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Seahawks patching together an offensive line on the fly

Tom Cable, Justin Britt

Seattle Seahawks assistant head coach Tom Cable, second from right, talks with Justin Britt, left, Bronson Irwin, (65) and John Martinez (77), Friday, May 16, 2014, during an NFL football rookie minicamp in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


The Seahawks are hoping to get center Max Unger and left tackle Russell Okung back from injury this week.

Otherwise, they might be forced to throw stuff against the wall like last week.

Listening to Seahawks coaches describe the chaotic scene last week agains the Raiders underlines the struggles they’ve had putting a line together this year.

When left guard James Carpenter sprained his ankle against the Raiders, the Seahawks line, from left tackle to right included a first-time starter (Alvin Bailey), an undrafted rookie tight end they’re converting (Garry Gilliam), a fourth-string center they had cut a few weeks earlier (Patrick Lewis), a converted college defensive tackle (J.R. Sweezy) and a rookie (Justin Britt).

“Yeah, there was some great communication going on,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said, via Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune. “We hadn’t been able to rep every one of those guys at the positions that they were at. We had to fall back on [offensive line coach] Tom [Cable] a lot and say, ‘What do they know? What can they run? And where can we put them to make them successful?’ ”

Cable said he walked from the field to the sideline at one point, and starting telling guys “OK, you go to guard. You go to tackle,” the line equivalent of drawing a play in the dirt.

At certain points, they flipped Bailey and Gilliam, since Gilliam didn’t know certain plays at guard.

“We’ve been lucky to train our guys,” Cable said. “But you don’t expect on Sunday morning to hear, ‘Well, he’ll be up but it’s an emergency [basis only].’ And then James gets hurt. So you’ve just got to piece it together. Let’s go. But it’s a grind, with all the junk that goes on in there.”

The Seahawks need to find some degree of stability up there, because things you can get away with against the Raiders might not be there when they return to real football.