James Carpenter or John Moffitt at Seahawks Left Guard, Who's Your Choice?

Tyson Langland@TysonNFLNFC West Lead WriterNovember 14, 2012


Heading into the bye week, it appears as if the Seahawks have a few decisions to make personnel-wise. We already know that Walter Thurmond is on the active roster, but will he be up and playing come Week 12? Or how about Evan Moore—will his role in Darrell Bevell's offense evolve during the last seven games? He has only played six snaps the last three weeks. 

Yet, the biggest question mark has to be the continuous shuffle along the offensive line. At the beginning of the season James Carpenter and John Moffitt were not projected to play left guard. Some uncertainty had arisen due to different injuries both players were dealing with.

Carp wasn't ready to go when the season started because of the time it took to rehab his bum knee, yet he made his first start of the season in Week 4 and performed quite well. Officials from inside the organization didn't expect him to return as quickly as he did but he played without limitations before suffering a concussion heading into Week 9. 

Before making his first appearance of the season in Week 4, Pete Carroll and Tom Cable met with Carpenter and asked him where he felt most comfortable—on the inside at guard or on the outside at tackle? Surprisingly, he said on the inside.

It came as a shock to me because he had only made one career start at left guard in 2011 and he didn't perform well at all. Granted it was his first NFL start—he surrendered one quarterback sack, three quarterback hits and two hurries. 

According to Pro Football Focus, Carpenter's 2012 season was on its way up before being sidelined with a concussion. He had put together three positively graded games in five starts and his pass protection numbers were squeaky clean—only six quarterback pressures allowed in 298 snaps. 

Compare that to the 22 pressures he allowed in his last five appearances before his season ended early in 2011. 

As I mentioned above, Moffitt is no stranger to injury as well. He's already been snake bitten a couple of times this year. During the preseason he had surgery to repair loose bodies in his left elbow. The injury kept him out for three weeks and he didn't make his 2012 debut until Week 2. 

When Moffitt finally returned, Coach Carroll decided to put him at right guard. This made sense considering he took every snap of the 2011 season at right guard. Like Carpenter, he fared quite well in his return—PFF graded him out at a plus-0.7 during Week's 2 and 3. 

He didn't allow a single sack, hit or hurry during that two game stint. However, his two-game return came to an end—a knee issue flared up and caused him to miss the next five games. Moffitt could have probably played on the injured knee, yet they wanted to shut him down and let it get back to normal before they threw him back out there. 

They knew they had some insurance with Carpenter returning in Week 4, so it was better to play it safe rather than continue to play on the bad knee and make it worse. As soon as he healed up from his knee issues, Carpenter went down.

It ended up working out because they plugged Moffitt back in at left guard, but I'm sure Coach Cable would enjoy seeing both players on the field at the same time at some point this season. 

Moffitt actually said he feels more comfortable at left guard due to the fact he played left guard at Wisconsin. We all know Paul McQuistan can play both guard spots because it always seems like he is  flopping back and forth. 

So all of this begs the question: what should the offensive line look like heading into Week 12? Should Carpenter man the left guard spot, or should Moffitt embrace it because it is his natural position? Where does McQuistan fit in—does he head to the bench or do they move him to right tackle and send Breno Giacomini to the bench?

So many questions with so many different possibilities. Personally, I think they need to put Carpenter at left guard and Moffitt at right. Leave Giacomini where he is—his penalties have come down over the past few weeks.

Drop a comment below and let me know what you think the Seahawks should do. 



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