Watch out kid! The Big Sweezy will NOT hesitate to keep yo ass in check!
When the Seahawks drafted NC State Defensive Tackle J.R. Sweezy with an eye towards moving him to Guard, not many envisioned much for the rookie during his debut campaign, myself included. That's if he even made the team, which was far from a lock. Some suggested, and rightfully so, a year on the practice squad spent developing his craft and learning the nuances of the game from the opposite perspective. After all, it would have been a tall order to expect Sweezy to provide anything more than an extra body in case all things went to hell and the Seahawks were ravaged by injuries along the OLine. Funny how things have a way of never working out the way you expect them to.
Fast forward to to the present and what we've seen from J.R. Sweezy is nothing short of amazing. He took the opportunity to get legitimate playing time from mini-camp and hasn't looked back at all, barring a rough first game in Arizona. Against the Cards Sweezy was often overmatched. He wasn't the only one, and the Cards sent all kinds of blitzes up the middle all day, but in the end Sweezy had a less than satisfying day at the office. With Moffitt on the mend, it looked like Sweezy had blown his chance to play meaningful minutes this season. Pete Carroll and the offensive coaches then decided that Moffitt and Sweezy would rotate during the Dallas game, a very unique situation to say the least. The end result was a solid if not unspectacular performance from the right guard position.
Moffitt's play was specifically encouraging as he continues to battle his way back to top form from injury and he figures to get the bulk of the playing time moving forward, but let's not forget what we've got in Sweezy. To go from defensive tackle to offensive guard in 1 off-season, and to open the season as the starter (even if by default due to injury) is one of the most impressive things I've seen a rookie accomplish in a long time following this team. What's funny about Sweezy is that he probably hasn't even begun to scratch the surface of his talents. Who knows what this guy can become in a few short years with more experience under his belt? I want to go on record as saying that I think Sweezy will be a Pro Bowler by his fourth season in the league, and it'll go down on Tom Cable's resume as his most impressive accomplishment to date. Just a wild guess of course, but I think it shows you how much I love this guy's potential.
What I like about him is that he gets to the second level and just punishes defenders. He plays a little over aggressive at times, you'll see him whiff once in a while, but the dude's got a mean streak the size of Alaska! Hence him punching a 65 year old bus driver in the face several times while at NC State after being followed off a bus by the bus driver, who had earlier asked Sweezy to leave for being "loud and obnoxious." It ain't easy bein' Sweezy! I swear, Tom Cable is a wizard or something. He was able to help Sweezy make the adjustments he needed to week to week in order to go out and play a solid game and help the team against the Cowboys. I counted a few times where the Seahawks were able to have success running right, behind Moffitt/Sweezy (MoSweezy?) and Giacomini. When coupled together, Sweezy and Giacomini have the makings of one of the nastiest pairings on an OLine in the NFL. These two guys enjoy taking the will to keep going out of the opposition with their bare hands and you know Tom Cable loves that as well.
Kudos to Cable for thinking outside of the box when looking for his next project with the 'Hawks. The knock on Sweezy as a DT coming out of college was that he wasn't "loose in the hips" (God I love that phrase) and that he lacked explosion when shedding blocks. However, he was praised for his athleticism and work ethic. Cable saw these qualities and quickly realized that if Sweezy were willing to work that he'd be able to convert to the offensive side of the ball and be an effective player in the future in his zone blocking scheme. J.R.'s proven Cable right, so far, and it appears that the Seahawks struck gold in the 7th Round this year with Greg Scruggs also making the team and not looking out of place. I could gush about the organization's sustained ability to find perfect scheme fits throughout the later rounds of seemingly every draft they've had (Chancellor, Thurmond III when healthy, Wright, Sherman, McCoy, and Sweezy just to name a few) but I think we're all on the same page when it comes to the Seahawks love, so I'll spare you for now.
What will be interesting as the season progresses is the amount of playing time Sweezy will see. With Moffitt nearing 100% and James Carpenter also nearing return from his catastrophic injury last season, it would seem that the Seahawks are stacked at guard for the foreseeable future. The competition between Moffitt/Sweezy for the right guard position should be an interesting battle not only for the remainder of this season, but for future seasons as well. I could see the 'Hawks also giving Sweezy a shot at tackle down the road. He's got the short area quickness and mean streak that you look for in such a player. As well, Sweezy has the frame to continue to grow and add muscle. I can't tell you how many times I've seen him in the huddle or walking back to the huddle after a play and thought to myself "The Big Sweezy just doesn't look like an OLineman!" He's one of the quicker, more athletic guards I've seen for the 'Hawks in a while which is quite impressive. Moral of the story? Don't doubt Tom Cable.. EVER!
Regardless of what the future holds for J.R. Sweezy and the 'Hawks it's almost certain to be a surprise because the first year man has been full of them so far this season. Here's to a clean bill of health and his continued progression.