Carroll needs patchwork O-Line to 'survive'

October, 1, 2013
10/01/13
8:00
AM ET
RENTON, Wash. -- When Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was asked Monday how his patchwork offensive line did against the Houston Texans, he used the same word a couple of times, which seemed appropriate: Survived.

Carroll was asked how rookie right tackle Michael Bowie held up against unstoppable J.J. Watt.

“Yeah, he survived the game,” Carroll said of Bowie.

And what about Paul McQuistan, moving from guard to make his second consecutive start at left tackle Russell Okung?

Bowie
McQuistan
“He’s surviving,” Carroll said of McQuistan.

You can read between the lines. In other words, both men did their best and left the field healthy, but didn’t exactly take charge out there.

The truth is, none of the five starters up front did that, including guards James Carpenter and J.R. Sweezy, or back-up center Lemuel Jeanpierre, who started for injured Pro Bowler Max Unger. Quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked five times and was under constant pressure.

Yet the Seahawks still found a way to come from behind and beat a good team on the road 23-20 in overtime, remaining unbeaten at 4-0.

However, can the Seahawks continue to do that with an offensive line that’s struggling and trying to find its way?

“Well they’re going to get better,” Carroll said of the offensive line. “They’re going to improve. It’s going to be easier for Mike with the second time out at right tackle. I thought he and Sweezy did better as the game went on. They struggled early and got better in terms of working together. So, hopefully, that will continue to improve.”

It needs to because Bowie will continue to start a few weeks longer. Starting right tackle Breno Giacomini had arthroscopic knee surgery Monday. Carroll said doctors told him the procedure went well and Giacomini could return soon, but the timetable is uncertain.

All Carroll hopes to see from Bowie is his best effort to get better.

“I don’t know that we could ask for any more than that,” Carroll said. “He did improve during the game [at Houston], which what’s most encouraging. Mike is going to be a good football player. We really don’t have any question about that. He’s growing quickly. He was comfortable with it and it wasn’t too big for him. So I’m hoping that we’ll see real steady improvement here in the next couple of weeks until Breno has a chance to come back.”

Unger (who missed the Houston game with a triceps injury) could return this weekend at center, but McQuistan is the likely starter at left tackle for at least six more week until Okung is eligible to come off injured reserve.

“It’s not his natural spot, but with smarts and utilizing the scheme he’s getting through it,” Carroll said of McQuistan. “That’s all we can hope for him to continue to do for us. It’s a big challenge out there. He’s getting great players [lining up against him] week in and week out and he’s going to work hard to survive it.”

Survival is the minimum requirement. Anything more is a bonus.

Bennett OK: There were a lot of concerned faces among the Seahawks when defensive linemen Michael Bennett was face down on the turf before being carted off the field in the first half Sunday. He was taken to a Houston hospital, but Bennett returned to Reliant Stadium late in the second half and was walking on the sideline. He strained a muscle in his lower back.

“Michael is gonna be OK and will practice this week,’’ Carroll said Monday about Bennett. “He was feeling pretty good [Monday]. He was really scared when it happened and didn’t know what was going on. We will see how much he can work, but hope he can play this week.”

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

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