On Friday I had the pleasure of speaking with Seahawks Hall of Famer and one of the best left tackles to play the game of American Football, Walter Jones. We spoke at great length about the evolution of the offensive line. This has been a passion of mine and you can read about some of my own observations in a piece from last season looking at some of the modern trends. To follow this article up by speaking not only with Walter but also Joel Bitonio has been eye-opening and I will be sharing that with you all in the next few weeks.
Walter and I also spoke about this season’s Seattle Seahawks, and I would like to share with you some of our conversation.
Are you excited about the Seahawks this year? There’s lots of new young faces and plenty of change.
Very excited! As always with Pete Carroll the emphasis is on competition, there is the nucleus of leadership guys such as Bobby and Doug, but as long as there is the franchise quarterback there you will always be in the game. The players might be young and some from the later rounds of the draft, but the players are selected primarily for their willingness to learn and hunger for success, the team wants players who want to learn and that can be so much more valuable than a player who has raw talent but unwilling to work hard.
The addition of Duane Brown is crucial to the success, now having a year under his belt and able to work through camp, he is set up to have a big year. The fact that he came from a zone blocking system already in Houston is a big plus which makes it easier to learn at a new team.
Where do you see the Earl Thomas story going? Neither side look like flinching first.
Earl will be back by the first week of the season, as Aaron Donald was last season, as this is when you really start to get paid, September is where you start to earn real money – when it matters, and players still have a certain lifestyle which they become accustomed to.
NB; for me I think the concern would be that Thomas returns to the team, doesn’t resign and simply moves on in free agency, meaning nothing more than a compensatory pick for the Seahawks in the end.
How do you think the team will cope with the long trip to London?
The team will be fine, it’s certainly different but they will cope. They will be leaving on the Wednesday or Thursday before the game and try to stay on the home time zone as much as possible, despite the 10 hour difference between Seattle and London. The game will be played at 10am Seattle time. The team then have a bye week to recover so that will be plenty of time before the next game.
Walter Jones will be in London with many other former players and expects to appear at a public event in London on the Saturday. This will be Walter’s first long international flight and is concerned about being a big man on a plane, and who can blame him! leg room is a premium.
It sounds like George Fant may be moving over to right tackle, how do you think he will manage with the change?
Moving from the left to the right of the line can be very hard, likened to starting to drive on the left hand side of the road when you have always driven on the right, imagine doing something you have always done with your right hand like writing, when you start to use your left you know how to write, but all of a sudden you have to think harder about it, each movement requires so much more thought and is not natural anymore. For the offensive tackle, suddenly you are have the opposite kick leg and long leg, you weight is on the other side of your body and everything is the opposite way to which you have learned, its going to take time.
Its sounding like an extremely busy few months for Walter Jones, not just down to the trip to London and the imminent arrival of his clothing range ‘B2 EDI’, there is also 96-check and new TV career on a show called 5th Quarter.
96-Check is a simple but effective scheme inspired by the late great defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, Walter’s best friend on the team. Cortez Kennedy was well known for simply checking in on his friends to see how they are doing, a small gesture but one not lost on Walter Jones. Footballers are known for and expected to portray an almost “gladiator life”, whereby they are expected to be strong people as well as physical, that’s not always the case and the simple act of checking in on someone you haven’t seen for a while can go a long way in making their life a lot happier.
5th Quarter is a new post-game television show on NBC, Walter is looking forward to putting a face to the offensive line, which is often forgotten about in popular coverage.
Thank you very much to Walter Jones for spending some time in your busy schedule talking with a fan from the UK.
Duane Brown: Seattletimes.com
Earl Thomas: Seattletimes.com
George Fant: Twitter.com
Cortez Kennedy: pinterest.com