One of the positions that the Seahawks most need to upgrade by almost anyone’s reckoning is the interior of the offensive line. Both guard and center play has been considered to be mediocre over the last couple of years. Spencer at center and Wahle and Sims at guard have all been on the hot seat in their respective position battles and during the off-season, those positions were most often mentioned as the ones Seattle needed to fix if they were to come back and become a contender for the NFC West title and the NFC Championship once again.
Today, I want to focus on the guard position. I started out with the intent to produce an article of around 500 words but ended up quintupling that and then some as the topic just seemed to explode off the page in order to adequately explore the position and the problems Seattle has at the position. I think it ended up being sized proportionally to the problem the position represents.
Seattle had one of the best guard/center units in the NFL in 2005 when Steve Hutchison manned the left guard position and Chris Gray was at right guard with Robbie Tobeck at center. Hutch was the young fire breather who brought an attitude and Tobeck and Gray were the experienced veterans who brought stability and savvy to the interior of the offensive line. Then one by one, they disappeared from the Seahawks in short order. Hutch defected to Minnesota then Tobeck and Gray had to retire because of career ending injuries. Seattle’s interior offensive line play has never been the same since.
Ruskell drafted Spencer to replace Tobeck at center then Rob Sims and Mansfield Wrotto to play guard. He also brought in Mike Wahle from the Carolina Panthers last season to add veteran stability at the guard position. Ray Willis was drafted as a tackle but has also been played at the guard position over the last four years. Even Spencer was tried at guard. Sims has not developed as quickly as many though he would after an impressive rookie season. I wrote an article on Sims for Seahawk Addicts on Monday that you can review to see how Sims has fared with the Seahawks so far in his career.
Wrotto had little experience as an offensive lineman having played as a defensive tackle for three years at Georgia Tech until his senior season when he was moved to the offensive line as a tackle. Mike Wahle had mixed reviews from last season making many mental mistakes as well as being injured and finishing the year on injured reserve. Wrotto did get some much needed experience at guard due to injuries on the offensive line last season as did Willis who logged more games in 2008 than in his previous three years combined. It should be noted that the Seahawks have stated that the plan is for Willis to be the successor at right tackle when Walter Jones retirees and Locklear is moved to left tackle. It is presumed that if he plays at guard, it will be an interim assignment and the Seahawks will still need to find a suitable replacement at guard.
To Continue reading press Read more... below.