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With Wahle out, Seahawks seek answers

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren once pointed to guard Mike Wahle as the team's most significant addition of the 2008 offseason. Now, Holmgren can point to Wahle as the latest offensive lineman to land on injured reserve.

Wahle, sidelined by a shoulder stinger, joins starting center Chris Spencer and starting right guard Rob Sims on the season-ending list. A pectoral injury might explain Sims' struggles early in the season. He wound up needing surgery. Spencer's back issues sidelined him through most of training camp. He missed the Dallas game in Week 13 and went on injured reserve this week.

Wahle was one of the Seahawks' most impressive players during offseason camps. Players often fight through stinger injuries even while the condition saps their strength. I'm not sure how long Wahle was battling this injury, but he did seem to struggle more than expected at times. A string of false-start penalties seemed uncharacteristic for a veteran.

We're left to wonder how Seattle's offensive line might come together next season. Walter Jones will presumably be back at left tackle. The other four positions remain in question. Wahle turns 32 before the 2009 season. Is his body breaking down, or can he bounce back? Sims and Spencer have hardly established themselves as reliable or productive long-term answers. Even right tackle Sean Locklear has struggled more than expected. Does Ray Willis provide a better option there?

The line was supposed to be a strength with Mike Solari and Mike DeBoad taking over as coaches. Both are excellent coaches based on what I've seen in practices and feedback from players and other coaches throughout the league. Injuries on the line and elsehwere have compromised the offense. Building continuity is essential for success in the future.