Seahawks’ preseason opener: Time for offensive line to settle in

Germain Ifedi is in a battle for a tackle spot with rookie Ethan Pocic. (AP)
The Seahawks will open their preseason schedule Sunday night at 5 against the Chargers in Los Angeles. Here are three things I’ll have my eyes on:
O-line getting settled in. Coach Pete Carroll said earlier this week on “Brock and Salk” that Seattle’s offensive line will start to settle in after quite a bit of mixing and matching over the first two weeks of training camp. The point of all that moving around was to get a feel for who could play where in a pinch, which can come in handy when only three or four backups are active on game day. Carroll said they aren’t completely done trying to figure all that out but that the movement will slow down considerably for the sake of continuity. That means we should see George Fant at left tackle and Luke Joeckel at left guard (Joeckel has seen time at left guard). The competition is on at both of the right-side spots, with Oday Aboushi battling Mark Glowinski at guard and rookie Ethan Pocic giving Germain Ifedi a push at tackle. Expect those players to play quite a bit against the Chargers, perhaps most of the first half, as the Seahawks try to solidify things up front.
Carson’s opportunity. Rookie seventh-round pick Chris Carson has been one of the standouts of camp. He’s broken off several long runs, and while he looks every bit the part of a physical runner with his impressive physique, he’s only been able to show so much of that because Seattle’s practices aren’t full-contact. Carroll likes hard-charging running backs. He saw one while watching Carson’s film at Oklahoma State and now he’ll get to really see it in action. Look for Carson to get a bunch of work, perhaps early in the game and perhaps even double-digit carries.
Can Griffin stay on top? Rookie third-round pick Shaquill Griffin has a chance to be one of Seattle’s top three cornerbacks this season, whether it’s starting on the right side opposite Richard Sherman or coming in to play there in nickel situations when Jeremy Lane (presumably) moves inside. In order to do that, he’ll have to nail down the step-kick technique that Seattle’s cornerbacks play and he’ll have to show coaches that he can be trusted to not give up big plays, which is a cardinal sin for cornerbacks in the Seahawks’ defense. That’s why they incessantly tell their cornerbacks to “stay on top,” which means to maintain the proper position in coverage so that a receiver doesn’t get behind them. As Griffin noted recently, Seattle’s defense will concede some short stuff underneath, figuring that a 5-yard slant route isn’t going to lose the game the way a long touchdown could. He’s starting against the Chargers with Lane out, so let’s see if he can carry that discipline from practice to a game situation.