RENTON The other day I wrote about the Seahawks’ running game being far below Seattle’s or the NFL’s standards.
Line coach and running-game coordinator Tom Cable was far more blunt and critical.
“We’re still trying to find it, in truth,” he said following Wednesday’s practice. “Sometimes it looks OK. And then other times it doesn’t look worth a damn.”
Damn. It was so indicting the team’s pubic-relations staff changed the transcript it disseminated of Cable’s comments to “other times it doesn’t.”
But as sure as Marshawn Lynch once romped for the Seahawks, Cable said “doesn’t look worth a damn.”
“So we have work to do in continuing to chase that,.” the veteran coach said.
Seattle was No. 1 in the league in rushing this time last season, when Lynch was out injured and Thomas Rawls leading the team and on his way to leading the NFL in yards per carry. ‘
The Seahawks (4-1) are 25th in rushing now, at just 88.8 yards per game entering Sunday night’s NFC West test at Arizona (3-3). Lynch is retuired. Rawls is out into November because of a cracked fibula. Quarterback Russell Wilson, who had nearly one-fourth of the running game’s yardage last season, is playing on a sprained knee and sprained ankle and with 35 yards on the ground in five games has 7.8 percent of Seattle’s 444 yards rushing.
What’s the issue?
“Hitting combinations,” Cable said. “Putting your helmet where it needs to be based on the run call consistently. Because we’re doing it a bunch. We’re doing some nice things in terms of being on the same page, staying on schedule, meaning the down and the distance. But you certainly would like to have more consistency when you run the football.”
I asked him if he thought the division leaders can continue winning without running.
“Oh yeah,” Cable said, “but you’d like to get them both. That’s really what we’re chasing here, is to find that balance. I think that makes us really dangerous and more explosive. Explosive play has been OK, but I think that’s the one element that would then tie the whole thing together. I think we would be pretty tough then.”
Cable has new starters in four of the line’s five positions. Former right tackle and left guard Justin Britt has been something of a revelation as a first-time center. Cable has singled out Bradley Sowell and Garry Gilliam, the left and right tackles, as needing to be more physical. Left guard Mark Glowinski has been most steady in his debut there. Rookie first-round draft choice Germain Ifedi is two games into his return from a high-ankle sprain he got days before the opener Sept. 11.
His coaches said Ifedi had a rough go last weekend in the Seahawks’ 26-24 win over Atlanta, when Seattle rushed 27 times for just 72 yards.
“He had a hard game. He had a hard time,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s just getting going. He did some great stuff, but he did have some plays that he would like to get back and just things that can get fixed fundamentally. There’s just so many areas that he can improve upon and will. We love the good stuff and we just have to get through the other stuff.
“It’s not a physical question. It’s not a mental thing. It’s just fundamentals and identification and stuff like that that we can really fix. He’s going to be really good and he’s made a difference, you can tell, just being out there.”
Ifedi did have one remarkably impressive play against Atlanta. He blocked his man at the line then ran with back Christine Michael to the goal line, where he plowed another Falcons defender across the line and into the end zone on his back.
“Really inconsistent,” Cable said. “We talked right after the game that night and Monday in film. Very erratic. Inconsistent. He didn’t really stay clean or get himself clean, meaning adjust during the game. So it was a cool lesson for him.
“We spent a lot of time on Monday working through it. I think we have a plan now because that’s going to happen from time to time in this league, so he’ll learn from it.”