Of­fen­sive line a work in progress

The Province - - SPORTS | FOOTBALL - BOB CONDOTTA

team. Some foot­ball ob­servers have stated that the need to run to win in the modern NFL is overblown.

Schot­ten­heimer, though, said again Sun­day that the Sea­hawks want to be able to run even if the de­fence is geared up for it.

“We did a lit­tle 9-on-7 drill to­day, right? So it’s a heavy eight-man box, we’ve only got our seven block­ers, they’ve got the ex­tra safety down there, and so what’s crit­i­cal is the abil­ity to get move­ment up front. I saw us do that to­day. I saw some dou­ble teams where we were knock­ing guys back off the ball. That’s im­por­tant, and then there’s a trust fac­tor with the back and him hit­ting his land­mark or his course, trust­ing that those blocks are go­ing to hap­pen be­cause some­times they hap­pen late. Again, I think it’s a work in progress, but again, peo­ple are go­ing to want to make you one-di­men­sional. We have to be able to run ver­sus eight-man fronts, and that’s not al­ways with checks. It’s got to have runs that you be­lieve in (and that) this groups be­lieves in. ‘Hey Schotty, we can run this no mat­ter what we do,’ and I think we’re find­ing that iden­tity right now.”

SEAT­TLE — Given the way many view the Sea­hawks’ of­fen­sive line, no coach in the NFL may have a tougher job than Mike So­lari, hired last win­ter to re­place the fired Tom Ca­ble as Seat­tle’s new OL coach.

Mon­day, he met the me­dia for the first time dur­ing train­ing camp to dis­cuss what he has seen four days into camp.

Here are some things that stood out :

FLUKER HAS ‘PURE ASS AT­TI­TUDE’

Seat­tle’s most no­table new­comer on the line is D.J. Fluker, a 2013 first-round pick of the Charg­ers who played last year un­der So­lari with the Giants. Fluker has been run­ning with the start­ing unit at right guard early in camp, though lim­ited at times ap­par­ently due to a knee is­sue.

So­lari of­fered an in­ter­est­ing de­scrip­tion of Fluker.

“Pure ass at­ti­tude. D.J. has been — he’ll pound you. He’s a guy that brings the pas­sion to the game. Again, I know you guys got great eyes, (watch) the way he works on the foot­ball field. He loves the game. He loves the game. He loves when the pads come on. He’s a phys­i­cal foot­ball player and he brings pas­sion and he brings an en­ergy and a phys­i­cal­ity that you want on your of­fen­sive line. You want that phys­i­cal­ness, you want that tough­ness on your of­fen­sive line, and he brings it.”

US­ING IFEDI AT GUARD IS ALL ABOUT COM­PE­TI­TION

Ger­main Ifedi, the team’s first-round pick in 2016 and light­ning rod for crit­i­cism fol­low­ing his penalty-rid­dled 2017 sea­son, is still run­ning with the start­ing unit at right tackle. But Ifedi also got some work Mon­day at right guard with Isa­iah Bat­tle at right tackle. So­lari said not to read too much into it.

“The best five start, best five starts. So, we wanted to work them in a lit­tle bit in a sense of play­ing some dif­fer­ent po­si­tions. We wanted to keep the in­tegrity, the unit to­gether so we can build that unity, that ca­ma­raderie, but we got to work some guys in a lit­tle bit if an in­jury hap­pens or we have to move some guys. So, we’ll do that through­out ev­ery day to try make a lit­tle ad­just­ment here and there.”

FANT PLAYS LEFT TACKLE, ODHIAMBO PLAYS GUARD

Ge­orge Fant and Rees Odhiambo, each re­cov­er­ing from in­juries that ended their 2017 sea­sons, got some brief work Mon­day in team ses­sions — Fant lin­ing up at left tackle and Odhiambo at left guard.

For now, So­lari says that’s where they will stay as they work their way back — Fant from an ACL in­jury suf­fered last Au­gust and Odhiambo from hand in­juries suf­fered mid­way through the 2017 sea­son.

“We’ve got to find the spots for them but the thought process is ini­tially, start­ing off, start­ing Rees at guard and Ge­orge at tackle be­cause of the lim­ited reps ini­tially.

“We’re go­ing to keep Ge­orge grounded at the left tackle, but again, he’s got to be ready to ad­just. Again, the best five start. The best five start, so again, we’ll ad­just ac­cord­ingly if needed.”

BROWN CON­SID­ERED ‘A GREAT LEADER’

Duane Brown, who signed a three-year ex­ten­sion keep­ing him with the team through 2021, is re­garded by the Sea­hawks as al­most as im­por­tant for how he helps the team in the locker-room as what he does on the field, said So­lari, who raved about the veteran left tackle’s lead­er­ship.

“Just watch the way he prac­tices, watch the way he plays the game. Watch the way he com­petes, he leads, on and off the field. I know you men and you women don’t see it off the field, but in the meet­ing room, in the sense of be­ing a pro, lis­ten­ing. In the back of his mind, he is like I got it, but he’s lis­ten­ing, fo­cus­ing ... he’s been ex­cel­lent. He’s a great leader, great po­si­tion leader, great group leader, of­fence, great team leader.”

— THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Seat­tle Sea­hawks of­fen­sive tackle Duane Brown is de­scribed as a valu­able leader by new of­fen­sive line coach Mike So­lari.

— THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Seat­tle Sea­hawks run­ning back Rashaad Penny has per­formed well in train­ing camp.

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