Seahawks

Seahawks give rookie Damien Lewis a surprise start at center, performs well in win over Arizona

Seahawks

Out of all the teams in the NFL, there are two teams that are the most injured in the league:

The San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks.

Injuries happen, and it is part of the game of football. Sometimes, a position's first string and second string players go down and the team has to figure out what the best course of action is to get ready for the next game.

This particular problem was with the Seahawks center position - Ethan Pocic is out with a concussion and Kyler Fuller suffered a high ankle sprain in the first half last week and was listed as questionable this week.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that he would be available “if we need him.”

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Fuller was on the sideline in uniform but did not step out to play. So who was at center on Thursday?

Seahawks rookie guard Damien Lewis.

A very surprising choice for the Seahawks, because Lewis has never played center in his entire football career. Ever.

For not having played a single snap at center, Lewis did help the Seahawks offensive line allow just two sacks on quarterback Russell Wilson.

He also earned himself a 65.8 PF grade for the night, according to PFF.

Carroll had this to say after the game on the decision to start Lewis at center vs. the Cardinals.

 

"Well, that was our best choice. He's such a good athlete, and of course right off the bat he gets in trouble on the one play and had a couple penalties tonight. I mean, his head was full of all kinds of thoughts,” Carroll said about Lewis. “It was a marvelous job by him to pull that off. He started working on it last week. He had been taking snaps during the early season and stuff, but he really, because of the injuries last week, he had to get ready to maybe be the back up and so now he's forced into action and he pulled it off.”

Obviously, Lewis had some mistakes here and there. He actually had one in his first snap of the game where he was beat right off the bat as Wilson was sacked on the first play of the game.

Mistakes happen easily when the position is very much new to you. 

Wilson himself after the game was surprised how well Lewis played, especially after figuring out he has never played center before.

"Man, I don't think D-Lew's ever played center before; is that right? I think that he has never played center before,” Wilson said after the game. "He did a tremendous job stepping in there all week, honestly, especially on a short week against the Arizona Cardinals, all the things they do. But I thought he was super confident.

He adjusted throughout the game. He made great calls. We were on the same page, me and him. There was a couple plays here and there, but I thought that to be a rookie, to play, be such a great guard, and then have to move to center this game and not knowing what's going to happen here and I thought he did a tremendous job.

Russell Wilson on Damien Lewis playing center for the first time

Don’t expect Lewis to stay at the center position all season long. Carroll said this week that Pocic had made significant improvement and will likely be back when the team faces the Eagles on Nov. 30.

As much as Lewis did help the Seahawks when they asked him to, and the team moved to 7-3 on the season and back to the top of the NFC West, Seattle is probably more than happy to have Lewis back at the guard position where he has been playing so well all season.