Seattle Seahawks Announce J.R. Sweezy Will Start at Right Guard

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Seattle Seahawks Announce J.R. Sweezy Will Start at Right Guard
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Less than three hours ago, head coach Pete Carroll announced during his Week 1 press conference that seventh-round draft pick J.R. Sweezy would be the team's starting right guard this weekend against Arizona

This move is only hard to believe if you haven't seen Sweezy play during the preseason. Most thought Sweezy would be a long shot to even make the roster since he was being asked to switch positions. He never had played offensive line until May of this year. 

The Seahawks approached him about the switch before they even drafted him in April. To no one's surprise there was no hesitation on the part of Sweezy; he just wanted a chance to play in the NFL and prove his worth.

Sweezy had this to say when Eric D. Williams of The News Tribune asked him how responded to Seattle when they asked him to switch: “I told them I’d be the punter if they wanted me to be,” Sweezy said, jokingly. “I just want to play ball. I love this sport. I love this game.”

There's no question his hard work and teach-ability paid off, it has earned him a job that only 31 other players in the world have.

His transformation is a far cry from where he thought he would be 12 months ago. At this time last year he was watching tape on Wake Forest as he prepared to take on its interior offensive line. His story is living proof that a lot can change in a short amount of time. 

Sweezy's biggest supporter is offensive line coach Tom Cable and he is happy Cable took a chance on him: (via Eric D. Williams of The News Tribune)

He’s a great teacher. In the film room, he helps me every day, pointing out things. After practice he tells me stuff to work on. The older guys are sticking around. Like I ask them probably 100 questions a day – I’m probably getting on their nerves. But they’re helping me out, and I’m continuing to grow.

During today's press conference, coach Carroll praised Sweezy for going about winning the job the old fashioned way. 

There's no doubt that Carroll doesn't mind starting rookies as he is set to start four of them if Marshawn Lynch does indeed sit out with back spasms. Russell Wilson is the starting quarterback, Bobby Wagner is the starting middle linebacker, Sweezy is in at right guard and Robert Turbin is the halfback. 

Sweezy's most impressive game in the preseason was one of the two he started, Week 3 against Kansas City. 

It's hard to see the right guard on this play because of the lack of All-22 film for the preseason, but I put an arrow above his head. 

Watch as he explodes off the ball in the run game and stands up the Chiefs defensive lineman No. 77. His technique is spot on and that's the plus of the Seahawks converting him to an offensive lineman. In theory, he has no bad habits, he has never been in another team's system and only knows what they teach him.

Coach Cable echoed those same sentiments in John Boyle's August 29 article for HeraldNet.com:

There are no bad habits. You have to tell him, 'This is why you're pass-setting, this is why you're in this combination, this is what the defense is lined up in, this is what they're trying to do.' When he understands what's going on that way, then he's building a set of habits. So, we're pretty lucky that way.

Whether Sweezy excels as the starting right guard remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: He already has tape that shows he can play. 

There will be weeks where defensive lines will throw twists, stunts and exotic looks at him. And he will make more than one mistake by season's end, but his ability to correct his mistakes should be that much easier given he has played on both sides of the ball.

I fully expect him to run with this opportunity. John Moffitt looked awful before his injury last season and James Carpenter figures to play left guard when he returns, so it truly is Sweezy's position to lose from here on out.

 

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