Why Michael Bennett is a star, OL issues overblown

October 3rd, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

This was a scary sight on Sunday

For all the attention given to the Percy Harvin trade, Michael Bennett might be Seattle’s best acquisition this year.

And keeping him for future seasons will be a crucial priority for continued success.

Greg Bedard at MMQB.si.com has tallied together the most effective pass rushers in the NFL through four weeks.

Bennett is at #1, ahead of Aldon Smith and current sack-leaders Justin Houston and Robert Mathis. He’s at #1 despite missing most of the Houston game through injury.

According to Bedard’s stats, Bennett has drawn 12 quarterback hurries, hit the passer six times and registered 2.5 sacks. This production has come from just 102 snaps. In comparison, Houston’s sacks for Kansas City have come from 26 more plays. His partner Tamba Hali has taken 150 snaps so far.

Simply put, Bennett is making the most of his time on the field.

We don’t really need a graph and a bunch of statistics to determine Bennett is playing well. He jumps off the screen. He’s consistently dominating. Despite the re-introduction of Cliff Avril and Chris Clemons, he’s still taking snaps at the LEO and mixing in some interior rushes on third down. Bennett’s looked effective rushing all angles and he’s opened up the defense to even more creative looks.

The Seahawks have been crying out for a guy who can just create havoc from multiple positions on the d-line. Heck, they’ve been crying out for someone not named Chris Clemons to come to the party. They struck gold getting Bennett to Seattle.

Now they have to keep him.

It’s almost certain that Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas will receive new contracts at the end of the year. For me, Bennett has to be an equal priority. He’s not one of the original guys, but already he’s become too important to lose. Barring an injury setback (and they dodged a bullet last week) or dramatic loss of form, he should be considered one of Seattle’s keepers.

Sure, he’s on a prove-it deal similar to Avril. Yet this isn’t a one-year wonder we’re talking about. Bennett’s been playing at or around this level ever since he was cut by the Seahawks as a rookie.

Michael Bennett is without doubt one of the stars in Seattle’s defense. As vital as Bobby Wagner, Sherman and Thomas.

They have to keep him. Even if it means having to cut a few of the other well paid veterans to get there. If you can keep Sherman, Thomas and Bennett by cutting Brandon Mebane, Sidney Rice and maybe even Clemons or Avril — it’s something you simply have to consider.

There are going to be some really tough decisions to make for this front office over the next couple of years. But it’s a good sign when you’re worrying about who to keep.

Bedard also discussed how the offensive lines rank. It’s no big surprise to see Seattle at #31. It’s not just the loss of Russell Okung, Max Unger and Breno Giacomini. You’ve also moved your starting left guard to tackle. Only J.R. Sweezy remains in his intended position at this stage and they’re starting a 7th round rookie at right tackle.

They’ve also faced three of the best pass rushing teams in the league — Carolina, Houston (both on the road) and San Francisco. According to Bedard, the Texans are the #1 pass rushing unit in the league (no surprise — they’re well coached with stud players). The 49ers are ranked at #4 with Carolina at #7.

Even the Jaguars are just below average at #22.

All things considered you could argue it’s a shocker that Seattle has managed to avoid being ranked as the worst performing offensive line in the league (that honour goes to Philadelphia).

The point is, I wouldn’t panic too much about this unit. Not yet, anyway. We wouldn’t declare Seattle’s passing game in crisis if Russell Wilson missed two weeks. Neither would we criticise the secondary too much if two members of the Legion of Boom got injured and it led to a noticeable drop in performance.

In fact there are trends within Bedard’s line rankings. Houston are also struggling (#28) and are also missing their starting left tackle. The Eagles and Seattle both use mobile, scrambling quarterbacks — that’ll naturally lead to more sacks. On the other hand, traditional quick-fire passing teams like Denver (#1), Detroit (#2) and San Diego (#4) all rank well. This despite the fact the Broncos are missing Ryan Clady and nobody would call the offensive lines in Detroit or San Diego ‘elite’.

Peyton Manning, Matt Stafford and Philip Rivers are drop-back-and-throw passers. The Seahawks aren’t playing it that way. You’re not going to see any of that trio running for big gains, avoiding pressure and sprinting for key first downs like we saw on Sunday.

They’ll also concede less sacks. That’s just the way it is.

I suspect Seattle will nearly always be ranked near the bottom of this list. It’s all part of being “the best scrambling team in the league” (Pete Carroll’s words).

That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. I’m just pointing out there’s also room for perspective.

88 Responses to “Why Michael Bennett is a star, OL issues overblown”

  1. The Ancient Mariner says:

    Minor point: they’re starting a seventh-rounder at RT. I think you got Bowie and Bailey mixed up.

  2. The Ancient Mariner says:

    Dratted enter key . . . I meant to say, I completely agree with you, and esp. about Bennett. Not sure if it’s Clem you cut to keep him, or Red, or Bane, or two of the three — it may depend on whether they think Jesse Williams and/or Jordan Hill can stay healthy and contribute — but IMHO, he’s already the single best and most-important player on that defensive line.

  3. James says:

    A little more than a year ago, the Seahawks were in dire need of a franchise QB and a Pro Bowl pass-rushing DT. A third round draft pick and a middling free agent acquisition later, and here they are! Since Bennett is outplaying even Geno Atkins, you absolutely re-sign him, even if it means releasing a starter or two. Pete’s defense is the perfect one to utilize his skills, since the Hawks can completely shut down the running game while playing a 275# DT. I believe Michael has a shoulder that might need to be cleaned up in the off-season, but that he should be fine by next August.

  4. Steve-O says:

    I’m not in a panic about the offensive line. Yes, they looked terrible against Houston and they’ve looked pretty spotty at times against the other opponents, even before the injuries. Pete/Tom/etc. are doing the best they can with limited options, I guess. The thing that pains me is thinking about the *opportunity cost.* Think of how fantastic RW would look with a really good offensive line, instead of what he has this year. It hurts to think about how good this team could look if RW had the protection that Manning has in Denver.

    • Rob Staton says:

      But that’s the point I’m making really… Denver’s protection looks better in the stat column because of the style of quarterback and style of passing game. Put Denver’s line, minus the injured Clady, in Seattle — I don’t think much changes in fairness.

      • glor says:

        “Put Denver’s line, minus the injured Clady, in Seattle — I don’t think much changes in fairness.”

        I would have to agree and disagree with this. Peyton gets the ball out very very quickly, they have routes designed for that, and he is a tall enough QB to be able to do it on a 3 step drop. However, that line isn’t getting blown up like ours has been over the course of the year. We use our scrambles to allow Russell to see, they aren’t supposed to be with the soul purpose of allowing him to survive. We’ve been concerned with the online play since game 1, and now it is 100x worse. If we lose on Sunday this week, I can almost certain it is going to be 100% on the oline and the lack of time Russell is going to have making his reads, and the lack of time the receivers will have getting open

  5. AlaskaHawk says:

    So we can focus on offensive linemen, tight ends, and wide receivers in next years draft?

    Love the way Bennett is playing. The one year contracts really give players an incentive to perform.

  6. MarkVI says:

    I just don’t get why, if denver and Detroit’s offensive lines aren’t elite, then why can’t Seattle seem to successfully execute a traditional drop back and throw play with adequate protection when we want? It would be nice.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Lots of reasons I guess. Different style of quarterbacks, passing-centric offenses vs a run-centric offense, predication on quick timing passes compared to long developing routes and a heavy dose of play action. There are more.

      • glor says:

        then do we blame Bevell for not putting the quick timing passes in the playbook? Or is it that Russell doesn’t have the ability to execute the quick timing passes?

        • Kenny Sloth says:

          Hey, yeah. Good point. Where’s the quick timing passes.
          Yeah I know…. Run game blah blah explosive plays blah blah… but where’s the intermediate and short passing game?

          Just because we have a commitment to something doesn’t mean we can’t have some relative balance.

          That would totally slow down the pass rush.
          also.
          How many screens have we run this year?

          • Zack says:

            We can’t run a screen play because the rt and lt are so freaking bad that the d end will intercept the pass because he’s already 6 yards into the back field by the time the screen develops. I don’t by “this o line isn’t that bad” for a second. They’re terrible right now. The best scrambling team in the nfl is born out of necessity, not desire to do so.

            • Rob Staton says:

              In fairness, Pete Carroll has expressed his desire during interview this year about being the best scrambling team in the league. And that was before the cluster of injuries to the line.

        • Phil says:

          Glor – how do you know that “quick timing passes” are not in the playbook? Do you think we have seen every play that is in the playbook?

          No, we don’t blame Bevell or conclude that RW can’t throw quick timing passes — last time I checked the Seahawks were 4 – 0 for the first time in their history, and they had a 2 game lead in their division. Sure, we all wish that RW wasn’t taking some of the hits he has experienced so far this year, but I don’t think we need to revert to a short passing offense just to take the pressure off RW. If we were to make such a change, we would be moving away from what I believe RW’s strengths are — his ability to stretch a play out until something big develops. Kind of like Big Ben used to do with the Steelers, only he did it because of his size while RW does it via his elusiveness.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      3 top ten defenses.

      • Miles says:

        The O-line has not played remarkably this year. While the O-line struggled against the Texans, there were a few plays, particularly on the 99-yard drive, where the O-line did a very good job opening up holes. Some of the line schemes on that drive were simply genius in opening up holes on the Texans D-line, and our O-line did a very good job of executing them.

        An article from Field Gulls about the O-line play during that drive:

        http://www.fieldgulls.com/football-breakdowns/2013/10/4/4801346/seahawks-replay-booth-tom-cable-marshawn-lynch

        It’s easy to say that the Seahawks O-line is playing so much worse than last year. But it’s easy to say that because in four games, we have probably played the top three front sevens in all the NFL. Of course those defenses are going to make our O-line look bad. The crazy thing is despite those unfavorable match-ups, the Seahawks have still managed 4-0. It’s quite amazing.

        Not to mention we’re looking at a small sample size here. The pay of the offensive line will fluctuate over the course of the season, but by the end of the regular season I’m sure we’ll be looking at a unit that is serviceable and it won’t be such a big concern.

  7. Colin says:

    Clemons and Mebane have no dead money owed if cut prior to 2014 opener. That is big.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Very big. And while ideally you’d keep both, this is going to be a very sensitive few years with some big decisions.

      • Colin says:

        If Clemons puts up another good year, it’s going to be really hard to say goodbye to him, but it might have to happen anyway.

        • Michael says:

          Agreed. I think Clemons is the first cut you make. He will be 32 this month, and we all know how much Pete values youth. I am really curious if any cuts can be avoided by the good ‘ol fashioned “restructure”. Not that Clemons couldn’t find another job, but where are the two places you know FOR SURE that you will fit schematically? Seattle and Jacksonville. It’s not unreasonable to think Clemons might take a little less to stay here.

      • Brian says:

        Is it possible we could make a trade happen with clem or mebane, instead of simply cutting one of them?

  8. Colin says:

    Another thing we must remember is that Tom Cable coached lines have traditionally given up lots of QB hits in exchange for stellar run blocking. They are a well coached unit, and it shouldn’t be a huge surprise they have struggled against some of the finer defensive lines. It would be more of a concern if we had to rely on drop back passing ala Arizona.

  9. kyle says:

    I think one thing that is lost from this is that even when you measure our line in terms of run blocking it sucks, and ranks in the bottom half of the league in this category. It has definitely taken a step back this year for whatever reason even before the injuries. I do have confidence that it’s going to get better as we get people healthy again and get into the swing of things. We only have a single game to judge by fairly when everyone was healthy, so I don’t know that we can make draft conclusions based on that yet.

    I do agree that Bennett is a must sign in next year’s off-season.

    • Colin says:

      kyle, how does a run blocking line “suck”, when it was #2 in the NFL in rush yards a year ago, and is currently #5? Did you mean pass blocking?

      • kyle says:

        According to PFF we are 29th in run blocking, from my review of the all 22 film, it really is that bad. We have a lot of rushing yards because Lynch has broken off some very big runs, and Wilson has done some fine scrambling.

        It’s very different from last year where we got our rushing yards in 4-8 yard chunks which was reflective of how good the O-line was. This year those rushes are rare and it is more often feast or famine.

        • Colin says:

          Sorry, but bad run blocking lines don’t put up the numbers Seattle has consistently done for almost the last 2 calendar years. Physically, Seattle is not that gifted right now without Unger and Okung, but the idea that they suck is just laughable.

          • kyle says:

            Do not get me wrong, they were above average last year at run blocking. This year they are markedly different. The tape and the numbers do not lie

            • Kenny Sloth says:

              Just tape. Numbers lie regularly. He’s using lying numbers in his conjecture.

              • Kyle says:

                PFF numbers are based on the tape so yeah…

                • JW says:

                  There’s a segment of the community here who will always and forever dismiss PFF numbers simply because it doesn’t fit what they already believe, and they’ll cling to any data point in order to support that dismissal.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    Surely if there’s data to support that stance, it’s a fair position to take?

                    I haven’t got a great deal of time for the approach PFF use, considering it doesn’t take into account opponent. And ranking Earl Thomas as one of the worst starting safety’s in the league last year pretty much sums up why I personally have a level of distrust with the service.

                  • kyle says:

                    I don’t rely exclusively on the PFF numbers, but I find them a convenient guide to help me narrow in on things to watch for on tape as I do not have the time to watch every snap for every player every week. I have watched just about every snap of every player on the Seahawks O-line in the first four weeks and their numbers on this topic are confirmed by what you see in film.

                  • Kenny Sloth says:

                    I trust nothing but my eyes.

                    I’ll take some advice for things to watch, but if I see something ontape I stick to it.
                    Was never a fan of Sharif Floyd last year. Rob had him in the top five and I had him at the top of round 2. Didn’t see him as a fit in a 4-3 defense. Short arms. Slow feet.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    I had him in the top five of my mock drafts, I had him as a late first or early second round pick. And he is a fit in the 4-3, from what I’ve seen so far he’s looked pretty sharp for Minnesota.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        Great runners put up great numbers regardless. Look at AP.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      We’ve faced three top 10 defenses so far.

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        I would agree that Marshawn Lynch busting tackles makes our line look good. We have too many plays that are stopped behind the line of scrimmage. I don’t know whether the stats would back me up, just my churning gut telling me that for three quarters last week.

  10. Woods says:

    I think it makes it hard to judge really how good the Oline is for Denver when they haven’t faced the calibur of a defense like ours. They do have houston, but with that traditional drop and pass QB style + pretty mediocre defenses so far Id hope he has all the time in the world to throw… But throw our defense at him I think would be Drop pass + Seattle defense = easier target for us to sack and a field day with it to.. Also our 2ndary would have Welker and Decker shutdown (and welker really hasn’t been impressive this year he’s looked like rice with a lot of dropped catches and what not)

    • Woods says:

      Also with the broncos… Moffitt I wish we would have kept him

      • Michael says:

        I have to disagree with the idea that Welker would be “shut down” by our secondary. In my mind, Welker is exactly the type of receiver the LOB has struggled against, and that was no more evident than last season when he got us for 10 catches, 138 yards, and 1 TD. Sherman and Browner simply aren’t built to handle guys like Welker, and would have their hands full worrying about Thomas and Decker on the outside anyway. I would hope that a finally healthy Thurmond would make a world of difference, but I don’t think we can make such claims until we see it happen.

        • Glor says:

          Agreed, Welker and Manning would shred our LB’s (as they did in the one drive Manning played against us in preseason)

  11. kyle says:

    I have done some scenario projections for this coming off-season in regards to free agents and who we sign versus who we cut. What I’ve come up with is that we will more than likely trade both Rice and Avril for draft picks to clear enough CAP which will allow us to sign Sherman, Thomas and Bennett to big-time deals.

    I believe Rice is seen as a transition signing so that while looking for our franchise QB we have a legitimate weapon as a #1 receiver not someone that is developing like Tate. Now that we have our guy and Tate has developed and progressed he is expendable. I also believe that Avril is the guy we move on from even though he’s younger than Clemons, because he does not provide the same every down capability against the run.

    I believe this causes our draft priority next year to be the following:

    Leo type DE, R1-2 – the problem w/ round 1 here is how to get them on the field. It’s not out of the question to use them like we use avril, but we need to develop a backup long term Leo, still not sure that person is Irvin

    Big long 3-tech DT, R2-4 – there should be room to get a highly rated 3-tech on the field if one is taken early or make it a competition between Williams, hill and whomever

    Guard/tackle depth OL, R2-4 – the problem with drafting somebody too high is that okung, carpenter, unger and sweezy will be incumbent starters. Maybe a later round RT prospect to compete w/ Bowie. So much depends on how these guys finish. But if we fall short because of this unit, a guard or tackle may get picked early.

    #1 WR , R1-2 – with moving on from Rice, taking a WR in round 1 seems most likely, to play opposite Tate. I don’t think we wait until round 4 this draft

    TE, R3-5 – Kellen Davis is crap, I have to believe we draft someone to be a more complete 3rd TE, too bad we cut McGrath he was potentially that guy for us

    • Rob Staton says:

      Nice write-up Kyle. Some fair and legit points there.

    • Cameron says:

      Don’t forget about Anthony McCoy. I disagree about drafting D-line early as I think we’ll be able to find a cheap/young Mebane replacement fairly easily later on. I think the decision making process on who to keep will come down in part on the talent pool available in the draft.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        Jordan Hill played at 1 the entire time he was at Penn State, I think.
        And he’s been taking snaps there this year. He’s coming back soon. If not this week, I think.

        If Jesse Williams can get some meat on his bones we could see a Big Red replacement. Course. That’s how it’s looked to me.

      • Kyle says:

        Guys like mebane are some of the most difficult to find. Mebane is a guy you need to watch on film to really understand how valuable he is

        • Dtrain says:

          Agreed. Mebane is really, really good. He is atop 5 1-tech in this league and everyone in the NFL knows it. While I say we continue to look for and develop his eventual replacement, I also would keep him paid and happy as long as he is healthy. Big time 1-techs are tough to find and you don’t know how hard it is stopping the run until you don’t have one.

          • Rob Staton says:

            I’d argue it’s tougher to find a shutdown corner, a franchise quarterback and a great pass rusher to be fair.

            And keeping all three probably means losing a good one tech. It’s all about priorities.

            • Colin says:

              The fact that people would contemplate losing Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman or Michael Bennett over Brandon Mebane is mind boggling. Does anyone remember how his play slipped last season? Or is not convenient to look big picture, much like the offensive line?

              Yes, he is a very good 1 tech, but he offers ZILCH as a pass rusher. I think he’s more replaceable than people are giving credit for.

    • Turp says:

      I think TE will be valued much higher. R1-R3.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        It’s all about who’s where. If Colt Lyerla drops to the second. Snatch that guy up.
        If they like a guy in the sixth, they’ll wait until their original 32nd pick (fingers crossed) of the fifth round.
        They aren’t afraid to double dip, either.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      I’ll show you a big long 3 tech (;

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      What do expect is to happen with Tate? If Rice is sent packing he’ll be important to keep on. He’d be the only guy that can legitimately win 1-1 situations consistently.

      As mentioned above, do you see McCoy as a serviceable 3rd TE? I would be happy with him there, but would also love to see a TE late for competition, or if someone like Colt Lyerla falls to us because of off-field concerns, I’d love him in the second.

      Do you think we’d target anyone in particular in Free Agency?

      • Kyle says:

        With the Avril and rice trade we could sign Tate as well. McCoy will be a FA next year and I don’t see us keeping him as Willson has shown he can be our move TE

        • AlaskaHawk says:

          I was rooting for Fells preseason because he was a big 280 pound TE that would be good at run blocking. Apparently he wasn’t good enough to make the team. It is hard to find a good TE, and they have gotten specialized by size and abilities. We just need a big guy that can catch quick passes and block.

    • Michael says:

      I have a hard time picturing anyone trading for Sidney Rice. He will be 28 next season, and barring a pay cut is due for a $9.7MM cap hit in 2014 followed by $10.2MM in 2015. Throw in his injury history and the fact that everyone will know that we “need” to dump his salary, and that adds up to a pretty tepid market. Count me in to be pleasantly surprised, but I’m not gonna hold my breath.

      Also I think Clemons getting cut is much more likely than trading away Avril. (I assume doing both would be quite foolish)

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        I think either is possible, but I agree that Clemons getting cut seems more likely. Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t they made about the same amount? And I haven’t really seen much left in the tank this year. Avril’s been a terror, it seems to me. Maybe he’s just made some splash plays. But hell, I’ll take it.

        You never know. They could slip him to a team for a ‘steal’.
        That team’d give up a fifth (which would become a perrenial probowler) this year and a “conditional late round pick” next year hahahaha
        Maybe we could “Deion Branch” him to the Pats?

      • Kyle says:

        Clemons has shown that he is back to his old form. Avril has been alright, but not spectacular. Rice last year was one of the top receivers based on catches per target. He has value

      • Meat says:

        I don’t see many teams trading for Rice with this contract. The Hawks overpaid and they had to overpay the year he was signed to get him here.

        • kyle says:

          It is not completely uncommon to see teams renegotiate a deal as part of a trade, But I would not be surprised if someone else overpaid for Rice. it happens every year

    • Glor says:

      I disagree with Carpenter being an incumbent starter, the guy is the definition of a 1st round bust and was molested in the game last sunday.

      agree with some of the other points, but I think we should focus back on the oline again in R1, how many shots have we taken at the oline with only sweezy to show for it?

  12. ivotuk says:

    Nice work once again Rob. Great read and great information. I had these exact same thoughts but had nothing to back them up with, you provided that. Please keep it up :)

  13. Kenny Sloth says:

    Is it just me or has JR Sweezy, specifically, looked like absolute garbage?

    He got literally knocked over by JJ Watt on like the first play. Pretty symbolic of how the game went on Offense.

    • Kyle says:

      JR Sweezy of all of our lineman is actually having a much improved year. Going into the Houston game I expected him to do much better in pass protection. With that being said Watt made him look terrible. However Watt had an average game so I don’t know you can use that to say Sweezy has been garbage.

      On the other hand though our entire left side was complete garbage in pass protection. It was Mercilus not Watt that had the career day against us.

      Watch out as Mathis is better and will cause us serious problems in IND

    • Colin says:

      In fairness, on the BeastMode run of the game, Sweezy absolutely stood up Watt. He’s a good run blocker and he should only improve as a pass blocker.

      Carp, on the other hand, was just bad. Again. My patience with him is running thin.

      • Meat says:

        I have no more patiece for Carp. He is backup quality guard. Slow and for his size you can watch on film average lineman are able to get his shoulders to turn and is beaten way to often. A few plays he also stood out as no sense of urgency blocking on the second level. Carp was a gamble that isn’t going to pay off.
        Bowie already appears to have more effort. Perhaps it is not just Bowie’s character, but because he was a 7th round pick so he needed to fight to stick with the Hawks.

        • kyle says:

          Carp needs to stay healthy all year for us to really understand where he fits longer-term. It’s tough to make a forward-looking judgment on someone who has had such inconsistent health. Especially on the O-line. I was a big time Sweezy critic last year, but I’m slowly becoming a believer. Let’s see how carp finishes down the stretch.

        • Glor says:

          Agree with Carp being garbage, disagree with him being a “gamble” he was a 1st round pick, they could have chosen a few other guys

      • Mattk says:

        I disagree. Carp’s improving game by game. He was mauling people in the run-game against the Texans and his pass-pro wasn’t all that bad compared to McQ and Bowie on the outside (who really struggled). He gave up a sack on a stunt from the D-line, but so did Sweezy.

        My main complaint with Carp is that he struggles to keep up with blocking once Wilson starts his scrambling and/or blocking downfield for Lynch. I don’t know if it’s lazyness, conditioning, or the fact he plays around 350 pounds and he may never be that type of blocker.

  14. Kenny Sloth says:

    Rob, when you get a change. I wholeheartedly encourage you to watch this.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jhLkfnnx1M

    Brett Smith vs. Air Force. Yeah it’s air force, but it’s an absolute clinic.
    comp 141 att 217 yards 1607 %65.0 per7.41 long 61 td 14 int4 sacks10 rating144.8
    rushes 45 yards282 per 6.3 long 74 tds 1

    In 5 games. He’s got so much heart. Probably too much. It’s evident in the tape.

  15. Kyle says:

    Rob what do you think of this guy as a later round tackle to replace Breno and compete w/ Bowie next year:

    Cornelius Lucas – OT Kansas state, 6’9 325

    Already noted to play mean

  16. JW says:

    One thing that strikes me in this conversation about the O line is that previously it’s been argued the O line doesn’t need to be as good because you have the advantage of a mobile QB, and there’s not a need to invest high level of draft resources because of Russell Wilson. I’m having a somewhat hard time believing that a mobile QB = more sacks, without factoring in the O line quality as a major part of this equation. And we also don’t need to invest in high draft picks because of Tom Cable. But we know the QB historically takes a lot of hits because of a focus on run blocking…..but that isn’t much of an issue b/c Russell has legs…except it is because scrambling QBs get sacked more…or something.

    And then there’s Okung who’s not injury prone, but he has missed a lot of games. And Carp looks only marginally improved from a horrible player who can’t stay healthy to a bad player who so far is crushing people sometimes and entirely whiffing on others….but it will get better, we hope.

    I just see a lot of varying explanations for what is, at the end of the day, a position group that is weaker than almost any other on the team.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Let’s have some perspective here. We can’t get into how ‘weak’ the position group is when we have one starter (Sweezy) playing in his intended position.

      And unless we’re saying Okung and Unger need to be replaced, I’m pretty sure that when those guys are back we’ll be just fine.

      • kyle says:

        I actually agree with Rob here, even though it probably sounds like I am down on this group from my other posts on this thread. I will say that both Unger and Okung have started off this year not playing up to form, but I would be surprised if they didn’t end the year playing very well. I do not agree with people saying that the OLine is playing “not too bad” this year. In the first quarter of the year they are one of the worst units in the league in both run blocking and pass protection. Again I would be surprised if that’s how they finished, but you can’t sugarcoat what you’ve seen in the first quarter of the year, it has been ugly.

        With that being said, I do share the sentiments about Carp, but even with him it’s going to be more important how he finishes down the stretch. On Sweezy, he has shown big improvements between this year and last year.

        On the draft: I strongly believe that both Giacomini and McQuisten will not be re-signed next year, not because of performance necessarily, but because of CAP priorities. I do think that means we prioritize OL in next years draft because minus those two we do not have much competition and depth. How high we take someone in the draft will be dependent on how we finish down the stretch with this group.

        Even Giacomini this year has played poorly, but I suspect that is actually due to him hiding his knee injury and that affecting him early on. I think Red did the same thing early on last year, because after week one he was a completely different player, but the story about his foot didn’t come out until week six.

  17. Brian says:

    While I agree with you that RW’s style of play will tend to hurt the grading of the OL, I think you are giving them more credit than they really deserve.

    I timed each passing play last week and by my calculations, RW had all of 4 plays where he had more than 3 seconds from the snap to DL contact. All by one of his sacks occurred with less than 2.5 seconds from snap to sack. That is simply unacceptable.

    Now granted the Houston DL is one of the best in football and we had two guys making their first starts so there is reason to be optimistic that they will be much better this weekend.

  18. Misfit74 says:

    I like the differences between this current front office regime in terms of what we look for and value in players. Mainly, I like how we target players who are trending up in production and value. Young players who have nowhere to go but up. The previous regime was in such a ‘win now’ mentality that we overpaid for aging, declining players. Mebane may or may not have run his course with Seattle, but I’d really miss him not being on the team. I think of him as a stalwart. We’ve asked him to play multiple positions but he’s been a one, true rock in the middle of that defense and (obviously) found his home as more of non-3-tech. It’s no secret we’ve been missing a penetrating 3-tech for many years and I think both DT positions are ripe for upgrading. Bennett really helps cover that weakness with his interior rushing, but I’m not completely sold he can play across all downs. He’s not an elite interior run defender, at least according to my understanding. Perhaps others have more perspective.

  19. Michael says:

    Is it just me, or are we seeing A LOT more in season trades this year?

    Jon Beason just went to the Giants
    Eugene Monroe to the Ravens
    Levi Brown to Steelers
    Trent Richardson to the Colts
    A.J. Jenkins swapped for Jon Baldwin

    Feels like the MLB deadline!