Wow. In a word, that describes the setting for Day One of Week Two of Phase 2 in the Seahawks’ offseason program. What two words? Double wow.
The players went through their 45-minute on-field session this morning under blue skies and in 60-degree weather. It was a stark contrast to the blustery conditions that accompanied the first week of Phase 2, when the coaches are allowed to be on the field with the players under the terms of the new CBA.
The veterans will work four consecutive days this week, clearing the fields for a rookie minicamp – which includes practices on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but begins Thursday with physicals for the team’s 10 draft choices, 10 free agents who were signed after the draft and another couple dozen or so players who will be in for tryouts.
Our focus today is on the offensive line, where assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable not only has more depth than a year ago but a group that is deeper into the zone-blocking scheme he installed last year – without the benefit of an offseason due to the 136-day lockout.
“The whole group now is in a different place, in terms of being trained in the system,” Cable said. “So even though this is our chance to start over, like you would every year, we’re further along because of what happened last year.
“That’s a real plus for us at this point.”
What happened last year – losing left tackle Russell Okung (pectoral), right guard John Moffitt (knee) and right tackle James Carpenter (knee) to season-ending injuries – was hardly ideal. But the play of those who stepped in – Paul McQuistan, Lemuel Jeanpierre and Breno Giacomini – has strengthened the group. So have the free-agent additions of guard Deuce Lutui and versatile lineman Frank Omiyale, former starters for the Cardinals and Bears, respectively.
Today, the No. 1 unit was comprised of – from left tackle to right – Okung, McQuistan, center Max Unger, Moffitt and Giacomini. In the No. 2 group were Omiyale, Allen Barbre, Jeanpierre, Lutui and Paul Fanaika. Carpenter remains sidelined, and farther behind in his rehab than Okung and Moffitt, because of the severity of his injury.
You could see the advanced level of their efforts that Cable mentioned as the linemen went through their individual drills.
“When you start at A, and you start working through it, they get it,” Cable said. “We’re able to get the real details going now. That’s been the most fun so far.”
Also, wide receiver Sidney Rice made his first appearance of the offseason program. But he remains sidelined while continuing his rehab from having surgical procedures on both shoulders – injuries that limited Rice to nine games and 32 receptions in his first season with the Seahawks.
The Seahawks have reached into Pete Carroll’s past to provide depth on their offensive line as Deuce Lutui agreed to contract terms today.
The 6-foot-4, 338-pound Lutui played two seasons at USC for Carroll (2004-05) and then was a second-round choice by the Cardinals in the 2006 NFL Draft. He was a 16-game starter at right guard from 2008-10 and played in Super Bowl XLIII. Lutui did not start last season, but played in 15 games.
With the Seahawks, Lutui, 28, joins a line that lost three starters to season-ending injuries in 2011 – left tackle Russell Okung (pectoral), right guard John Moffitt (knee) and right tackle James Carpenter (knee).
Cornerback Roy Lewis and linebacker Barrett Ruud also have agreed to terms.