On the Bubble: Chris Spencer

As we enter training camp, several players look to earn their spot on the Seahawks roster.  Some are looking to improve their stock, while others look to just hold onto their roster spot. Put Chris Spencer in the latter category as he enters a contract year with the Seattle Seahawks.  Spencer came to the Seahawks via the 2005 Draft and has not lived up to the expectations since taking over for Robby Tobeck after the 2006 season. (Click Read More to continue…)

Unfortunately for Spencer, injuries and inconsistent play have put him on the wrong side of Seahawks fans, most notably for his tendency to miss blocking assignments and line calls. He gave up 2.5 sacks last year after a 2007 campaign with only 0.5 sacks credited to him. Spencer has also shown that he can be injury prone, missing the final five games of 2009 with a back injury.

Spencer came to Seattle with all the right intangibles, a 6’3” 309 pound beast out of Ole Miss where he won a Cotton Bowl in 2003 as the Rebels won 10 games.  The Seahawks were looking to find the eventual replacement for an aging Robbie Tobeck and drafted Spencer in one of the best Seahawk drafts in recent history (the Seahawks got both Lofa Taupu and Leroy Hill in this draft.) 

So far as a Seahawk, Spencer has shown his inability to recognize oncoming blitzes.  Although he is the center, he tends to be slower off the ball then a blitzing linebacker.  His inconsistencies have also come in the form of run blocking, often missing his assignment and killing the play or, at best, leading to minimal gains.

One thing that may benefit Spencer this season is the switch the zone blocking scheme The difference between the zone blocking scheme “man-blocking” is that Spencer no longer has to block down unless the running play calls for him to.  Instead he would be able to help the left or right guard with their specific player, but he also has the option to cut down an oncoming linebacker, which could free up cut back lanes for Julius Jones or T.J. Duckett.

However, this is another camp battle that has already garnered some attention as Max Unger was drafted by the Seahawks in the second round of this year’s draft.  If Unger can grasp the blocking scheme more effectively and can show his ability to pick up blitzes, Chris Spencer could be headed out of Seattle with a first class ticket to middle-of-the-road free agent status.