Has lack of commitment to the run hurt Seattle’s O-line?

December 29th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Have the Seahawks committed enough to their running game this year?

Time for a different angle on all the O-line talk.

I mentioned in the podcast yesterday something that possibly doesn’t get brought up enough. Are some of the problems on the offensive line self-inflicted?

After all, this is a team that for years has sought to be committed to the run. To an extent the players they’ve added were brought here to run block first and foremost — to carve out Seattle’s key identity on offense.

Run, run, run.

Has it ever felt like this team truly committed to the run game at any point in 2016?

The Seahawks have drafted some of the most explosive players in the draft in recent years to play on the O-line. When we put together our Trench Explosion Formula to judge draft prospects, we went back and looked at Seattle’s previous picks. The results showed a concerted effort to target explosive, physically dominant players to compete in the trenches.

Seattle’s guards and center are arguably the most explosive trio of linemen in the league based on their pre-draft testing.

This isn’t a finesse group of guys. They’re made for running the ball.

In the pre-season we saw an interior blowing people off the LOS and creating nice lanes for Christine Michael. We saw clever misdirection plays, big yardage. A group that looked ready to set the tone during the regular season.

And yet here we are, heading into the final weekend of the NFL season and the Seahawks are 19th in the league for total number of runs (378).

The Dallas Cowboys, ranked first, have run the ball exactly 100 more times than the Seahawks. Even the New England Patriots are #3 on the list with 453 attempts.

Alternatively, the Seahawks are #12 in pass attempts. Dallas are at #19.

You’d never imagine these numbers watching the Seahawks between 2012-2014 or listening to the way Pete Carroll talks about his vision for this franchise.

Can a case be made that the Seahawks could’ve made life easier for this young, inexperienced group by dedicating their offense to the run? Emphasising their physical traits and covering up some of their technical weaknesses and lack of understanding?

Have they damaged the confidence and psyche of the unit by asking them to pass protect a lot, considering the widespread criticism that has followed?

Have they abandoned the run too early in games and almost ignored it in others?

There might be reasons for this. Injuries to the quarterback and how defenses have adjusted when playing Seattle. Losing Russell Wilson’s run production. Injuries at running back. The way certain games have flowed (eg needing to come from behind). Have they ever truly trusted the running backs? Christine Michael was cut, Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise injured and it took another spate of injuries for Alex Collins to get any kind of significant work.

None of this excuses the poor play in 2016 — but has progress stalled because the Seahawks have not focused on the one thing they’ve done well for years and arguably drafted these guys to do?

There are flashes of talent on the tape. Potential. Tom Cable noted in his press conference yesterday that Germain Ifedi has been ‘fairly dominant’ recently. Look at the way he attacks the second level here:

Also note the way Gilliam drives his man off the LOS to create a nice big lane for Alex Collins.

This was a run play.

Now let’s look at this one:

This is a pass. Ifedi doesn’t know his assignment and has to ask Justin Britt what to do. Britt points at one guy but it’s too late. Ifedi is lost and doesn’t block anybody.

It’s a small sample size of course but it kind of highlights how green this O-line is. They don’t even fully understand what they’re supposed to do. With three first time starters including rookies at right guard and left tackle — this has probably happened a few times this season.

How often do you think Ronald Leary or Zack Martin turn to Travis Frederick right before the snap and ask, ‘Hey, so which is my guy again?’

And yet physically they’re good enough to just get out there and execute a run play against a big, aggressive Arizona defensive front and look really good doing it.

Should they be leaning on the physical upside of these guys instead of trying to master pass-protection?

Should they be committing, universally, to the running game to make life easy for them?

It’s too late now, going into week 17, to really feel the benefit of such a commitment. Had they done this after the Tampa Bay game we might’ve seen a 2014 style ‘slug fest’ end to the season and an offense that at least is not a hindrance (as it has been in several games).

Hindsight is a wonderful thing — but I suspect they’d rather be in the top-five for rushing attempts right now than #19 and live with the results. Maybe they’d be a bad running team still? At least we’d know.

They might actually have an offensive identity. They might actually have a consistent offense.

What they actually have is a hotchpotch of parts. They’re not doing anything particularly well game-to-game. Given everything we’ve heard about the importance of the run to this team since 2010 — it feels like a mistake that with this O-line they didn’t just commit to their physical upside.

What are the consequences? The clamour in the off-season will be for the Seahawks to spend big on the O-line in free agency. Find immediate quality starters in the hope expensive talent will give the team a quick fix.

It’s a shame really because it’s clear there is talent and potential with the existing starters. And the plan, we all believed, was to create an O-line that could grow together and be good for years at an inexpensive price.

It’ll be a hard sell to stand by this group going into 2017. Not just with fans — but also probably with the more outspoken members of the team. 2016 has the feel of a potential lost season. They don’t want to go through this again next year.

And yet you might be giving up on them because of a self-inflicted crisis. They might actually be the answer, believe it or not. Some further investment would be needed of course. I still think Utah’s Garett Bolles could be the ideal first round pick for this team. They might not get a chance to select him — he is that good. There are others though. The middle rounds of the 2017 draft should provide some nice options too.

However, with the 2016 performance so far you imagine they’ll feel obliged to open the cheque book and be aggressive. Or make trades.

Anything to extend the Championship window.

This won’t necessarily be the answer either. According to Football Outsiders, Minnesota’s O-line is 30th in the run game and 19th in the passing game. Their big off-season moves included signing Alex Boone and Andre Smith. Combined the pair cost $11.2m in 2016.

In comparison, Seattle is ranked 26th and 25th for running and passing respectively.

The teams at the top of the rankings are generally sides with home-grown O-lines. Dallas, Pittsburgh, Washington, New Orleans, Tennessee. Units crafted over time with a bit of experience thrown in for good measure.

So while it will be attractive to many to go out and spend, a greater commitment to running the ball in 2017 and further investment via the draft might not be the worst thing for this side. Whether they can justify that — internally or externally — is another thing completely. Especially this team, determined to win now and needing to address other needs too such as the defensive line or a defense in general that is enduring a historically bad year for turnovers.

156 Responses to “Has lack of commitment to the run hurt Seattle’s O-line?”

  1. DLep says:

    Hi Rob,

    I also wonder if it is the way they run block when they choose to run. A complicated zbs for an athletic, green set of linemen vs something more simplified where they aren’t thinking as much (and thus hesitating) and just letting their athletic traits shine. Im no expert but just from my perspective they just often look unsure as to what their assignment should be or who they should be blocking.

  2. CC says:

    I do think the lack of commitment to the run was also affected by Rawls and Russell’s injuries. So many plays couldn’t be called and it made them pretty predictable. When Procise got in, he made some things happen. But because of all the changes in personnel in the line and back field pretty much has made a mess of all of it. They are also making this RW’s team with Marshawn gone – so many more passes.

    I know this is stating the obvious, but if they want to make it back to the SB, I don’t think they’ll make it as the 3rd or 4th seed.

  3. JT says:

    Oh boy. I got lots of thoughts on this article. First off I think it’s an interesting angle to help explain the OLine issues.

    Big picture first – the OL has been prety well dominated by defensive fronts all season, in both the passing and the running game. When that happened in past years, we could still confidently give the ball to Marshawn Lynch, since he was an elite talent.

    With all due respect to Rawls, Prosise & Michael, the cumulative RB play this year has been pretty average. If the coaches can’t trust the OL to execute, they have to trust either the passing game or running game to make the offense work. So they can trust average RB play, or elite passing game talents (Wilson, Baldwin & Graham).

    I think the offensive performance would have been worse this season if they took the ball away from those elite pass-game talents to feed a running game that hasn’t worked at even low-ish volume.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Possibly. I appreciate that take.

      But then you’re also relying on the O-line to protect well enough to get the ball to those talents in the passing game. And they haven’t done that — so as a consequence we see an offense that is capable of being really explosive and dynamic but any kind of adversity and they crack, crumble and collapse.

      Committing to the run doesn’t mean you necessarily have to go away from your better players either. It might be a case of attempting to establish the run to create opportunities to max out their talents — rather than the other way around behind a bad pass-pro O-line.

      • JT says:

        Agreed. I think the Hawks coaches really want to establish the run this year for those reasons.

        I think another reason why they haven’t done so is the lack of depth at RB. They’ve essentially only had one reliable RB suited up at a time this season (Michael, then Prosise, then Rawls). It’s hard to lean on run-game volume in that scenario. Michael was never fully trusted (for good reason), and Prosise/Rawls were both returning from long injuries and are both-injury prone.

        • C-Dog says:

          It’s interesting to me in that, as I remember the earlier portion of the season, games against the Jets, Falcons, Bills, Pats, etc.. people were talking about how much better a Tom Cable coached OL was showing in pass pro than in previous years. I think it might have been the Tampa Bay game when that really started to get flipped, when the Bucs were overloading areas of the OL, and Britt was out of the game.

          I kinda think Seattle might have gotten away from it’s run game out of lack of trust with the runners. I think Michael was cut because the coaches couldn’t rely on him with the play book. Rawls and CJ have flashed, but obviously injuries thwarted plans, and I think Carroll has mentioned it’s taken Collins a while to get there physically, “getting his body right.” So, I sorta think with all the weapons Seattle has had with the WRs, it’s easy for the coaches to just turn to the passing game. Carroll has said repeatedly, that they are throwing more now because they have to, not because that’s what they want to do.

          IMO, I think a small sample size of what this team can be with all parts working is with a healthy CJ Prosise, and what his impact was against the Pats, and then against the Eagles before he got injured again. It was kinda field tilting.

          • JT says:

            I would be so excited about CJ if the injury concerns didn’t put such a damper on it. He’s an element this offense has never had before.

            I think you hit the nail on the head with the lack of trust in the runners. There was always a good reason not to trust each of them enough to have high-volume.

            I never understood the occasional praise of the OL’s pass protection earlier in the season. I think it’s been pretty sh** the whole year.

            • C-Dog says:

              Yeah, if not for the injuries, I think CJ would definitely be one to give the fan base a lot of hope. Kinda why it feels to me Seattle might likely be looking for more reliability there.

              I think there’s been times where pass pro has looked good, more so earlier in the year, and at times even towards the later portion. One thing that Hawkblogger loves to point out is that Tom Cable has never coached a good pass blocking line, so what looks decent in some games and looks gawd awful in others is probably something a fanbase is always going to have to live with rooting for a team coached by him. So, it’s kinda relative to that, and also adds weight that it’s best for Seattle to get back to its running DNA.

              • Kenny Sloth says:

                He’s coached Michael Vick, Jamarcus Russell, and Russell Wilson

                None are known for their pocket awareness.

                • C-Dog says:

                  I would disagree with that in terms of Russell Wilson.

                  • Kenny Sloth says:

                    Except for the evidence of him running right into pressure.

                  • Kenny Sloth says:

                    It’s well known Russ creates some sacks himself.

                    I don’t have the numbers id like to in front of me. But I doubt our sack yards are as bad as they could be. And should be

                    I also imagine that the quotient of sack yards/sack totals would not only be a good measure and would also cast a favorable light on russ

                  • C-Dog says:

                    Not an expert on the position by any stretch, but I think that’s probably the cost of having a 5-11 franchise QB on your roster, couple that with the fact he has a tendency to hold onto the ball looking to extend. There’s also been evidence he’s been pretty effective passer from the pocket over the last couple seasons. Aaron Rodgers has been known to hold onto the ball and run into sacks, but he got better over time. There’s know reason to assume Wilson won’t get better with that as well.

                    Sure he shares some of the blame, at times, but I’m really not going dump a lot of Seattle’s pass pro issues on Wilson

                  • Kenny Sloth says:

                    Right, but Cable could also develop his style and methodology as well.

                    These guys will all grow. Im not ready to write off anyone (maybe Gilliam)

                    I think they are all young and will get better together.

                    We have to accept that the starting line next year may potentially be on the roster already

                  • C-Dog says:

                    I think you’re very right about that on all fronts, Kenny. I kinda suspect the 5 starters might be on the roster, likely the 5th guy hasn’t been a starter yet this year in Odhiambo. Kind of why I’m not going to hold my breath on them going on a spending spree in FA. Hearing Cable’s words this week, watching his expression, and tone, he’s not ready to give up on any of these guys, he’s seen good play out of them this year, just needs to see the consistency.

                    My hunch is that they are probably going to make RB is big time target in the offseason, the way they are rifling through backs on the roster now.

                  • JT says:

                    Kenny – it’s possible the five 2017 starters are already on the roster, but that’s a worst case scenario. The chances would be high for another season of being a step below the top contender level, despite the crazy talent all over the rest of the roster.

                    You may think there’s no where to go but up for this group, but that’s not true. The Hawks have luckily been very healthy on the OL this year, and I’ve got zero faith in a guy like Fant becoming competent. New starters at the tackle positions are the top 2 needs on this team (either Ifedi or FA/pick at RT, and either Odi or FA/pick at LT).

              • Hawk Eye says:

                hard to run when there always seems to be a couple of defensive players in the backfield. I can’t remember seeing so much penetration in previous years. 2nd and long, 3rd and long means you have to pass.
                If the ZBS is more complicated, it seems foolish to use it with a very inexperienced line.

  4. JT says:

    in the Pre-season – there were instances of strong execution by the O-Line, but it often occurred after multiple failed drives. The Hawks kept the O-Line starters in after the the opponents would sub out the starters on defense, and it seemed like we did most of our damage against backup defensive players.

    I do think Ifedi looked a bit better in the pre-season. The injury really set him back to start the season, and it’s played a part in his poor rookie season. Ifedi actually had a bunch of “dominant” moments in the second half of the Cards game, so that’s something to build on.

  5. JT says:

    How ridiculous is Ifedi’s athleticism in that first clip? What a freak.

    Please learn how to play the game young man. After his great second half against Arizona, I’ll be focusing on him against the bum 9ers this week.

    • Volume12 says:

      That stance is awful. How is he supposed to move laterally in that split?

      • JT says:

        yet look how quick and explosive he fires out of that awful stance to make the quick double team before hitting the second-level LB. He has some great potential as a ZBS run-blocker.

        Who knows if he’ll ever be a passable pass protector.

        • Volume12 says:

          Yeah, I’m a big fan of Ifedi’s even if he has been disappointing at times. And he is an exceptional run blocker.

          There has to be a reason for his technique though. The wide split more than 2 feet apart, up on his toes. I can’t figure it out.

  6. JT says:

    Football Outsiders – Their offensive line rankings (especially pass blocking) are a joke. The pass protection rankings are measured by “Adjusted Sack Rate” which is:

    “sacks (plus intentional grounding penalties) per pass attempt adjusted for down, distance, and opponent.”

    So while they adjust the measure based on game situation and opponent, it only covers sacks. A QB pressure or QB hit counts the same as a completely clean pocket. Sacks is a very volatile statistic, and doesn’t come particularly close to telling the whole story of pass protection quality.

    FO’s run-blocking metrics are more in-depth, and seem more accurate, but their method of assigning credit or blame to the offensive line for yards gained/lost is still really questionable.

  7. Colin says:

    When I repeatedly see things like JR Sweezy and Germain Ifedi whiffing completely on blocks, letting defenders run by clean, Willson unable to perform good cut blocks after 4 (!) seasons on the team, I start to think the issue is coaching.

    Are all these lineman they’ve drafted bad? They can’t be. Basic statistics says that at least a couple of them should be serviceable, if not special. And yet, it’s the same mistakes over, and over, and over again. How, after 15 weeks, can you not know who to block in front of you? That’s inexcusable.

    In 2013, we thought the line couldn’t get any worse in pass protection, but we gave a pass due to the injuries to Unger and Okung for much of the season.

    In 2014, we thought the line couldn’t get any worse in pass protection, but we gave a pass due to the historic year they had rushing the football.

    In 2015, we thought the line couldn’t get any worse in pass protection, once they figured out the Nowak experiment was a failure and Britt was a really bad guard.

    And yet, it has progressively gone downhill.

    Maybe it’s time to spend a little on the offensive line. Go get a Kevin Zeitler or Andrew Whitworth. Maybe it’s time for a new process and approach to the offensive line. Maybe it’s time to move on from Tom Cable and insert some new blood and coaching techniques.

    I don’t know the answer to the offensive line problem, but I do know if Seattle keeps repeating the same process, it’s not going to get better. It will be a revolving door of “which lineman do we blame this week?” when AZ or LA or *insert good defensive line here* comes to town.

    • bobbyk says:

      It’s puzzling because like we mentioned yesterday – how can Jahri Evans look back with the Seahawks and then get released and have a good year at RG for the Saints? How can we make a good player look bad? I just don’t get it.

      However, I really don’t want to reshuffle everything next year. I think they are one good/great starter (RT) away from being what we want them to be. It’s only naturally for the entire line (Fant, Glowinski, Britt, Ifedi) to be much improved next year due to the fact that every single one of those players is a first year starter at their current position and two of those guys are rookies. What’s more there’s two rookies backing up the rookies (Rees/Hung).

      Help Wanted: Good right tackle. Not simply a right tackle.

      • STTBM says:

        But those guys have not improved as the season wore on. They’ve gotten worse, both in the run game and in pass pro. Ifedi seems both mentally and physically lost at G, Glowinsky has regressed, and Fant looks years away from being solid. I’m not convinced they will magically gel by Game One next year. If Ifedi and Glow are in the wrong spots, then time isn’t the answer: putting them in the right spot is.

        I don’t care what they do as long as they bring in a decent G and T and open up competition.

        Perhaps Ifedi will adapt to RG and Glow or Odhiambo will step up and Fant will figure it out: but I don’t feel good about risking Wilson’s health on that bet.

  8. Cameron says:

    Theory:

    In a twist of irony, the injuries sustained to Russell Wilson in the first several games of the season forced the Seahawks to become more pass oriented. Here’s how:

    The read option has been a staple of the Seahawks run games since about the halfway mark of Russell Wilson’s rookie season. The very nature of the play, and Wilson’s mobility, acts as a 6th blocker on the offensive line – a huge advantage for sure for offenses with mobile quarterbacks. Without the threat of the RO the Seahawks had to run more conventional run plays – something they were ill prepared for from a personnel stand point.

    Wilson’s injuries exposed the weakness on the OL and magnified them even more than we all feared heading into this season. Teams could now stack the box with 8 defenders in the box. Seattle tried to continue to run ‘RO looking’ plays, but teams learned they didn’t need to honor the RW keep.

    Darrell Bevell, being a pragmatist, adjusted play calling – calling more passes in a hope of making big plays that would force the defense to honor the pass. But Seattle couldn’t run plays with long developing routes as our OL was too deficient to provide adequate protection for such plays, and Wilson lacked the mobility to ‘buy’ extra time with his legs.

    It’s ironic I know – but Wilson’s injuries forced us into a pass happy offense.

    • Donovan says:

      I think this is spot on.

    • Sea Mode says:

      Exactly. We have seen so few designed QB keepers this season (for obvious reasons).

      I’m really hoping the knee brace will finally come off in the playoffs and we will surprise an unexpecting defensive coordinator with some stuff they haven’t seen on tape all year: play action keepers, read option keepers, etc. Just keep doing it until you force them to respect it, then exploit the extra advantage when they adjust.

  9. AlaskaHawk says:

    Just for the sake of discussion I’m going to advocate for a different approach. Run first was fine when the Seahawks had a rookie quarterback. But they now have an experienced 20 million dollar a year quarterback who can throw the ball. This team needs to be built around Russell Wilson’s arm first and running second.

    The team didn’t suffer this year just because of the lack of running backs and poor run blocking. The team also suffered from an injured quarterback and lack of pass blocking.

    I think they need to concentrate on players who are good at pass blocking. Finding offensive linemen who can pass block – developing those players. Drawing up more passing plays that use the strength of receivers like Richardson and Graham. Being able to switch plays around until they find a few that work against their opponents defense.

    Stop trying to run at the beginning of the game. It’s a waste of time and leads to three and outs. Use the run as an unexpected weapon.

    Now that doesn’t preclude having a good running back and a good running game. I’m just saying the Seahawks should concentrate on pass blocking and passing plays first. Because they now have a seasoned QB.

    • Sea Mode says:

      That would be one way to do it, but the other way is to know that a good run game is the best pass protection. Defenses can’t pin their ears back and rush the QB if he keeps handing it off the the RB who goes right by them…

      Both strategies are valid and can be well executed, but I think with the personnel the Hawks have drafted, they are pretty much committed to the latter and it would be tough if not impossible to switch gears at this point.

  10. Greg Haugsven says:

    I would like to just add one quality free agent such as a Kevin Zeitler. I think this team lack a leader as well, not just talent. 1 good free agent aquisit ion followed by a draft pick like Bolles to me is what could be needed. Right now the most experienced guy is Britt was hoping has played 3 different positions as many years. I don’t think we need to spend crazy but 1 I believe is what we need.

    • bobbyk says:

      I’d like Zeitler but the only drawback is moving one of those pieces around (Ifedi to RT from RG). I’d certainly be thrilled to get him though and, really, the other three guys would get to stay together. Ideally we could land a quality RT to add to the line.

      • Greg Haugsven says:

        We could move Ifedi back to his normal position, RT. Having that veteran next to him could work wonders for him. He could truly just focus on his assignment. Sometimes I see that they don’t exactly trust the guy next to them so they can sometimes try block there guy and the other guy. Having a veteran like Zeigler in there can help everyone, not just his position.

  11. Volume12 says:

    The run pass ratio is insane. I beleive its something like 60% (pass) to 39% (run). That isn’t PC football. Yes, they’ve had to due to the injuries at RB and sometimes when you play situational football as well as Seattle does, the situation dictates that you have to go away from the run.

    But, it does seem like at times they’ve abandoned the run game. And that probably has hurt the O-line. These guys (run blockers) would much fire off the ball and punch someone in the mouth rather than playing on their heels. That gets them going and puts them in a groove.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’d love to hear a breakdown from PC on why this has been the case. A question I hope he’s asked at the end of the season.

      • Volume12 says:

        That would be a great question. Me and you both hope he’s asked that.

      • C-Dog says:

        I’ve heard him say a number of times that the run game isn’t where they want it to be, and that they are passing more out of necessity. It makes me feel that the don’t have confidence in the runners. How else can this be explained? How to you loose confidence in a running game with an OL coached by Tom Cable?

        • Rob Staton says:

          Dave Wyman also says the RB’s take the responsibility in his opinion. RB is a big need in the off-season IMO.

          • C-Dog says:

            Yeah, I agree with that completely 100%, Rob.

            Speaking of which, Volume brought up some news the other day on the Fournette front, saying that negative word is leaking out that the LSU staff thought he was “saving himself” this season not going all out. I’ve been incredibly lazy looking into this myself. Have you read much about this? If this story gains traction, does increase the chances of him being within striking distance of Seattle’s first pick in your mind?

            • Rob Staton says:

              I doubt it — teams I think will appreciate his situation. The guy is a beast — I watched three LSU games again last night and he just lights up the screen. He is legitimately, IMO, the best player in the draft. Him and Myles Garrett are so good.

              There isn’t another back like Fournette. It would be a dream come true to see him in Seattle. It would need to be the aggressive move to end all aggressive moves though, unfortunately.

      • mishima says:

        Probable failure led to risk aversion, greater dependence on RW/Baldwin/Graham. Sad that 60/40 pass/run is a conservative approach to scheming around the OL/RB failures.

      • LLLOGOSSS says:

        I’m confused by this comment and the sentiment of the article in general. To my eyes the main problem this OL has isn’t that it’s not running enough, it’s that it can’t run-block. We have been getting dominated all year at the LOS, run or pass, but seem to fare better passing the ball in the second half of games, when we’re usually coming from behind.

        Of course this is not Pete Carroll football. He hates it, but has no choice. We need chunk plays and fast scores to overcome deficits this year, and consistently prove inferior running the ball. You can dedicate yourself to futility, sure, but ultimately the goal is to win games or it really would be a lost season. And argument could be made that they would have won more games had they abandoned the run earlier in their defeats and played like the team that scores 28-points in the second half for the entire game.

        Is that what I want the offense to resemble? No. Pete is very much against it as well, hence his reluctance to stray from his approach until its proven each week that he must.

        Rob, you spend a lot of time breaking down tape. I can’t profess any intricate knowledge of our offense other than what I see in the moment.

        But what I see is a team that’s really terrible at getting their RB even back to the line of scrimmage with any kind of hole. A couple plays to Alex Collins late in a pass-heavy game don’t undo that. We’ve seen the brilliance of Rawls this year, when healthy, when he has at least some space, or when he isn’t molested in the backfield.

        Defenses are simply overloading our line, whether it’s run or pass. Being unable to run, however, is more damaging to our offense, because it derails our “schedule,” and eventually proves so futile that opposing defenses can really get after Russell when we are forced to abandon it.

        • Rob Staton says:

          The point is — they’re not pass blocking well either. Had they committed to run — playing to their physical strength more than their technical deficiencies — we might’ve seen gradual improvement, greater confidence and better production.

          I haven’t personally seen teams overloading the line. Quite the opposite actually. Very few eight man boxes, very little focus on the run. Just a lot of creative pass rush. We’ve not been able to force teams into eight man boxes because our run game isn’t a threat. Plus we’re not running.

  12. Steele says:

    I don’t think you can commit to the run without a quality RB, or two. I’m talking a feature back who is a threat. Rawls can’t stay healthy. Collins is a disappointment. Prosise is a third down utility type. CMike was, well, CMike. Troymaine? The cupboard is empty. Nothing much back there behind Russell.

    Basically, yes, they need to get back to a Lynch type smashmouth game that they are built for, that will open up the rest of the offense. They just don’t have the equipment for it right now.

    • Sea Mode says:

      So you in for Fournette then, Steele? AP?

      • Hawk Eye says:

        i think Prosise is more than a 3rd down back.
        he is close to the size of David Johnson and Montgomery in GB (but he looks thinner)
        Health being the big caveat, but I think he did a lot in the short time he was playing.
        And he can be used on screens to slow down the pass rush, Rawls does not seem to catch well for that.
        Just that between him and Rawls, the health is too big of a question mark to count on them for 16 games next year.
        If he could play 16 games as the lead back, I would bet he would have big numbers

        • Rob Staton says:

          I think Prosise is lean. He might be the similar in terms of measuring up but Johnson is a big load and Prosise looks thin as you say. Especially in the upper body and legs. It’s hard to believe Prosise actually plays at 220lbs or that Johnson plays at 224lbs.

  13. Ed says:

    Commit to the run.
    Move back to single back/I formation with the read option 5 times a game.
    Move to a power running philosophy (much simpler).
    Draft players with experience playing the position and not just athletes.

  14. Clayton says:

    Rob – I have a different angle. Back in 2010, before the team traded for Marshawn and the running back was Justin Forsett, the team’s identity then was not a run-first team. Even in that playoff game with the epic beastmode run, it was still a balanced offensive attack. It was only after Tom Cable came in, in 2011, when they started to really pound the ball with Marshawn. That’s when the run-first identity was established. So now, with Marshawn gone, that identity left along with him. Rawls is good but he’s no Marshawn. And so now, with really impossibly big shoes to fill, the team has a really high expectation in its run game that once was its identity.

    Maybe the run-first identity of the team is not founded on Coach’s philosophy but more so on it’s personnel.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Could be true.

      And if that is the case, they need to acquire a RB somehow that will enable them to go back to more of the Marshawn-influenced offense IMO.

      • EranUngar says:

        Or draft better pass blockers and get an offensive line coach that excels at pass protection rather than ZBS run game…

        Whatever the direction – they need to have the whole roster build for it…

        • Rob Staton says:

          If only it was as easy as ‘draft better pass blockers’ though.

          If you’re not picking early in round one, good luck with that.

          • EranUngar says:

            Yes, I know it’s not easy. Finding players with athletic attributes plus polished technique outside the top 16 is practically impossible.

            However, it does seem that the Seahawks do not place a premium on players that exhibit proper and smooth execution of college pass blocking technique (Since it’s the “wrong” technique) and place great premium on highly athletic players exhibiting poorer technique.

            Then, they invest the majority of the time training them to run block in a ZBS system.

            The result can not be better pass blocking…

            • Rob Staton says:

              They don’t focus on players with poorer technique, they merely accept everyone’s technique isn’t very good for the pro’s. Which is accurate.

  15. KingRajesh says:

    It’s easy to commit to the run when you’ve got a decent O-line (Patriots) or a God-tier one (Cowboys), but committing to the run with our guys? Hello 3rd and long (perhaps even 10 or more!), and now you’re really behind schedule, and in a clear passing down where defenders can just tee off on your most expensive investment. It’s not like our guys can run block consistently either, as we’ve seen with Donald blowing up a healthy Rawls for a 7 yard loss.

    Abandoning the run and putting the game on your offensive studs (Russell/Baldwin/Lockett/Graham) was the right call – especially post-injury to Russell Wilson – but the blocking was never there to make it successful. That’s on Cable. He planned on getting to waste half a season just to teach his guys how to block while Russell made people miss, but that didn’t happen this year, and should never have been the plan to begin with.

    What I see with Ifedi is a mauler best suited for a power/man run scheme. I see the same with Britt, with Fant, and to a lesser extent, with Glowinski and Gilliam. These guys are explosive and strong. Cable’s ZBS might be the problem here. Switching to a power/man blocking scheme might suit these guys better.

    • bobbyk says:

      You called the Patriots OL good. I agree.

      But do all of you remember how bad it was last year? There is hope.

      • EranUngar says:

        Bobby, in NE it is all about the OL coach.

        After last year they brought back Dante Scarnecchia from retirement and suddenly that line became really good without new meaningful talent.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t disagree with your take, it’s very fair. But I think if they wanted to see development and growth from this group, a commitment to the run earlier in the season would’ve aided that.

  16. nichansen01 says:

    It’s not a personnel thing, it is coaching thing. These guys don’t even have the fundamentals down.

  17. Frank says:

    Good angle to take on this. What I remember happening in a few games, was the run game getting traction, and then, all of a sudden, just giving up on it. Passing on a few downs then punting, repeatedly, just when the run game had built some momentum.

    That to me, played a larger role in the demise of SEA rushing than any of the backs.

    Rawls to me looked rusty but more than that he just didn’t have anywhere to go. But he never looked like an average back his rookie year.

    Michael OTHO is average, but more explosive than Rawls and was able to do more with less. If you take out the Buffalo outlier, Michael played in 8 games, 4.2 YPC, 464 YRDS, 5 rushing TDs and 1 receiving. If you keep BUF, then 4.0/469/6/1. He did have 7 fumbles. Numbers for the year at that rate would be 968 yards and 12 TDs. He didn’t break a lot of tackles, didn’t initiate contact, but took the ball to the LOS really quickly before the blocking fell apart.

    What I’m getting at it is, I don’t see the need to replace Rawls with someone who takes a lot of cap (AP) or a lot of picks (Fournette). This line needs a cornerstone, right now while we’re still in title mode. Not in 2019 when Fant figures it out. We need a great player to guide this young OL, lead by example and give instruction on the field and in practice. Rawls needs decent blocking, and when gets it, he’ll be fine.

    The best way to fix the run game: Joe Thomas and a new direction on offense (new OC).

    • Rob Staton says:

      People keep bringing up Joe Thomas — but it’s time to accept Cleveland are either unwilling to deal him or they’re asking for too much. Why? Because he’s still in Cleveland.

      For all the talk about him, he hasn’t been moved. And in 2017 he’s a year older. So the asking price has to go down — making it less attractive for Cleveland to actually move him.

      I think we can safely rule that one out.

      And on Rawls — it’s not necessarily about replacing him. It’s about protecting the team — because the one thing Rawls has not been able to do is stay healthy. At all. So if you bank on him in 2017 and it’s more of the same, you’ll be kicking yourself. Adding another stud and at worst having the same kind of one-two punch as the Titans isn’t a bad thing IMO.

    • Trevor says:

      I was one of the biggest proponents for trading for Joe Thomas before the deadline in 2015 when it was rumored they almost traded him to Broncos for a 2nd rounder.

      That ship has sailed they have new management and he is clearly a guy they want to keep as a veteran to mentor and help with the rebuild and who can blame them. I think there is almost zero chance they trade him and to be honest now I hope they keep him and allow him to retire a Brown. If any player deserves to go out on his own terms it is Joe Thomas. The most amazing stat of this generation IMO he has never missed a snap his entire career! Not one despite even tearing a knee ligament.

      As for Rawls he would be the ideal change of speed complimentary Rb getting 6-8 snaps a game. This way he could stay healthy. Clearly not built physically to be a 20 carry + per game guy (very few people on the planet are).

  18. Kenny Sloth says:

    Damnit if Ifedi won’t be one of the best OL in the NFL in coming years I’ll literally eat this comment

  19. EranUngar says:

    A great post Rob.

    I see a clear chain of events that hampered the OL play this year.

    ZBS is notoriously slower to master and takes time and dedication to the running game to get going. Cable’s lines usually start “slow” but get there later in the season. I was on record here predicting a similar effect due to the many new faces on this line.

    However, it all starts last year.

    After losing Lynch and Rawls, the Seahawks were forced to lean on the passing game and to everyone’s surprise it unleashed a very potent passing offense. It elevated Bevell’s position in calling more passing plays.

    After preparing this new line for the season in the usual Cable manner (80% run blocking, 20% pass blocking), the Seahawks plan was to start the season with RW and Rawls leading the running game, using it to help play action passing etc. (I.E. – Seahawks football)

    When RW was injured and turned immobile and Rawls lost for for the 1st half of the season, Cable had to divert from the plan and do a crash course in Pass protection just to keep RW alive. It has effected the growth of this green line. By the time they had their running game components back (RW & Rawls) that line was way behind on the learning curve and we did not see the 2nd half gelling.

    It is a chain reaction. Having to concentrate on protecting the injured Wilson means not enough run blocking progress. No run blocking – no play action passing that was usually 50% of the Seahawks passing plays and a lot of the explosive plays.

    With no play action passing, they look for explosive plays with RW holding the ball and that ends with 3 ARI sacks after RW held the ball 4 seconds or more.

    So yes, I do believe that this line suffered a set back in its training due to the injuries and may just be taking longer to get to where they should be. They still need help (FA) but they may not be the lost case they look to be.

  20. line_hawk says:

    One of the reason they dont run so much is also because the defense is no longer elite. A lot of the games in the last few years, we would play the field position game by repeatedly punting and gaining field position because the defense was stout. That is no longer the case. Offenses have been able to gash our defense with long sustained drives. Plus, we are not getting any turnovers. The defensive numbers are propped up by crushing bad teams; our defense is worse than the numbers this year. We cannot play a conservative game on offence under such circumstances.

    Couple that with the fact that the Oline is below average in run blocking and if you run, you will more often than not get into 3 & 8 type situations. I fully support their decisions to throw more than to be constantly in 3 & longs. On the other hand, I don’t trust them as much to come back from a 14 point deficit in 4th quarter (because the Oline is even worst in pass blocking), so they are proactively trying to throw more often and not get into the hole they cannot climb out of.

    Remember when fans used to complain about all the 3 & longs and not throwing enough. Well, we got our wish. Now, we just need more balance. And we can get there with more experience and a couple of FA veterans.

    • Volume12 says:

      Not running the ball leaves the defense on the field too long. And against good teams as you put it with profilic passing attacks, they’re gonna get burned.

      We’re seeing it with the 3 best defenses IMO. Seattle, Carolina, and Denver. What’s the #1 common denominator? None of those 3 teams are running the ball. You could KC and Arizona in there, maybe even NE, but they all have an impactful running game.

      • Sea Mode says:

        Right on!

      • Trevor says:

        Agree completely Vol I was making the exact same argument. It has also resulted in more injuries to those defenses because of the increased # of snaps.

      • Ground_Hawk says:

        I agree with your stance Vol., and this is why I think Seattle’s biggest needs during the offseason are: DT that can create pressure on those 3rd and longs, a hard-hitting RB to wear defenses down, and a punishing OL/OG to help break down defenses. The Seahawk’s offense is the softest it has been in years, and defenses no longer fear the run game, so they do not respect that aspect of Seattle’s game any more. Maybe with a healthy backfield they can gain some of that respect back, but until the offense can become a threat again with the run game, and help keep the defense fresh throughout the season, there are going to be struggles with this teams performance.

        • Volume12 says:

          I agree with your team needs.

          Seattle needs 1 more playmaker on defense. That’s what Bruce was. This defense was set up for 1 big run stuffer and an interior rusher that can give us 5-7 sacks.

  21. LeoSharp says:

    Pete Carroll has said numerous times that he doesn’t want a run first team but a team that is effective and can lean on either aspect of the offense when needed.

    There have been far too many times they have a string of successful running plays followed by a string of passing plays that effectively kill the drive. It just ruins the rhythm of the offense the running game never looks as cohesive and effective in the following drives.

    These bursts in the running game seem to occur after halftime. Leading me to believe that it’s a mental issue. A boost in confidence from the coaches and some small changes significantly changes the running game. The poor growth in the running game is very much attributed to bevells play calling either by breeding the rhythm of the offense denying the group live reps in games.
    The complex zbs cable teaches is clearly meant to be taught to be run first then let the more nuanced aspects of pass blocking be picked up over the course of the season.

    In the Tampa game they came out saying they were trying to fix the issue in the passing game despite the fact they were running the ball effectively with the read option saying it was a coaching issue with Pete taking the blame like he does. To me it sounds like someone/s isn’t fully on board letting the running game be the leading component in games. If they had they probably would have won with two good drives giving them 10 points.

  22. Trevor says:

    I still think Ifedi has enormous upside and the chance to be a star but the thing that worries me about him in the current system is that his basic technique (stance, foot placement, weight distribution) is much worse now than when he started the year. He is on his toes and always leaning forward. His stance and technique are a mess. Fant is almost as bad and he should have great technique as he was starting from scratch. For me these a clearly coaching issues.

    I keep hearing how college OL have terrible technique and need to be retrained. That is fine but if they are being retrained why is the technique worse than ever.

    Anyways I need to stop watching OL tape because the more I watched the more I get frustrated as a Hawks fan. This group of young guys clearly have a ton of talent they just look lost.

    • Ground_Hawk says:

      I think Ifedi was the type of player Seattle needed to draft last year, and I believe they made the right choice. The Seahawks O-line has been serviceable in recent years, in large part thanks to what Lynch and Wilson were bringing by playing together. This season we have seen what the offense looks like without Lynch and a healthy Wilson, and it has not been pretty. The offense needs work, and I don’t think that there is just one issue that needs to be addressed.

  23. Allen says:

    Reestablishing their identity as a run heavy physical team only works if the defense matches that physical level (2013, 2014) and we can clearly see the defense is not the same and slowly becoming just good not great. That means the days of always be in the game by the end of the first half are gone. The days of waiting until the second half to get the offense rolling is gone. Remember? Marshawn on the sidelines each skittles, puking, girding his loins for most of the first quarter into the second? But then..the third quarter his momentum would start like clockwork and seemingly spring the offense (rushing & passing) back to life.

    Those days are over with the current defense. Seattle needs to be able to put points on the board/explosiveness in the first half since there is no guarantee that the defense can shut anyone down when counted on. That is what Sherman knows and why he’s acting like such a clown. He thinks the window in closing fast on their chances. He may be right but if the offense develops into the highly explosive offense we saw last year and at a few points this year it will take the pressure off the defense and put it where it should be. On your franchise quarterback, Russell.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’m not sure, I think the offense righting itself should help the defends greatly. Everything in Seattle connects together.

    • C-Dog says:

      Carroll has always coached teams with a commitment to the run game. Why? Because as a defensive minded coach, he knows a productive run game mixed with play action and an explosive pass game keeps his defense fresh. This year, going back to the Falcons, at Arizona, etc the defense has been on the field way too long, and I think we are seeing what the effects of that are at this season’s end. They are a bit gassed.

      I think that’s why we’ve seen Richard Sherman kinda blow his mind a bit. I think there are likely many players on that side of the ball, veteran ones who have been already during the glory years, that are probably tired of seeing the 60 to 40 pass run ratio, seeing the penalties, false starts, the sacks, the 3 and outs and the INTs that are putting them back out on the field, and Sherman is the voice of that frustration. Sherman is many things, but a clown he is not. He’s being very deliberate with this. I think he’s likely sending a message saying, “we aren’t cool with this,” and I would expect that JS is going to make it THE MISSION of this next off season to get that running game back on track, probably starting with getting a bonafide work horse back like #24 was.

      • Allen says:

        Has Pete Carrol ever made you think he does not value his players opinion? Has Pete ever gave off the vibe that his door is not open to players if they have an issue with anything? The answer is no. Sherman choosing not to use his available channels to make his displeasure known was extremely immature. So you are right, he is not a clown, he is acting like a 13 year old with no self control or ability to thing past actions led by feelings.

        • Volume12 says:

          Its a lose-lose situation.

          These guys don’t say anything and its ‘what was the point of that?’

          He says TOO much people get offended that their favorite players have an opinion they don’t agree with. Let’s get off our high horse as fans.

        • C-Dog says:

          There’s been some very odd stuff coming out of Sherman this year, for sure. From the Atlanta game antics, the weird stare down he gave Rex Ryan during the Bills game, the antics during the Rams game, the stuff with Jim Moore,and very recently the Kumbya comments he made about Pete Carroll the other day. Much of this I personally find quite unsettling, but I also know that this is a very smart calculated individual who is doing all this deliberately.

          Maybe it’s just him, he’s tired off the offense, possibly the defensive play calling as well, maybe he’s tired of Pete, and wants out. But the thing is, I think he has always been one of Pete’s chief lieutenants, and in that, I can understand the frustration more if I look at the fact this team has not been able to play offense the way Pete has always desired it to be, and it’s effecting what they want to do defensively. There could b a sense of betrayal to the core principles Pete has preached,and these guys bought into whole heartedly. The pass run ratio is off and the defense has been on the field much more than it ever has.

          My hunch is that Sherman, out of sheer emotional frustration, wanted to create a spark, and by being the proud individual he is, doubled down in the media, not wanting to apologize, that not mixing well with the head coach, then still refusing to back down on his position, we find ourselves here, in this very awkward weird place that hopefully gets resolved. I think there’s a big chance there’s been a growing frustration with the defenders, and Sherman decided to take it on himself, and kinda be the villain. Being very much a team guy, this would make sense. Not saying it’s right, but I think that might well be going on. The alternative is that it’s just him, and he’s tired of the Pete Carroll way, and wants out, but I still don’t think that’s the case, it would be a stunner if it was.

  24. Sea Mode says:

    PC talking about the playoff bye week, from seahawks.com:

    β€œIt’s valuable,” Carroll said of a bye. β€œNumbers show that it’s valuable. That doesn’t mean you can’t do a lot of damage in the playoffs without it, but it is valuable. The numbers really support that.”

    Since the league expanded its playoff format to include 12 teams in 1990, 18 of 26 Super Bowl winners have been either a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed, and the past three Super Bowls have featured the No. 1 seeds from both conferences.

    Go Hawks and Saints!

  25. Eric says:

    Rob!
    Of all your freaking AMAZING articles, this hit all the points for being FREAKING AMAZING (for me)!!! My father and I have been saying many of the same things about how we have abandoned the run when running the ball is fundamental to learning how to block and be aggressive. Furthermore, developing the talent, although more painful and doesn’t inspire hope for the future like signing a linemen entering or exiting their prime. The Seahawks aren’t going to leverage the future for right now. “Extending the Super Bowl Window” isn’t about getting a few more experienced and expensive players, but developing the talent that you have. When you don’t develop the talent you have, you become Cleveland, they can’t even buy good players because they are so bad. And, the good players are there because they had so much money thrown at them that they don’t want to leave for a greater likelihood of being cut at the end of their contract.
    Thanks for all your articles Rob! Every article is like another present on Christmas for a draft and org dev geek.

  26. Dingbatman says:

    And the plan, we all believed, was to create an O-line that could grow together and be good for years at an inexpensive price.

    Is this even possible? The design seems to be to fill the line with rookie contracts and bottom of the barrel veterans sprinkled in. Rookie contracts are cheap. The problem comes with the second contract. Second contracts are expensive. It is as simple as that.

    Unger,Okung, Giacomini, Carpenter and Sweezy all “grew” together. And all of them were allowed to move on because they were no longer “inexpensive”.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think there are reasons they moved on though. In Okung’s case, it was partly a desire to play in a different scheme. Seattle probably didn’t want to commit nearly $10m to him considering his injury history. Carp and Sweezy ended up getting contract not too far away from Bennett and Avril (a bit surprising) so not much you can do there. Breno also got a nice deal in New York. And all of these guys had the misfortune of being FA’s at a time when Seattle had to pay Wilson, Sherman, Thomas etc.

      Let’s not forget — they let Bennett test FA too. He could’ve been too expensive too. So it’s judging each case on its merit. Unfortunately for these OL guys, other teams priced Seattle out. Might happen with this group too — or they might prove to be worth major investment.

      • Dingbatman says:

        That’s the point. “Inexpensive” and “good for years” tend to cancel each other out. Eventually you have to pay second contract money.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Well, they have control over Ifedi for another 3-4 years depending on if they take up his option. Gilliam for one more year, Glow for two. Fant for at least three. So that’s a few years yet.

  27. Fountaindale says:

    I absolutely agree with the theme of the article. It was highlighted against Arizona. In the second half we came out with a scoring drive made possible by several well blocked, strong runs by Collins. The next possession was a failed drive that featured exactly zero runs. How do the O-line or the backs get into a rhythm? The players drafted, especially Ifedi, were intended to be run blocking maulers. How does it make sense to call a game that features your players weaknesses?

  28. vrtkolman says:

    Jordan Schultz is reporting that Bennett agreed to a 3 year extension. That’s one piece of the off season already done. Keep on doing your thing Mike!

  29. Trevor says:

    I love that they extended and locked up Bennett! Was saying last week the last time we won the SB we locked up Avril and KJ right before the playoffs.

    I would not be shocked to see Kam extended before playoffs as well.

  30. EranUngar says:

    Terms of #Seahawks 3-year extension w/Michael Bennett: $31.5M, 17.5 guarantees/bonuses. Bennett will earn 16M in 2017, 19M by March of 2018.

    if i read this right, the cap hit in 2017 is an extra 3M, (16M-7.5M= 8.5M signing bonus / 3 years). Not too bad.

  31. JT says:

    Bennett’s deal is a bargain if he can maintain his level of play for another couple years, especially with the rapidly rising salary cap.

    Von Miller – $19.1 million APY
    Mo Wilkerson – $17.2 million APY
    Olivier Vernon – $17.0 million APY
    Justin Houston – $16.8 million APY
    JJ Watt – $16.7 million APY
    Robert Quinn – $14.3 million APY

    Michael Bennett is a better football player than half those guys – $10.5 million APY

  32. Ed says:

    Now extend Avril and Kam, get one FA OL (Kalil) DL (Campbell) and RB (Lacy) and that makes the draft wideopen to trade back and draft BPA at (OL/DL/RB/S).

    • Southpaw360 says:

      Ed, I think you got this nailed. I would take all those players in a heartbeat to allow the drafting of BPA. I wonder what the values would look like. 8 million a year for Kalil? 8-10 million a year for Campbell? League minimum for Lacy (I doubt that) who know? I like your thoughts though!

      • Hawk Eye says:

        $8 mil a year for Kalil? Yikes!
        He has been pretty bad, not even JAG
        he was a high draft pick, but after a while, it just means he is not what they hoped for, not potential pro bowler
        I think Campbell goes for way over $10M per year if he leaves Az,
        Hard to see Hawks getting him.
        Lacy? I would take him for under $3 m for 1 year. Just hope he, Rawls and Prosise are not hurt at the same time though…..

    • Kyle says:

      Pass on the lacy train

      • Ed says:

        Why? It wouldn’t cost much. He is the bruiser the Hawks need. He has shown he can play in the league, just needs the right motivation (like Lynch in Buff). Think it would be a win win. If he plays hard, got a top back. If he doesn’t, cut him.

        • Logan Lynch says:

          Just throwing my 2 cents in, but I think Lacy will ask for more money than SEA would be willing to give. And really, I don’t think he’s a fit for what we want to run. One of the reasons why Lynch was so successful was his lateral quickness and ability to make guys miss along with his ability to run them over. Lacy is more of a straight line bruiser, who is also no less injury prone than what we currently have.

          Also, his lack of motivation is totally different from Lynch. Marshawn always kept himself in shape which is something Lacy hasn’t proven he can do the last 2 seasons. I live in WI (unfortunately for my Seahawks fandom, I know), so I’ve seen this first hand. My guess is Lacy stays with GB on a “prove-it” deal.

          If we want to take a stab at a bruising back, we might as well go after LeGarrette Blount, who has been much more effective than Lacy (and no, I don’t think we should go after Blount either).

    • bobbyk says:

      Avril still has a couple of years left on his contract.

  33. bobbyk says:

    Almost every player who had a good rookie season improves in year two. Most rookie DTs don’t do much and vastly improve in their sophomore season. That being said, we know we’ve got three studs in Clark, Bennett, and Avril. We need one more. What are the odds Reed can provide legit push up the middle or that Jefferson can be that guy on third downs. The defense can/will be scary good on 3rd and 8.

    Can Reed or Jefferson be that pass rush guy, too? I love Reed, but can he take his game to a much higher level or will he simply be a stud run stuffer who leaves the field in pass rushing situations?

    Jefferson was pretty much drafted with the intention he’d mainly be an interior pass rusher. Can he turn into what they hoped he’d be? We probably won’t know until next season. He hasn’t exactly been an ironman through his career though if you go back to Maryland.

    • Hawk Eye says:

      I doubt Reed can be the penetrating, disturbing type of lineman they really need.
      He may push the guard into the RB or QB, but I doubt he whips past the guard for a TFL
      I think we need a quick 3T who can cause disturbance in the back field and get interior pressure.
      FA is out as those guys get top $$, so need to draft one and get lucky

      I always wondered if they can play Bennett at 3T to start the game instead of DE, and play Clark and Avril at DE
      Bennett is about the same size as Aaron Donald and he plays there on pass rush downs

      • C-Dog says:

        I disagree and think Reed had the upside to be a 3 down DT. I think he’s done some alright stuff there this year for a rookie who was never asked to do that in the Bama scheme in college. Kris Richard just talked the other day about his ability to get upfield and effect the QB, nad he should grow much with that. He’s not going to be twitchy Aaron Donald or Geno Atkins, those guys are tough to find, but I think he could be Randy Starks or possibly something close to Kawann Short. 33 tackles 2 sacks and a number of QB hurries are decent numbers for a rookie DT.

        • Hawk Eye says:

          not sure he has the stamina to play 3 downs
          he seems to wear down and he does not even play 50% of the downs
          a lot of bigger guys can’t play more than 50% of the downs, so they take them out on pass rush where they have someone better
          I think it is more of a question of if he can penetrate on 1st and 2nd down enough to be disruptive on a consistent basis.

          • C-Dog says:

            He currently has been playing more snaps than any other of the DTs, and he bounces back and fourth between nose and 3 tech. Again, I think he’s showing pretty positive signs as a rookie.

            • Hawk Eye says:

              not complaining about him. I think he is solid.
              Doubt he will ever be spectacular, but solid and steady for a DT is good also.
              But having someone who can be spectacular sometimes is nice too

    • Volume12 says:

      I think they wanted DE Ronald Blair. He came off the board, they moved up because they probably knew a run was coming at that position.

  34. Volume12 says:

    I hope the fans that doubted JS could work the cap like no one else, takes a step back and realizes what he just did.

    Tied up one of the top 5 D-lineman in the entire NFL for $10 mil? Peanuts man.

  35. Glad to see they have Bennett sewed up for at least three years , with all the other core players. Now is the time to make this team into something special again. The window of opportunity is short, 4 years. We all know Wilson’s shelf life will not be as long as Brady’s or Rodgers. Old man time plays no favorites. Each year now RW will lose a little speed and quickness, and at some point he will be mostly confined to the pocket and his height will catch up with him. Lets hope the new year brings a far better o line, a Gurley type running back, and some new Dick Labeau style defensive schemes, to try at least to confuse opposing qb’s.

  36. STTBM says:

    Sorry, but I’m not blind; when 5 linemen can’t block 3 and backs are hammered behind the line Time after time, it’s not the backs failing to hit a non-existent hole, it’s not because if a lack of commitment to the run–it’s the line. They aren’t playing well, and it’s not just one thing; it’s repeated and continual failure to know the assignment or make reads and adjust, it’s pre-snap penalties, it’s constant failure to block one on one or even five on three.

    The simplest answer is usually right–no need to split hairs or look for more complex reasons when the main failure is so obvious. The line stinks, and only Britt is playing at an NFL starter level.

    My opinion is the reasons for this are manifold; Cables tweaks to scheme have fallen flat this year, and he’s failed to adjust to the NFL’s rule changes. Fant isn’t ready to play, and Sowell and Gilliam are third string talents at best. Ifedi should have been put at RT and is not adapting to G well, and Glowinsky is a worse player with the added weight and is only a pulling G in the NFL.

    Running into a brick wall endlessly WAS tried for weeks this year–and all it led to was punts. Bevell should get a medal for making chicken salad out of chicken poop, not castigated for using our offenses strengths. This line was never going to work.

    Letting guys like Fant, Sowell/Gilliam start next year despite being terrible and leaving Ifedi at ah when he is a natural T and leaving Glow fat and at LG despite his inability to anchor rather than bringing in a competent starting G and possibly a T in the hope they will grow together is insanity.

    Wilson has been utterly destroyed all season by injuries. Letting the same thing happen next year would be a crime. Risking Wilson’s longterm health in the blind hope the line that has gotten worse rather than improving would be suicide.

    I see nothing wrong with bringing in a solid player or two under 30 who can start for 3+ years while letting our young guys learn on the bench until they prove they are not only ready to start, but better than the guy in front of them. That’s Always Compete.

    Sign Zeitler and another guy who isn’t Hot Crap like Webb and Sowell, move Ifedi to RT, dump Sowell and either demote or drop Gilliam, and open the competition at LT and LG with the FA’s and Fant/Odhiambo/Glowinsky.

    This isn’t that complicated; just pay for performance rather than pick though the trash looking for a Monet. And quit shifting blame away from the Elephant in the room.

    • Rob Staton says:

      How come Collins managed to get some yards then?

      I’m not saying the O-line isn’t to blame. I just think it’s a multi-faceted issue. Not dependent on one thing. I think that’s Dave Wyman’s point too. If people want to focus on the OL personnel or the coaching, I understand that. But it might not be the only problem.

      • STTBM says:

        Collins has zero respect in this league, and Seattle was down by multiple scores; AZ was no longer playing aggressive D and was not worried about our rookie who runs a 4.7 or worse could beat them regularly. You notice Seattle didn’t keep running; a clear enough sign even they don’t trust the line or Collins.

        Of course it’s multifaceted; but Rawls et al could be 1,000 yard backs with the top 20 Olines; so the backs aren’t the main problem–only a minor , secondary issue.

        Ignoring the line and blaming other position groups is what got us to this point; it must stop–Now!