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Seahawks' O-line improving despite massive changes

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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Posted Dec. 09, 2011 @ 12:15 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

Here they go again.

For the sixth time this season, the Seahawks will have a different starting combination on the offensive line when they take on the Rams in the Week 14 Monday-night game.

With Russell Okung going down for the count with a torn pectoral muscle late in the Week 13 victory over the Eagles, the Seahawks' new left tackle for the time being is Paul McQuistan, who had been starting at right guard in place of the injured John Moffitt.

McQuistan gives the Seahawks an "All-Raiders" left side, as both he and OLG Robert Gallery formerly played under assistant head coach/offensive line Tom Cable in Oakland.

The new right guard replacing McQuistan is Lemuel Jeanpierre, who had been the primary backup center behind Max Unger — a role that now will be filled by recently re-signed Mike Gibson.

Despite the constant shuffling, the line has made major strides in the past month or so clearing holes for Marshawn Lynch, who is running as well as any back in the league with the regular-season stretch drive about to kick in.

"I think it's due to a combination of the linemen holding their blocks better and Lynch making better decisions," one daily team observer said. "I think it starts with Unger, who has been very solid and has been able to stay the healthiest, missing only one game."

In addition, Gallery has settled down after being dreadful early, and massive Breno Giacomini has continued to raise eyebrows at right tackle in replacing the injured James Carpenter.

"Breno is a definite mauler with a real nasty streak," the observer said of the ex-Packer. "He needs to curb his aggressiveness, and (head coach) Pete Carroll went out of his way after the Eagles win to praise him for maintaining his aggressiveness but not going over the edge.

"With Jeanpierre, they really like his aggressiveness and footwork."

A common thread on the current unit is versatility, as every starter has played multiple positions on the line.

The return of Gibson, who is back in his role as the primary interior backup, is considered a plus.

"It was really a bit of a surprise when they decided to cut him and not Jeanpierre before the season," the observer said.

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