Saturday, September 3, 2011
Okung, Gallery and that rebuilt left side
By Mike Sando
The Seattle Seahawks went into their final exhibition game hoping injured left tackle Russell Okung would be available for the regular-season opener.
They emerged from the 20-3 victory over Oakland hoping their other starter on the left side, guard Robert Gallery, would also be available.
The knee injury Gallery suffered against his former Raiders teammates was serious enough to raise questions about his availability for Week 1. The Seahawks' left side will face a tough challenge against San Francisco in that game. Justin Smith, the 49ers' Pro Bowl defensive end, has started 155 consecutive regular-season games, easily the longest streak for active defensive linemen. It's safe to assume he'll be ready for Week 1.
Seattle went into this preseason expecting the left side of its line to serve as the foundation while the young right side found its way.
Rookie right tackle James Carpenter and rookie right guard John Moffitt remain in the early stages of development following a truncated offseason. The Seahawks will have a harder time helping them out during the regular-season opener at San Francisco if they're also funneling additional resources toward the left side.
At this point, it's arguably cruel but hardly unusual to recount the starting line combinations Seattle has used beginning last season. Tyler Polumbus, Mike Gibson, Chris Spencer, Max Unger, Sean Locklear, Ben Hamilton, Stacy Andrews and Chester Pitts started games last season. Spencer, Locklear, Hamilton and Pitts are gone.
Okung, Polumbus, Gallery, Unger, Moffitt and Carpenter have started games during the 2011 preseason. Paul McQuistan replaced Gallery during the game against Oakland.
The chart shows the 13 starting combinations Seattle has used since the 2010 regular-season opener. The final two rows show combinations used during the 2011 preseason.