We got a rare opportunity to talk to someone from the offensive line, as assistant offensive line coach Art Valero talked to reporters after practice.
Valero talked about offensive line coach Alex Gibbs stepping down over the weekend, and the struggles the Seahawks had running the ball during the preseason, averaging just 3.6 yards per carry.
Valero was heckled by veteran Ben Hamilton and Chester Pitts, who have held on to a policy of not talking to the media this season, a Gibbs tradition, during his conversation with reporters this afternoon.
“We’re going to continue to grow,” Valero said. “Nothing is ever easy the first time you go out. We knew it wasn’t. You’re playing a lot of different people in a lot of different spots during the preseason. There isn’t really a lot of continuity with the running backs, with the quarterbacks and with the O-line – it’s everywhere.
“So, it’s a matter of time. Defenses are always faster than offenses because it just takes awhile. And the longer you press on the longer you persevere and good things happen. That’s what we’re all about.”
Valero went on to say that with all of the turnover along the offensive line because of injuries and new bodies being shuffled in and out, the unit will continue to be a work in progress.
“We knew that it was going to be a maturation process and it wasn’t going to be easy,” he said. “We knew that every play was going to be new, and that with every play the techniques were a little bit different, and it was a matter of them feeling comfortable on when to do things and when not to do things. When to call it, and when to not call it and those kinds of things
“And you only develop that when you play games, and when you play games together. And we had so many bodies that were in and out, and guys playing a quarter or guys playing two quarters that it’s difficult to really start putting it all together.
Now, as we continue to mature with the offense, we’ll continue to have better days.”
On the three running backs Seattle will use in Justin Forsett, Julius Jones and Leon Washington, Valero said it will take some time for the offensive line to get used to each player’s unique running style.
“Different plays for different people,” he said. “And you just have to go out and put the system in and let the system work for itself. And I think this system that Alex (Gibbs) has been a part of, and that Alex run, there’s a lot guys that you’ve never heard of that all of sudden have 1,500-yard season or 1,600-yard seasons. And they’ve developed. So it’s just a matter of staying with it and continuing to go.
“All three of those guys are incredible runners. And they’ll make us look good.”
And Gibbs stepping down, Valero had this to say: “Shock, and disappointment. He is not only a great person, he’s got more knowledge than anybody could ever imagine. He’s forgotten more football than people know. And when you lose somebody like that, it hits home. And it’s hard. You’ve just got to continue to go, because that’s what he would’ve done. So we feel good about. And we feel good about the time that we had to spend with Alex in our program.”