RENTON – Robert Gallery didn’t envision his first season in the Pacific Northwest going this way when he signed a three-year, $21 million deal to join the Seattle Seahawks in free agency – both the team’s poor performance at 2-6 and his uneven individual play.
Because of his longtime ties to Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable, the former Iowa player was billed as the eyes and ears on the field and in the meeting room for the Seahawks’ young offensive line as Cable implemented his version of the zone blocking scheme.
Gallery’s mentoring aspect of the job has gone just as planned. At practice, young Seattle offensive linemen such as Russell Okung, John Moffitt and James Carpenter are constantly approaching him to ask about a certain techniques or specific line calls.
But staying healthy and having consistent production on the field have been an issue. Gallery missed the season opener with a sprained right knee, and after struggling in his return the next game against Pittsburgh, Gallery had surgery to repair an injured groin, sitting out a month and missing three games.
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He returned and played solid against Cleveland, but appeared to struggle in back-to-back games against Cincinnati and Dallas. Gallery had a holding call and a false start against the Cowboys that stalled drives, two of four penalties on Seattle’s offensive line.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll gave Gallery a vote of confidence this week, saying he didn’t plan on taking the 31-year-old veteran out of the starting lineup. However, he acknowledged that backup Paul McQuistan played solid when Gallery was on the shelf rehabbing from his groin injury.
“I’m definitely not where I want to be,” Gallery said. “But that’s football. Every week you’re going to have something that you need to get better at. Obviously, I’d like to be winning more games, as everybody would.
“And there’s a ton of areas to improve. I’ve got a couple games under my belt after the injury. And obviously you can always play better. You’re never going to be playing great. You can’t have penalties and those sorts of things. I’m not where I want to be. But that’s the NFL, and you have to come back the next week and do the things you know you can do.”
Coming to his defense, Cable said Gallery isn’t the only offensive linemen struggling with his play.
“There’s been some inconsistencies,” Cable said. “But he’s like all of them. We’ve had inconsistencies at right tackle, and at left tackle one day and at right guard one day. So at times they’ve been really good, too. So I’d just like to just keep bringing it together.”
Carroll said rookie receiver Kris Durham, recently placed on the season-ending, injured reserve list, will have surgery in the near future to repair a torn labrum that’s been bothering him. Deon Butler replaced Durham on the active roster. ... Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral) was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday. Receiver Sidney Rice (foot), tight end Cameron Morrah (toe/knee) and linebacker David Vobora (concussion) did not practice. ... For Baltimore, center Matt Birk (neck) did not participate in practice. RB Anthony Allen (thigh), LB Brandon Ayanbadejo (head), LB Dannell Ellerbee (thigh), WR Lee Evans (ankle) and TE Kris Wilson (calf) were limited. And CB Chykie Brown (knee) was a full participant in practice.