt while working on that element of his game).
It’s quite possible that the Seahawks would be better with Carpenter playing left guard and Giacomini playing right tackle. If Giacomini handles tackle well over the next seven games (or, even if he doesn’t), it might suit the Seahawks better to move Carpenter to left guard, where he likely would have an easier time coming back after most of a year out.
Carpenter played left tackle at Alabama, so he is used to setting up in a left-sided stance. That’s part of why he has struggled so much on the right side, and it’s still questionable whether he is cut out for right tackle. The guy can definitely start in the NFL – it’s just a question of whether he’s a better right tackle or left guard.
If Giacomini does not cut it as a starting tackle, the Hawks could always sign a veteran or even draft another right tackle next year. If they get aced out for the top quarterbacks in the draft, picking a lineman in the first round for the third straight year certainly would not be the worst move they could make.
For now, unfortunately, their season has even less meaning since no progress can be made on the line.
Just chalk it up to the Curse of Hutch.
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