Depending on how you look at it, the Seahawks either almost have their offensive line figured out or they're about to shake it up again.
Pete Carroll and Tom Cable were fairly pleased with the performance of the line in Kansas City after they made a couple of big changes last week, but the Hawks continue to look for veteran help because they have so many young linemen who are not yet ready.
On Monday, Carroll and Cable said they will stay with the five who started in Kansas City -- Russell Okung, Justin Britt, Drew Nowak, J.R. Sweezy, Garry Gilliam -- and see whether they can build on the performance against the Chiefs, which included no sacks surrendered by the first unit. The Hawks play San Diego this week.
Carroll and Cable certainly were not promising this will be the Week 1 line, but they seemed encouraged.
"It was a really good first showing by the fellas," Carroll said, "so we come back to work this week with those guys together and take the next step and see if we can keep growing. So it’s very positive.
“They've got a chance now, yeah, that’s a chance. We’ll see if they can hold it together and hold off the other guys that are battling with them, but we feel good enough about it. We liked the way that they mixed together, and they have a real chance. So we’ll keep that intact again this week, and we’ll take it one week at a time.”
Cable said: “We’re getting close, yeah, we’re getting close and we like where it’s headed. We’ll go out, play the same way this week with that group, and keep competition going with the spots that are there in terms of the center and the right tackle."
Of course, "a chance" and "getting close" leave a lot of room for improvement, which explains why the Hawks have brought in veteran free agents Evan Mathis and Samson Satele over the past few days.
“We’re going to keep competing to figure out who else is there and available as we try to make our choices," Carroll said, "and really we’re going one step at a time. … We’re continuing to look at who’s available.”
Carroll said the meeting with Mathis, a two-time Pro Bowl guard, "went very well. He’s a terrific guy. He would obviously bring us experience and all that, but there’s a lot of (financial) issues here that we have to take care of to get that in order. We got the information that we needed.”
Mathis reportedly has been seeking $5 million per year -- which probably is too rich for the Hawks. But they could move a contract or two around to sign him if they really wanted to. Satele played for Cable in Oakland and started 16 games at center for the Dolphins last year.
Mathis certainly would step in as a starter if he signed, and Satele could provide veteran depth to a line group that has just three guys with more than two years of experience.
In the meantime, the Hawks will try to build on their progress from the second game.
While the pass protection was much improved in Kansas City, they still couldn't run the ball like they usually do. Robert Turbin ran for a mere four yards on six carries, and Christine Michael gained 27 on 10 attempts. It wasn't any better than the first game, when the Seahawks totaled just 89 yards on 24 attempts.
Cable and Carroll aren't too concerned about that though.
Carroll said the linemen "came off the ball well. We didn’t get the space that we wanted again, but there’s all kinds of reasons for that."
Cable explained it as the guards playing with poor fundamentals in their footwork. "That’s a big emphasis this week. … Some of that is new with Justin and some of that is getting J.R. settled in, but I expect this to be much better this week.”
It also will be much better once the season starts and Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson are creating explosive running plays through their own special talents.
Asked how much Lynch would help the running game, Cable retorted, “You know the answer to that. But the truth is we need to be able to do that with whoever is carrying it.”
If you believe Carroll and Cable, the Hawks are getting closer to doing it. But will it be with the five they have right now or will they bring in a veteran?