FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Seahawks have been plugging holes with mixed results in recent seasons.
In 2007, they threw $10.5 million in bonuses at Deon Grant and also signed another veteran free agent, Brian Russell, to address deficiencies at safety. They threw another $15 million in bonuses at Patrick Kerney to help the pass rush. In 2008, they hired Mike Solari to coach their offensive line and signed veteran left guard Mike Wahle to finally plug the hole Steve Hutchinson left two years earlier. In 2009, the Seahawks responded to chronic injury problems at wide receiver by committing about $15 million in guarantees to T.J. Houshmandzadeh, then trading up in the draft to select receiver Deon Butler.
The offensive line was the biggest problem for Seattle in 2009.
One look at the Seahawks' coaching staff shows the team's renewed commitment to that area. Seattle has three assistant coaches dedicated to its offensive line, more than any team in the division and more than any team I can recall covering. Alex Gibbs leads a group featuring assistant line coach Art Valero and quality control coach Luke Butkus. Seattle has a separate quality control coach for offense (Dave Canales), with Butkus focusing on the line only.
Update: The Texans had three line-oriented assistants under Gibbs last season if we count offensive assistant Bruce Matthews. Gibbs' title in Houston also was not line-specific. He was assistant head coach/offense.