Wednesday, May 18, 2011

SEAHAWKS: State of the offensive guards and centers

John Moffitt
Welcome Jake Schubert to the Next Season Sports writing team. His main area of expertise is the NBA, but oh wait, WE DON'T HAVE A TEAM!

If you asked any Seahawks fan what the number 1 problem was with our inner offensive line last year, they would likely say this: Pass Protection.

Now before you jump to conclusions about the talent level of the Seahawks' guards and centers, let me lay out a fact for you. The Hawks started a trillion different offensive line combinations, which made it hard for all the linemen to be on the same page. A big part of an O-line is cohesiveness, which is something the Seahawks lacked last year on the line.

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But let's shove away all those bad memories and look to what the guards and centers could look like in 2011.

Center: 6-3, 309 pound Chris Spencer has been the starting center for the Seahawks since 2006, but that could very well change this season. 6-5, 305 pound right guard Max Unger - who hurt his toe in week 1 and was out for the rest of the season - played center at the University of Oregon (it hurts me just typing that) and could get some looks at that position. Unger hasn't fully reached his potential yet, while Spencer seems to have hit his peak.

Right guard: With their third round pick this year, the Seahawks selected a right guard out of Wisconsin with the name of John Moffitt. I would have to think the Seahawks would draft Moffitt in the hopes of starting him as soon as possible. Plus, it seems as though he doesn't have a lot of competition. Stacy Andrews got the bulk of playing time at the right guard spot last season, and unless he's been purposely hiding something, the 29 year old has already hit his full potential.

Moffitt arriving is just another reason to move Max Unger over to the center position.

Left guard: While it seems as though all the other line positions are set with promising young talent, the left guard is a free for all between Stacy Andrews, Tyler Polumbus, Mike Gibson, Chester Pitts (if re-signed), and Chris Spencer (if Unger takes his center job). Pitts ended the season with the job, but Gibson played there most of the year while Pitts was out with an injury. Chris Spencer probably has the most raw talent in this group, but is unfamiliar with the guard position.

Tyler Polumbus subbed for Russell Okung while he was out with a high ankle sprain at left tackle, and did fairly well, but is also unfamiliar with the guard position. Polumbus also has his monstrous 6-8, 300 pounds frame going for him, so that could play a factor in Pete Carroll's final decision.

The left guard spot will be a fight to the death.

2011 projected starting lineup

Right guard: John Moffitt (backup: Stacy Andrews)
Center: Max Unger (backup: Chris Spencer)
Left guard: Mike Gibson (backups: Chester Pitts if re-signed. If not, Tyler Polumbus).

Check out the other "State of the Seahawks" pieces.

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