By Brent Stecker
Part of the job of an NFL center is to be an unsung hero, and if you're good enough, people around the league will begin to take notice.
Unger, 27, is coming off Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections in 2012, and the former University of Oregon standout's value to the Seahawks is becoming more and more apparent, as The News Tribune's Dave Boling told "Bob and Groz" on Monday.
"You watch the practices and you see he's the first guy sprinting over to the next session. He's the one who's really a leader for that group," Boling said.
Unger's leadership has been extremely important for an offensive line that has struggled to keep players healthy on a consistent basis. It's also been key as the Seahawks have employed more and more read-option plays.
"What I thought was really illustrative of his value – aside from the blocks he makes – (was) last year, about midseason, they started implementing that read-option attack, and it was really making a big scheme change on the fly," Boling said. "I asked (offensive line coach Tom) Cable, 'How could you do that?' And he said really the key to it was that, 'We have such an intelligent group up front, particularly with Max making the calls.' Unger, of course, was familiar with that scheme at Oregon, so it wasn't really something that was entirely new to him. But his background with it and his intelligence and savvy really made that possible."
Unger's leadership and toughness is drawing him comparisons to a previous Pro Bowl center for Seattle, and for good reason.
"I think long-time Seahawks fans will liken him to Robbie Tobeck, and I think that's a very good comparison," Boling said. "Tobeck wasn't quite as physical as Unger, but he was very smart and he was a bulldog in his tenacity in there. He understood how the game was played, and that made him really the heart and mind of the offensive line. And Max Unger has actually probably taken that up a notch as well, because he is very physical (and) he's very talented."
Still, the reality is that Unger plays an unglamorous position, and his worth to the Seahawks may go unnoticed by more casual fans. But as Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby explain in the video below, the importance of Unger's play to the Seahawks should not be understated.