RENTON, Wash. -- It took the Seattle Seahawks until after the third preseason game last season before settling on an offensive line for the start of the regular season.
The Seahawks are hopeful they can cement their line together much earlier in 2016.
Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy are gone. Garry Gilliam and Justin Britt have changed positions. Mark Glowinski has moved into the projected starting lineup after being a backup last season, and Germain Ifedi (first-round pick) and J'Marcus Webb (free-agent addition) have been brought in to fill out the right side of the line.
The moves have meant Seattle currently has new pieces at all five positions on the offensive line.
"Yes, I'm playing left tackle. No, it's not much different. I'm excited. We're working hard," Gilliam quipped with a smile before trying to skirt the reporters waiting to speak with him after practice.
Gilliam received a text from the coaching staff asking if he would be comfortable moving from right tackle to left tackle after the draft. It's the position where he began his Seahawks career after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2014. It's surprising to him that fans are worried about how he'll take to protecting Russell Wilson's blind side.
"I was obviously a backup left tackle, so in practice I went up against the first team all the time so I got tons of reps at left tackle against really good players," Gilliam said of his rookie year. "Just come out here, knock some rust off since I haven't played it in a little bit and get back to work."
Gilliam has slowly been eased into team drills after having surgery to remove a cyst in his knee in May. After being limited on the first day of camp, Gilliam is nearly taking all the first-team reps at left tackle.
Britt is also adjusting to a new position after being moved from left guard to center. It's his third position with the Seahawks in three seasons with the team. He played every game in 2014 at right tackle before being moved to guard last August.
"I feel like I already knew the offense, but playing at center and seeing it from that perspective and having to be the one to call out the calls and kind of the leadership role on the field, I'm definitely learning it at another level," Britt said.
Outside of Gilliam being limited in the opening days of camp, the Seahawks have primarily kept the same five guys together with the first-team offense. Gilliam at left tackle, Glowinski at left guard, Britt at center, Ifedi at right guard and Webb at right tackle. Bradley Sowell has rotated with Gilliam at left tackle when Gilliam's reps have been limited.
Last year, Seattle tried four different options at left guard and three at center before making wholesale changes after the first preseason game. Britt moved to left guard from right tackle and Gilliam was put in the starting lineup at right tackle.
It's been a smoother process this year, but offensive line coach Tom Cable said they are still moving guys around as they see fit.
"We're just moving people around a little bit still, but the first snap of every practice has been the same five," Cable said.
If Seattle can settle on their current grouping of five guys being the best option soon, it would give the unit a chance to hone their communication before the start of the regular season.
"It would be great," Britt said. "Like any other offensive line, continuity, playing with each other the whole camp you really get to learn how one person communicates and how they do it and what they need help with and what you need to pick up the slack with, but it's way too early to settle on a line. Everyone is still out here working trying to earn a spot on that roster."