RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks offensive line was already unsettled with competitions at center and left guard having yet to yield a winner at either spot. On Monday, three days after a preseason opener in which that group noticeably struggled, the Seahawks shook things up.
Starting right tackle Justin Britt was playing left guard and was replaced at his usual spot by Garry Gilliam, a second-year player who had previously been a backup left tackle. Drew Nowak was taking starting reps at center after playing with the second team behind Lemuel Jeanpierre on Friday.
Alvin Bailey, who's been competing to start at left guard, was playing left tackle with the second team.
"We felt like we need to do a little more mixing and matching to figure it out," said offensive line coach Tom Cable.
It was expected that Nowak would be working with the starters on Monday as he and Jeanpierre have been alternating days. It qualified as a surprise, though, that Britt was playing left guard after starting all 16 games at right tackle as a rookie last season.
Britt had his share of issues in pass protection last year, and on Friday he was beaten by Denver's Von Miller for a fumble-forcing sack on Seattle's second play. But both Cable and coach Pete Carroll described the shakeup as more of a reflection of how Gilliam has come on strong of late as opposed to an indictment of Britt's play at right tackle.
Cable said the switch isn't necessarily permanent.
"We'll see how the week goes. What we're trying to do is get the best guys out there in the huddle and then figure out where they fit," he said. "Right now, I think Garry has had a real nice camp and then put it together Friday night. It showed up pretty good."
Gilliam was undrafted last year out of Penn State, where he played tight end before switching to offensive tackle for his final season. As a rookie last year, he was on the receiving end of the touchdown pass thrown by Seahawks punter Jon Ryan on a fake field goal in the NFC Championship Game.
Now he's getting a chance to earn a starting spot.
"He had a terrific offseason and has come back firing," Carroll said of Gilliam. "He's smart, he's athletic, all the good stuff ahead of him. We see a lot of promise in that so we'll give him a shot."