A vote of confidence for Seahawks' center

Nine players started on the Seattle Seahawks' offensive line last season.

Five of the nine are no longer on the roster.

Two of the remaining four project as starters in 2011.

One of them, center Max Unger, has made a positive first impression on a source very, very close to the situation: his quarterback.

Tarvaris Jackson, a bystander until NFL rules allowed newly signed players to begin practicing Thursday, singled out Unger and rookie receiver Doug Baldwin as players catching his attention during the first week of training camp.

Jackson lauded Unger for "the way he can move and the way he blocks and the way he picks the offense up."

Unger replaces Chris Spencer, the only 16-game starter on Seattle's line last season. Unger started the 2010 season opener at right guard before suffering a season-ending toe injury. The Seahawks have projected him as their future starting center for some time. They never pushed to re-sign Spencer, who landed in Chicago as Olin Kreutz's replacement.

The Seahawks need to be right on Unger. They think he can bring leadership, tenacity and smarts to the position. For that to happen, though, Unger must stay on the field. He played right guard as a rookie in 2009 and started all 16 games, but the injury and lockout held him back.

"The positive is he’s in pretty good shape now -- he’s very rested, as they all are, from the lockout," assistant head coach/offensive line Tom Cable said early in camp. "When you don’t get to play though, you never get those reps back that you lost. So that’s the negative, but he’s a brilliant, brilliant guy and very talented, so his acceleration and learning has been extreme early already."