We’ll continue the countdown — the third in a series of 12 questions for 12 days as we head to training camp — by looking at what may be the most competitive position battle in camp, the fight for the right tackle spot between second-year player Michael Bowie (above left in a John Lok photo from last season) and rookie Justin Britt.
I addressed that position at length in this blog post last month, as well. As I wrote then, the weight and condition of Bowie (as well as fellow second-year OL Alvin Bailey) was questioned a bit by the coaching staff in the spring.
So one of the obvious curiosities of the first day of training camp July 25 will be assessing the shape of those two, and if they can hit the ground, well, running.
Britt, meanwhile, impressed through the spring with his quick grasp of the offense as well as his agility, after being taken in the second round of the draft out of Missouri.
But those are no-pads, no-contact sessions. Training camp is a different animal, and Bowie has the advantage of not only having weathered that battle once, but also having started nine games last season, including at guard in the playoff win over the Saints.
Of course, while we in the media will paint this as a heated position battle, this could easily end up being a rotation, ala the left guard spot of last season, as both players appear to have bright and significant futures with the Seahawks. This won’t necessarily be a big either/or situation, but rather grooming both to give the Seahawks a good replacement for the departed Breno Giacomini.
But the focus will fall on the right tackle spot since it appears to be the only one on the offensive line that is in any doubt.
The other four OL spots appear set, assuming Russell Okung returns to full health following off-season surgery on his toe, that held him out of the spring. Assuming he’s back, the rest of it looks like Okung at left tackle, James Carpenter at left guard, Max Unger (at right in the picture above) at center, and J.R. Sweezy at right guard.
Those four players, along with Bowie, Britt and Bailey, also all appear to have roster spots locked up. And at the moment, two other spots appear likely to go to backup center Lemuel Jeanpierre and Caylin Hauptmann, who was the backup left guard throughout the spring after being on the 53-man roster most of last season.
That could leave the other six OLs on the roster competing for one spot if the Seahawks were to keep 10, though that’s not to discount that someone like guard Stephen Schilling or Gary Gilliam, who each drew praise from coaches in the spring, can’t make a run at a roster spot. Gilliam, an undrafted free agent from Penn State, even got some work with the starting unit at left tackle in the spring with Okung out.
So while much of the OL appears set, there will be intr4igue enough during camp, starting with the right tackle spot.