Finding the right mix
The Seattle Seahawks signed D.J. Fluker during the off-season as a free agent. He was drafted in the first round by San Diego in 2013. Fluke played for the Chargers for four years where he started all 59 games he played in. The Chargers released him in March 2017 and he signed a one-year contract with the New York Giants.
Fluker played in New York last season for Seahawks new offensive line coach Mike Solari, Cable’s replacement. Solari felt Fulker would help Seattle in the effort to be a successful running team again. The Seahawks signed him to a one-year contract as well.
Fulker had a hamstring strain so he was inactive for the Seahawks first two games against the Denver Broncos and the Chicago Bears. J.R. Sweezy started at right guard in his place.
The Seahawks only ran for 64 yards against the Broncos and followed that performance with 74 yards against the Bears. Both games resulted in road losses. Seattle looked like the team they were in 2016 and 2017, throwing the ball more than running it. That was contrary to what Carroll said during the off-season and training camp when he told anyone who would listen, the Seahawks were going back to being a running team.
There was speculation after the two games, new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer didn’t trust the offensive line to help the running game. That sentiment changed, however, in game three. Fluker came back into the lineup at right guard and Sweezy took over on the left side for injured Ethan Pocic. Since then the running game has dominated.
J.R. Sweezy started his career with the Seahawks after they selected him in the seventh round of the 2012 draft. He played four years for the Seahawk, including the Super Bowl ones at right guard. In 2016, he signed a five-year free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but ended up missing the entire 2016 season because of back surgery.
Last year played the first fourteen games until a leg injury cost him the last two games of the season. On June 29, Tampa decided to release him. The Seahawks wanted to bolster their offensive line decided to bring back a player they were familiar with, signing him on August 1. Just like Fluker, Sweezy plays a physical game. Although the NC State alum hadn’t played left guard until the third game of this season, he has shown he can do the job.