Originally published Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 8:58 PM

Seahawks' offensive line will require much patience

Tom Cable told us there would be a learning curve. His warning wasn't even subtle back on Aug. 1 as he addressed implementing his new blocking...

Seattle Times staff reporter


Seahawks @ Pittsburgh, 10 a.m., Ch. 13

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Tom Cable told us there would be a learning curve.

His warning wasn't even subtle back on Aug. 1 as he addressed implementing his new blocking scheme to Seattle's new offensive line.

"I keep saying, if you hear me, the system has to kind of start in infancy and grow just like we all do as humans," he said.

Crawl before you walk, walk before you run and expect some scrapes along the way. Not everyone was listening, though. It was easier to talk yourself into the possibility that things were going to be OK even as evidence piled up in August indicating otherwise.

The Seahawks are going to take some lumps. The first half of Seattle's season-opening loss at San Francisco confirmed that, and while the second half offered signs of encouragement both in pass protection and the running game, anyone who thinks that Seattle turned the corner after just two periods of problems might be a little delusional.

Last week in San Francisco, Seattle fielded the most inexperienced starting offensive line of any NFL team in 16 years. This week, the young line heads across the country to play a sack-happy defense that spawned the nickname Blitz-burgh.

Will the Seahawks offensive line be ready? They weren't for the first two quarters in San Francisco.

"It's going to take us some time to get comfortable in all settings," coach Pete Carroll said. "I think we just weren't quite there."

This is going to be a process that won't necessarily be pretty, and may require faith in Seahawks personnel decisions and patience.

The Seahawks have spent the past five seasons applying bandages to different parts of the line, whether it was starting Floyd Womack at both guard spots, signing a veteran like Mike Wahle or going through four different starting left tackles in a season — none of whom are still with the team.

Well, the Band-Aid has been ripped off, a process that has been known to sting.

Seattle has spent its past two first-round selections on offensive lineman, choosing Russell Okung in 2010 and James Carpenter this season. Max Unger — a second-round choice — is at center, while this year's third-round selection, John Moffitt, is playing right guard.

Robert Gallery was signed to be the veteran who steadied this young group. He missed the opener because of a sprained knee, and it's no sure thing he'll be able to play this week. He was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 draft, chosen to play tackle and moved to left guard in his fourth season.

Draft pedigree is no guarantee that those players will live up to the potential the team sees in them. The litany of busts who never develop into effective starters speaks to that.

But it's also true that one regular-season game after a lockout-shortened offseason is hardly an accurate forecast for what kind of players Carpenter and Moffitt will turn into.

"We called the same plays in the second half," Carroll said. "We did the same things that we had tried to do and we executed very well, relatively. So it's growing and it's learning, and hopefully we can speed this thing up."

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. It's reasonable to expect Seattle's offensive line to be significantly better in the second half of the season than it is now, but it's foolish to think that two quarters were the extent of Seattle's growing pains.

Seattle adds fullback

The Seahawks signed fullback Eddie Williams off the Cleveland practice squad. Williams is 6 feet 1, 241 pounds and attended Idaho. A seventh-round draft choice of Washington in 2009, Williams was with the Chicago Bears in training camp this season.

Seattle added Williams to fill in for Michael Robinson, who suffered an ankle injury in Sunday's loss at San Francisco. Robinson was the only fullback on the roster, and Williams can also play a role on Seattle's special teams.

The Seahawks released tight end Dominique Byrd to make room for Williams. Byrd showed himself to be a promising pass-catching tight end in training camp.

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