Why the Seahawks aren’t being cheap on the O-line

September 21st, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

James Carpenter earns nearly $5m a year with the Jets

When people discuss Seattle’s approach to the O-line, the following points usually come up:

— They’ve not spent enough on the O-line
— They’ve prioritised other positions
— They could’ve/should’ve done more

I want to offer a counter to those thoughts today.

Since 2010, the Seahawks have used 19 draft picks between rounds 1-3. Here’s a breakdown of what they’ve spent those picks on:

O-line: 6
D-line: 3
Wide receiver: 3
Linebacker: 2
Running back: 2
Safety: 1
Quarterback: 1

32% of Carroll’s/Schneider’s picks in the first three rounds have been spent on the offensive line. That’s double the amount of defensive linemen and receivers — ranked second on the list.

It has been argued that the Seahawks have either misused these picks (bad evaluations) or have chosen not to re-sign the players they drafted to save money (priorities).

Context is required.

For example, the Dallas Cowboys are praised for drafting Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin with back-to-back-to-back first round picks. The Seahawks, when they have sought to address these positions, have not been in position to draft players of similar quality.

Had they lost to St. Louis in week 17 of the 2010 regular season, the Seahawks wouldn’t have made the playoffs (no Beastquake) and would’ve picked #8 overall in the 2011 draft. There is every chance they would’ve used that pick to draft Tyron Smith, who was taken by Dallas at #9. Instead the Seahawks picked at #25.

By that point Smith, Mike Pouncey, Nate Solder, Anthony Castonzo and Danny Watkins had all been drafted. Determined to address a need on the O-line, the Seahawks selected James Carpenter.

Aside from a couple of injury hit seasons, the Seahawks got a good few years out of Carpenter. That’s more than can be said for Watkins who was taken at #23 (barely played and became a firefighter) and the next two offensive linemen drafted after Carpenter (two enormous busts, Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod).

When Carpenter left the Seahawks he signed a four year, $19m contract with the Jets worth nearly $5m a year. Carpenter was decent for the Seahawks — but would you really want to keep him at $5m a year?

That wasn’t the Seahawks being cheap — either in terms of draft investment or ponying up the free agent cash. They prioritised the O-line with the high draft pick. They took the best remaining option on the board. They got a few years out of him and then the player signed a big deal somewhere else.

Had they been able to draft Pouncey or Solder or Smith — it probably would’ve been a different discussion. They might’ve been worth $7-12m a year or whatever it would’ve taken to get the deal done. Is Carpenter worth $5m a year to this Seahawks team? At a time when they’ve had to pay Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and a host of others top-tier money?

Now onto Okung. This was Seattle’s first draft pick by Carroll/Schneider. They immediately made a left tackle their priority and used the #6 overall pick to get one. Under the old CBA, they also gave Okung a contract worth $48m with $29m in guarantees.

We’re all familiar with his injury record since 2010 but here’s a reminder:

2010 — missed six games
2011 — missed four games
2012 — missed one game
2013 — missed eight games
2014 — missed two games
2015 — missed three games

That’s 24 missed games during his six-year rookie contract. When he missed those eight games in 2013 (the Super Bowl season) the Seahawks were forced to start Paul McQuistan at left tackle for half of the regular season.

Okung was good when he played — but not great. He never achieved the level of Trent Williams (taken two picks earlier in the 2010 draft) and was more serviceable than dominant.

Right now a lot of fans (and probably some of the staff) would settle for that over the current starting left tackle. Yet a front office has to consider many different factors when considering a contract extension. Okung, without question, was an injury liability. If you offer him the big bucks and he continues to miss four, six or eight games a year — do you regret it?

If he was still on Seattle’s roster now albeit injured, would people be criticising the front office for re-signing him?

Then there’s the angle of his decision not to use an agent. The deal he signed in Denver was widely mocked for being the ultimate team friendly contract. Was such a contract ever a possibility in Seattle? Or did Okung need to move on in the face of growing criticism for not using an experienced negotiator?

We’ll never know the exact details — but this was clearly a complex situation. Not exclusively a cost saving measure.

The Seahawks got a good few years from both Okung and Carpenter. Neither was a terrible pick or a bad evaluation. Both moved on. The success or failure of a first round pick should not be focused exclusively on whether they get a second contract. Was the Bruce Irvin pick a failure? Arguably all three players played their part — but ultimately others (UDFA WR’s, 5th round cornerbacks, third round QB’s, free agent DE’s) contributed more.

They also let Breno Giacomini (signed for the Jets for $4.5m a year) and J.R. Sweezy (signed with the Buccs for $6.5m a year) walk.

Again, would you really want to keep those two players at that price? Sweezy’s average annual salary in Tampa Bay is only $650,000 less than Michael Bennett’s and Cliff Avril’s (they both earn an average of $7.125m a year in Seattle).

As a consequence the investment in the O-line has continued via the draft. In a weak year (2014) for explosive offensive linemen, they spent a second round pick on the best player remaining that fit their criteria (explained in detail here). It’s taken Justin Britt a while to work it out — but he looks at home at center.

This year they spent another first round pick on the O-line drafting the hulking, explosive, enormous athlete Germain Ifedi. In pre-season he looked terrific and the hope is he’ll get healthy and become a major asset for the offense. They also spent a third rounder on Rees Odhiambo. He’s yet to feature — but once again they’re making the investment.

Many have questioned the decision to trade Max Unger for Jimmy Graham and his $9m a year salary. Graham had a rough start to his Seahawks career with minimal production and a serious knee injury. Unger played 16 games and earned a new contract with the Saints.

Was it a mistake? Maybe. But again context is required. Unger missed thirteen games in 2013/2014 for the Seahawks. Perhaps the less aggressive, pass-friendly offense suits him physically in New Orleans? And while it hasn’t worked out for Graham in Seattle so far — he remains one of the most unique players in the league and could still become a major asset.

Unger’s new deal is worth $7.4m a year on average. That’s more money than Avril and Bennett. While it’s true the Seahawks spend less on their O-line than anyone else ($8.597m this year) — can you justify a $7.4m cap hit for a center in his 31st year who missed 13 games in his last two seasons for you?

Since moving Unger there really hasn’t been an opportunity to draft a center of the quality of, for example, Travis Frederick. In the 2015 draft, Mitch Morse (#49) and Ali Marpet (#61) were both taken before Seattle’s pick at #63. If the Seahawks had any interest in Ryan Kelly this year, he was long gone by their pick at #26.

It’s possible they fully intended to draft a young center but it just wasn’t possible. Again, that’s just the way the draft works sometimes. You can’t fight the board. Consequently the Seahawks appear to have found a viable solution (possibly for the long term) in Britt.

Not helping the situation has been Seattle’s draft position. They owned pick #6 and #14 in 2010 and #12 in 2012. Aside from that they’ve consistently had picks in the late first round (and picks at the end of each subsequent round). They simply haven’t been in position to draft a Pouncey or a Martin in the middle of the first round.

With a growing demand for athletic, talented O-liners — not many are lasting into the late first. Ifedi is/was a rarity. There’s a chance the league will regret letting him last that long. Players with his length, athleticism, aggression and size don’t come around very often. Quite a few teams will regret allowing Kelechi Osemele to last into round two — Ifedi has a similar physical skill set.

Aside from Ifedi, you could argue Seattle’s success has ultimately prevented them getting at the top O-liners since 2012. What can they really do about that?

Ask yourself this question — which highly touted O-liner have they passed on? Who did they snub in favour of another position? There isn’t anyone. (EDIT: Attyla the Hawk noted they passed on Joel Bitonio for Paul Richardson in 2014. Point taken)

Here’s what it comes down to: They’ve used a lot of high draft picks on the O-line but the players available and their overall value to the team haven’t matched the contracts they’ve received from other clubs when becoming free agents.

That’s not being cheap. That’s not deliberately being thrifty on the O-line. That’s not ignoring the position. Had they been able to draft a Tyron Smith or Zack Martin they probably would’ve done — and they probably would’ve extended their contracts.

You can only draft the players available. You can’t magic up elite linemen. You can’t magic up top-16 picks either. If they get a great O-liner they’ll probably reward them as they’ve done with the Baldwin’s, Avril’s and Bennett’s etc.

Most of their decisions have been forced. Players getting good deals elsewhere, players being injured, other players at other positions playing really well and eating up cap space.

I don’t think they’re trying to manage this situation because they’ve decided to spend less on the O-line — I think they’re managing this situation because they have to. These are the cards they’ve been dealt.

Check out this weeks podcast, where we discuss the latest college football, draft and Seahawks topics:

219 Responses to “Why the Seahawks aren’t being cheap on the O-line”

  1. vrtkolman says:

    Great post Rob. Many Seahawks fans are extremely short sighted, especially regarding the O line. Had we kept a few of them and let say Avril and KJ Wright walk to afford them, they would be complaining about the defense. The O line needed a “reboot” and unfortunately they have only been in position to the sign the Webb’s of the world instead of say Brandon Brooks.

    Ifedi is going to be that guy that should have been drafted way before the Seahawks picked, we were very fortunate to get him.

  2. vrtkolman says:

    Ryan Kalil is done for the year in Minnesota. They used his 5th year option for this season, but it’s unlikely they will resign him now. He has been pretty bad in his career so far, but he’s still young and is a legit LT in terms of size and athleticism. If Seattle is still in a cap crunch this next off season, he is someone they could look at as a cheap tackle option.

  3. Attyla the Hawk says:

    I’ve made this exact argument for so many years. Very excellently put.

    At this point, I am completely spent trying to argue with ‘Lineman Fairy’ adherents who are just frustrated fans with absolutely zero acceptance for context.

    About the only real instance we could argue was taking Richardson over Bitonio. But even now in hindsight — Bitonio has been injured. And just how valuable might he be here? In a grass is greener abstract — he was a huge miss. But I’m sure there are plenty of instances where he’s failed outside the Klieg lights atmosphere of a post Jones/Hutchinson Seattle fanbase. I’m sure had his failings been similarly Vined, documented and reposted ad nauseum as another example of our inability to assess line talents.

    I tire of positing the question: “Who?” when people say invest in the O line. I never get an answer. Because the actual answer is not as simple as just waving a magic want wand and conjuring the next Walter Jones from thin air.

  4. Sean says:

    Yeah, well said Rob. I don’t think the issue is the investment across the line, but maybe the evaluation of certain players and positions. I have heard several different takes on what Cable likes at certain positions, and it seems to have changed in the last 18 months. There was the thought during our two super bowl runs that he wanted an atheltic LT, a mauler at LG, and Experienced gritty C, an athletic Sweezy type at RG, and another mauler at RT a la Breno G. It seems to have switched now w the athletic Glow at LG, an athletic RT in GG and a mauler at RG in Ifedi. And who knows what Sowell is, besides a 5 handicap in golf, maybe he ought to try the mini tours. I am just unsure what Cable is really trying to do personnel wise.

    I am not going to get up in arms about this until we see Ifedi back and what he can do. I am a believer that on player can make that big of a difference up front. He can be that player for us who makes everyone else look exponentially better.

    And the whole argument that Jimmy G’s money would be better spent somewhere else can be made at numerous positions. I know that Hawks fans would love to see his numbers reflect what he did in NO but it isn’t going to happen in this system. I think 65-750-8 is doable for him in this offense. Let’s just wait and see what happens the next few weeks. There is soooo much time left for this team to grow. And it will, we all know Pete preaches not the start, but the finish.

    • Dan says:

      With the rule change on cut blocking, it appears they have changed what they are looking for on the line. I only caught 1 cut block the entire Rams game. We don’t need Sweezy types anymore.

      Glow may be mobile, but he was the best at moving/mauling this last game. Britt had a few plays where he moved people, but mostly he is tag teaming with Glow or Webb. He also whiffed pretty bad on a few plays, yet all his snaps were clean. Webb gets pushed around. He doesn’t outright whiff, but he’s not a mauler. Sowell for all his first half mistakes also had some pretty good plays, either mirroring or moving guys. If Cable wants us imposing our will we need Ifedi pretty bad. Gilliam is pretty much all finesse. He looked the worst of the lot to me.

      We’re a few years away from a balanced quality line. I have no idea where we will be able to find competent tackles. Winning makes that complicated.

      • Jack Laughing says:

        Haha, hilarious. No one can seem to agree on how the O-line performed last Sunday. I’ve seen a few folks saying Britt was the best O-linemen, I’ve seen a few folks praising Glow, and I’ve generally seen a lot of annoyance with Webb, Sowell, and (to varying degrees) Gilliam. And then I see people complaining about Britt and Glow, and my guess is that Britt is still being hemmed and hawed for things he did (or didn’t do) in 2014 and 2015.

        Say whatever you want about their grading system, but PFF loved Britt (one of their highest graded players on the Seahawks for Sunday) but they hated Glow, docking him for 2 QB hits and 3 hurries, the most of any of the O-line by their grades.

        My conclusion is that Britt probably was probably the best on the O-line and Sowell/Webb the worst. But I’d also conclude most people probably don’t know what they’re seeing when they attempt to judge the O-line play because they don’t know assignments or play calls, and therefore much of this criticism is pretty pointless.

        • Dan says:

          Yeah, not basing it off anyone else. I’m not an expert. I did watch each offensive player, each snap, multiple times. I counted 4 bad plays for Glow, but 24 outright wins. I’ve seen experts like Clayton go after certain guys and praise others. I seriously doubt any them actually watched all the tape. Just saying what I saw.

  5. Vista says:

    “Consequently the Seahawks appear to have found a viable solution (possibly for the long term) in Britt.”

    I think that Britt may sign one more contract for 4-5 years and he will call it a career.

    • Volume12 says:

      To be fair, that would be long term considering the average NFL career is something like 4 years?

      • Vista says:

        I would assume it is close to 4 years. But Britt is worried about his health, particularly his knees. His weight has been doing a toll on them.

  6. Fade says:

    Terron Armstead was picked by the Saints in 2013 in the 3rd round. A highly athletic freak out of a small school. I though this was who the Seahawks were going to take in the 2nd round that year instead they took C-Mike..

    When they passed on him. I then thought they must be interested in David Bahktiari in the 3rd, they took Jordan Hill instead. The Packers then took him in the 4th. Bahktiari coming out of school was touted as a prospect that could play both guard, and tackle spots. He was undervalued imo because he was only 6’4”, and everybody wants their LT to be 6’5”-6’6”.

    2 Franchise LT’s passed on by this organization in 2013, a draft I did not get. I had evaluated it as a weak draft overall, but pretty good for O-Lineman. Seattle waited all the way until the 7th Rd to pick O-Line that year.

    2014 Bitonio was the obvious one. The other for me was Cory Linsley to Seattle in the 4th rd if he was still miraculously on the board still, the Pack then took him late in the 5th.

    2015 No complaints. Other than I didn’t like Terry Poole’s bad body, skinny legs, huge gut. I really liked Glowinski, and I cheered when they took him. It was the 1st time this regime took an O-Lineman I wanted. So it’s always nice when your team takes a guy you want.

    2016 No complaints. Joey Hunt is a future stud Center IMO. Ifedi has all the talent necessary to be a pro-bowler at either G or RT.

    I like the young core of this O-Line currently. They just need a LT ASAP, and time to develop.

    I am still baffled to this day they didn’t take Armstead and/or Bahktiari. I was so sure at least one of them was going to be a Hawk. The context back then was Okung was injury prone, and over priced (Old CBA). Giacomini & McQuistan were on the last years of their deals. James Carpenter was injury prone, and considered a bust up to that point. Weak draft overall, but decent for O-Line.

    • Rob Staton says:

      On the 2013 class — I have to say looking back on that year I don’t recall many discussing the need for a LT. It’s easy to say now, but Okung was still the starter with three more years on his contract. He’d also not yet had his most injury hit season (missing 8 games in 2013). So we weren’t talking about getting a LT with Okung seen as the present and future and certainly we did not debate the need for a replacement that in three years time would be a starter. We weren’t even really talking much about getting a RT with Breno there.

      And I think the Jordan Hill pick was justified after losing Clinton McDonald. We did spend a LOT of time that year talking about the need at DT and we were starting to talk about life after Marshawn too.

      • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

        It is funny how hindsight makes things 20/20. At the time, they made moves that seemed logical and positioned the team for success in the following 2-3 years.

    • nichansen01 says:

      So what you’re telling me is that we could have a line right now of

      Armstead – Bitonio – Linsley – Ifedi – Bahktiari

      but the front office is horrible at evaluating o-line talent?

      • nichansen01 says:

        And not for much capital either… a first two seconds a third a fourth over a span of three years. Nothing close to the capital a team like dallas spent, and that would likely be one of the best lines in football.

        • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

          Armstead was a huge project coming out of college if I recall. That would have been a risky pick imo. Bitonio and Lindley have both battle injuries in the subsequent years, not that these would have been known draft day. I’ve never been overly impressed by Bahktiari, but that is a personal opinion… he might be fine playing RT according to people more knowledgeable than I.

          • Mr. Offseason says:

            So many variables though. This is not as simple as we’d like it to be.

            Armstead was super raw. He ended up going to the Saints and is a good player now. Like Rob said, we had Okung and a starting LT was not an immediate need. By the time we got Armstead on the field, he may have been in the last year of his contract. So even if he was good, we probably would have lost him.

            Also, I am one person who is really starting to lose faith in Tom Cable. I used to think he was a world-beating OL coach (not long ago, even). Now? I think he is a good coach. I just think he gets wayyy too much credit, to think he can manage an offensive line that is comprised more or less of camp bodies, and just expect it to work out? I know that’s really harsh what I just said, and I could be proved wrong still. But thank God the Seahawks got Ifedi, because if we were starting Webb there all year, I just don’t see a way that this OLine could be good.

  7. Glaze says:

    The thought they don’t invest is silly and you do a good job refuting it. The fact is we have reupped again on the OLine with Ifedi, Rees, and Joey Hunt. Add to that a development project in Fant, all of which we are spending valuable capital in keeping on the 53 man roster. Rees will develop, hunt is a smart center with good strength, while a little petite for the position. Fant has all the physical tools to be a great LT – size, speed, athleticism, and great feet. I’d like to see them try to accelerate his growth – paging Tom Cable, send him to Akido classes to learn how to use the opponent’s force against them and improve hand fighting.

  8. Volume12 says:

    Great, great piece Rob.

    You’ve been killing it here recently my man (what’s new?) ?. Hats off to you for putting out quality content on the daily.

  9. Thanks Rob, for your comprehensive and factual recapitulation of the OLine draft history and rebuttal of that faction of the Seahawks Family who are agonizing over the chronic disappointing play of that unit. The draft is not the sole pool of personnel for the ‘Hawks, as players are also available from free agency and by way of trades. Drafting almost any player, at almost any position represents a ‘throw of the dice’, and the high percentage of failure of draftees confirms that each pick is a gamble. The same cannot be said of experienced free agents and player trade transactions. There, the player has a history and is a known quantity. The downside is that a proven, good to elite player, such as All Pro LT Joe Thomas (Cleveland) would be expensive in terms of salary, draft picks, or trade material. Still, there is only one glaring deficiency on the ‘Hawks Oline, and that is LT. Thomas is 31, has a current 3 year contract (affordable to the ‘Hawks, by way of bookkeeping adjustments), and would improve, or solve, many line issues for the ‘Hawks…right now: pass protection for Russell, help open running lanes, bring experienced leadership and stability to a young line, make a strong statement about addressing a known and contentious problem, demonstrate flexibility and problem solving, and all this with the reduced risk of incorporating the best LT in the league. Taking this action, if it was possible would calm and reassure a lot of worried fans and critics. This may be a proposal which is hard to criticize on its’ merits, but may not be viable or feasible due to other factors. Who knows? Certainly not me, nor most of us. But JS and PC will know, and I hope they might take look at it. In them I trust.

    • Glaze says:

      My biggest concern with going to FA or trades is that an Offensive Lineman on one team might not yield the same results in our system. We’ve seen it work both ways; lineman who weren’t great in our system going to other teams and playing better and vice versa. For better or worse, Tom Cable’s version of the ZBS requires aggressive, athletic, and mobile linemen to sweep, block, pass off, and get to the second level quickly. When it works, it’s a boon in the run game, but it’s a tough system, both mentally and physically. Because of this and the fact that linemen aren’t coming from college with training in the system, a lot of the assessment relies on SPARQ numbers and qualitative assessment. The league, as a whole, has trouble getting quality on the OLine. The style we play makes it harder. For example, Jarhi Evans didn’t look super strong in our system, but is back in NO looking like the 8 time all pro he is.

      • Thanks Glaze,
        In retospect, (always easy to say now !…), do you think the Hawks should possibly have kept Evans for depth and experienced leadership? Would he, or could he, have been a better solution than Webb? In the same vein, do you think it would be worth trying to aquire Thomas from Cleveland to replace Sowell?

        • Glaze says:

          It was a tough call in Evans, given the limited opportunities he had to learn the system. I think I would prefer him to Webb, but Webb is just a placeholder for Ifedi, who is clearly a starter. I’m not sure how Webb would have handled RT over the course of a few games, but I’m not convinced he’s suitable there. We looked guard heavy at the start of OTAs, so keeping Evans would have came at a cost. LT is a tougher one. On one hand, Fant seems to have great upside, but that’s a 1 year project. I’m not convinced getting an experienced LT for 5-6mil would have panned out either, given there a few great ones and they carry hefty price tags. It’s a conundrum that I don’t have easy answers for. I want to see them work hard to develop Fant and I’d be curious if Gilliam is any better on the left side, since right doesn’t seem to be natural for him.

  10. Tyler says:

    Rob, I appreciate you trying to be the voice of reason here and, certainly, most Seahawks fans would be complaining if pouring even more resources into the o-line meant there was an inevitable decline elsewhere on the team as they couldn’t keep guys like KJ Wright, etc. That being said, it’s time to call it for what it is. The o-line play is just so awful that is not only resulting in an unbalanced offense that can’t get the run game going but it’s also beginning to genuinely affect Russell Wilson’s composure in the pocket. This PFF article seems really on point: https://www.profootballfocus.com/pro-why-seattles-offensive-line-is-now-an-unavoidable-problem/

    • Rob Staton says:

      I won’t argue that the O-line performance has been poor (although I would argue not as bad as this time last year and not as bad as some have suggested — they have played two fantastic D-lines). I think the point of the piece is to really break through some of the detail as to why and how this line is what it is. And that the reason doesn’t have to be altogether negative.

      • Frustration with the ongoing poor performance of the OLine has indeed resulted in an increasing barrage of negativity. The OLine is pretty universally acknowledged to be the single biggest problem confronting the ‘Hawks. There has been sufficient negativity. We know there is a problem. How about some problem solving commentary and discussion for a change of pace. Are there any immediate, dramatic steps, or otherwise, to turn this around? Free agency, trade for Joe Thomas? Thinking caps on, Seahawks Nation!

  11. line_hawk says:

    Here is a great article I read today on the Packers and how lack of evolution has hampered their unstructured offense: https://www.all22.com/team/green-bay-packers-struggling-offense-flawed-by-design

    Originally linked from: https://theringer.com/something-is-wrong-with-aaron-rodgers-af70c87703a7

    And I started thinking about how Seattle’s lack of timing offence is also making life difficult for their offense. Seattle has incorporated some concepts such as bunch formations but the problem of offensive line is going to continue as long as they don’t significantly change their scheme. Lynch covered a lot of weaknesses by making defenses stack the box and creating more one-on-ones for receivers. But with defenses flooding the deep routes, Seattle needs a quick passing attack. The offensive line isn’t great but they are passable if we change our scheme. Wilson/Bevell have to evolve; otherwise we have no chance against teams with strong defensive fronts such as Carolina and Denver (and to some extent Rams and Vikings though their QBs suck as bad as our offense).

    As an aside, I think with 16 rookies on the roster, this seems like a transition year kinda like 2012. We will be better next year but there will be ups and downs during this year, unlike what we have experienced the last 3 years.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t feel comfortable discussing the need for a change of scheme. For starters, none of us know enough about it (or other NFL schemes) to sufficiently judge. Plus it’s a scheme (offense and defense) that has led this team to its most successful period in franchise history. They won 10 games last year despite all of the issues and threw away at least three more wins (Rams week 1, Cincy, Carolina).

      Why would you change anything when you’re winning 10-13 games a year? Or are expectations so high now that they’re actually becoming quite unrealistic?

      • line_hawk says:

        That’s a fair point that its hard to figure out exactly what they run except what’s visible from the tape. Regarding scheme, I would add that it does need changes from time to time, mostly because of changes in personnel/declining skill set. Historically, they have done well with making adjustments to maximize the strengths of their players, so am hopeful. It will be interesting to see how they handle the Jets big men upfront.

        Its also true that we have been spoiled the past few years that we expect to dominate every single season.

        Lastly, just want to add on an unrelated note that Marsh, Clark and Reed/Jefferson are the first impact D-linemen they seem to have found after years of missing in the draft (when it rains, it pours). Hoping that the same will be case with O-linemen in the next couple of years.

        • Mr. Offseason says:

          I will say this about the Seahawks evolving their scheme:

          Their most successful use of this scheme came in 2013. The league was a lot different back then. It was very much a passing league that didn’t emphasize defense. The Seahawks emphasized defense and running the ball.

          In 2016, teams emphasize defense and running the ball. The Seahawks are playing teams with similar schemes to us. Therefore they are facing much tougher competition because the matchups are similar to ours.

          The Seahawks literally changed the way the game is played. But now, I believe, it’s coming back to hurt us.

          And I believe the Seahawks do need to adjust/add new wrinkles to continue to compete at the highest level in this league.

          I am usually a very optimistic Seahawks fan. I hope they prove me wrong and go to the Superbowl again the way they know how. But I can just see that the NFL has changed, and I think the Seahawks must adapt.

          • Volume12 says:

            This team is no different than the 2012, 2014, and 2015 squads. And even to a point 2013, except for the depth that will never be duplicated again.

            2013 we win week 1 at Carolina in almost the exact same fashion we did in week 1 this year. As Rob pointed out, only put up 5 points against SF before Kap fell apart and started making mistakes. Great half time adjustment BTW.

            Almost lost to Tennessee at home in a sloppy game. And fought tooth and nail with TB before winning late in the 4th quarter. And we were in a tough game against Minnesota until a Percy Harvin return flipped the field and momentum.

            Point being, we executed when needed. That’s the issue. And it’s tough to do when RW is on one leg and almost every skill player is hurt or hanged up. Not to mention Ifedi on the shelf right now.

            For as great of a coach as Bill Belicheck is, and he is great, his game planning allows them to win. He doesn’t put it on the players shoulders like PC does.

            • LordSnow says:

              If Cmike doesn’t fumble and we somehow score the final td, wow is the conversation different here this week. Sky is the limit. It’s working. The oline ain’t so bad. RW can overcome anything. We don’t need Marshawn anymore.

              Football is an amazing sport. THE top sport in the world.

  12. HawkFan907 says:

    Thanks Rob, great piece. I have always been a big fan of building a team of playmakers, and then grabbing the rest from the bargain bin. In our case, that usually involves the O Line. If you look at teams who are successful year after year (recently anyways) it seems like they follow the same pattern. I would much rather spend on the defense and let Cable cobble together a line filled with rookies and cheap FAs.

    If we find some gems in the draft, I don’t have a problem letting them walk when the rookie contracts are up and grabbing compensatory picks. They will be even more valuable now that you can trade them.

    Rob, considering this is a weak O line class this year, what would be your most likely FA targets?

    Keep up the good work. Thanks!

    • Rob Staton says:

      Tough to say on FA without knowing who makes it. For example, Calais Campbell is out of contract in 2017. I loved him at Miami and wanted SEA to draft him in R1. I’d like to see Eric Berry on this defense. Jabaal Sheard is up with the Pats. None of these are OL guys though. I think Matt Kalil is better than he’s shown in Minny. Ditto Chance Warmack in Tennessee. Not many options though.

      • Would you consider Joe Thomas, All Pro LT, among the candidates listed above, considering the considerable urgency to replace Sowell?

        • Rob Staton says:

          There won’t be a trade for Thomas. If such a deal was viable he wouldn’t still be in Cleveland. Someone would’ve traded for him by now.

          • Wouldn’t it be both enlightning, and gratifying, to pose the question to JS, “Have you discussed trading for Joe Thomas with Cleveland?”….and getting an answer!
            Love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation. Cleveland is a shambles, and has no need of a player of Thomas’ calibre. In rebuilding mode, they’d be better off with draft picks. Still, being Cleveland…..

            • BHarKnows says:

              I think we could agree that Cleveland should try to hoard picks. In some ways they’ve done recently and shown themselves to be abysmal evaluators of talent. But Rob is right, the asking price has got to be too high. Given the poor state of O-line play league wide, if the price was reasonable someone would have pulled the trigger. Let’s stop discussing this pipe dream.

              • Nathan says:

                Denver tried to trade for him last year, but the price was too steep.

              • RealRhino2 says:

                While I’m a big fan of that economic concept (“I found a $10 bill on the ground!” “No you didn’t; if there was a $10 bill on the ground somebody would have picked it up by now.”), it doesn’t really apply.

                First, we’ve seen that it doesn’t apply in different circumstances already this season. Namely, the signing of veteran free agents. As the season approached there were a handful of these guys who weren’t signed. Just like we would say the price for Thomas isn’t viable b/c he hasn’t been traded yet, we would have said nobody wanted these guys for even the vet minimum because they hadn’t been signed yet. But when they signed at the 11th hour it was for well over the vet minimum, because circumstances had changed. Guys got injured, players weren’t as good as coaches had thought, etc. So these guys, who it turns out *could have signed* for the vet minimum earlier, *chose* not to because they suspected their price would go up as needs increased in the market. And that’s what happened.

                Second, the assumption about Thomas’s price depends on the circumstances of all teams (or even many teams) being similar. But they aren’t. For a Thomas trade to make sense, you have to have a team that (a) has the cap space or could trade a player they don’t need or aren’t using to make the cap space, and (b) has a great need at LT, and (c) is a Super Bowl contender but for their LT need, and (d) (maybe) has the draft picks to be willing to give up a 1st. So start with real SB contenders, eliminate the ones with really bad LTs, then eliminate the ones with no cap space, etc., etc. It might just be that we are the only real good fit.

                Second

                • Rob Staton says:

                  In this instance I think it’s fair to make the following assumptions:

                  1.) There is no reason for Cleveland to trade Joe Thomas. They’d only have to replace him — and acquiring one late first round pick will not be a problem solver. If he still has 3-4 years at the top, it would make sense for them to keep him.

                  2.) If a deal was viable — and with a dearth of good LT’s in the NFL — someone would’ve pulled the trigger by now.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        Good to hear your thoughts on guys from around the league.

        Would make a great piece IMO.

        I think Matt Khalil would be a great fit here coming from a run first offense.

        I liked him a lot coming out

  13. CharlieTheUnicorn says:

    I noticed someone mentioned the “predraft/draft” eval on guys and whiffing. They have indeed spent draft capitol on guys, but they have not paid off. This leads me to think the eval of draft prospects is not matching up with the on field scheme they want to run (ZBS primarily). They do a decent job at identifying players at other positions, but somehow can’t hit the HOME RUN pick on OL. I’m of the opinion, after watching Ifedi in preseason, he could be the unicorn they are seeking. That would settle down the interior 3 OL positions and then the Seahawks can concentrate on the OTs.

    I blame Moffit…. he was the guard they needed and decided football was not important. *sarcasm*

    • Rob Staton says:

      This is touched on in the piece. It’s easy to say, ‘Their O-line guys haven’t worked out’. In reality they’ve been picking at the end of round one for most of PCJS’s time in Seattle. They’ve had to take what’s there. Guys like Carp actually have had good careers compared to the guys drafted near them (Carimi, Sherrod, Watkins). It’s not like they’ve been passing on the Pouncey’s, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith etc. You can’t invent great OL talent at a time it is so thin in college and the NFL.

      • The most talented Left Tackle in football, perennial All Pro Joe Thomas, Cleveland, is available for trade discussions. He is proven, and a future HoF’er. Our LT, is arguably the worst LT in football. Is therany reason to not pick up the phone and have a chat? Odds are against it, but PC JS are bold, creative, and off the scale on football brainpower. Give it a try…what’should to lose?
        Get some sleep Rob, your last post was 1:15 am UK time.

        • Troy says:

          this is your second comment telling rob to sleep, maybe don’t tell other people when to sleep? It sounds very off putting. it is his business when he wants to be up or sleeping

          • The Hawk is Howling says:

            I understand what you mean Troy but you commented on B’Hamsters first post, not second. He was just implying that Rob works really hard for us and that he wishes him to be well and rested. Nothing off putting about trying to be a good and thankful friend.

            Although we are all entitled to our opinions.

            Go HAWKS!

    • cha says:

      “hey have indeed spent draft capitol on guys, but they have not paid off. This leads me to think the eval of draft prospects is not matching up with the on field scheme”

      There may be some of that, but the process is more fluid and “human” for lack of a better term than we’d like. Some of the OL’s the Hawks have brought in just haven’t worked out, and I’m not convinced it was lack of scouting/eval or lack of development. On some level, there must be some personal responsibility of the players to commit to working and honing their craft.

      -Moffitt was not committed to the process, the attitude, marijuana, the oddball arrests, the retirement/unretirement
      -Bowie was a bright prospect who played all over the line early on. Then showed up to camp injured and out of shape, so much so that the Hawks cut him
      -Bailey had ‘swing tackle/starting guard’ potential with a dash of jumbo TE for good measure, but lost his position at LG and then talked his way out of town

      And then unrelated to attitude:
      -Garrett Scott finds out he has a serious heart condition

      There’s 4 potentially quality OL right there the Hawks coulda/shoulda/woulda had on the team right now earning second contracts if things had gone differently, and I’m not sure any of them are failures you can specifically pin on the team/organization/coaches.

      • Volume12 says:

        Good points.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        Was Moffitt a pothead? Makes sense he was pissing in a fountain downtown Seattle.

        • Volume12 says:

          I’m gonna say that had more to do with him being drunk since it was right outside of a bar in Pioneer Square.

          • Kenny Sloth says:

            No I knew that hahaha

            Just hadn’t heard he was a smoker as well.

            • cha says:

              I might have wrote that more as a ‘whole experience’ type thing…I know he was arrested with a bag of pot after the left the Hawks but in whole the point stands I suppose.

              And V12, it was Bellevue Square. I recall that clearly because I’d had dinner there the night it happened.

            • The Hawk is Howling says:

              Good, because you come off way too clever to not put that one together Kenny!

          • The Hawk is Howling says:

            Yep that’s definitely drunkard activity V12. It’s interesting to hear what some people think weed does to them?

            Everyone is different though. Too bad about Moffit because he had potential and was funny. He decided to quite football because he didn’t want to get his brain smashed too bad.

            Nothing dopey about that!

      • UKhawk says:

        This just shows the crapshoot that is the draft. I like the fact theyve tried but clearly they havent hit on OL as often. Nevertheless I do not recall Bowie, Bailey, nor Scott being drafted terribly high and they clearly have been rolled off the roster with the same churn rate as RBs, CBs etc

        • AlaskaHawk says:

          That doesn’t explain why they haven’t picked up more players from other teams during the preseason cuts. We know that Left Tackle was a potential weak spot. How many decent left tackles have been cut or are sitting on some other teams practice squad, and are the Seahawks doing anything to attract them?

  14. Nathan says:

    A lot of this all stems back to the percy harvin trade, it put us in a position where we’re drafting for need.

    Lookat what Cinicinatti did last, were able to take 2 lineman they don’t really need.

    It’s like they’re a draft ahead of where they need to be, without that trade we’re probably in the same boat.

  15. 12er says:

    Good post – these are the cards they’ve been dealt and they can only improve with better health and their typical improvement in play as the season goes on.

    Btw, PFF wrote the best summation of the Hawks current state of affairs on offense I’ve read yet: https://www.profootballfocus.com/pro-why-seattles-offensive-line-is-now-an-unavoidable-problem/

    Some of the stats in there are alarming (0.4 yards before contact LOL).

    While the OL should mature together a bit as the season progresses, you can take it to the bank that RW will get over the yips as he gets healthy.

    • Trevor says:

      Thanks for the post 12er interesting read and sums things up perfectly I think with regards to how the OL has played.

  16. cha says:

    “Unger’s new deal is worth $7.4m a year on average. That’s more money than Avril and Bennett. While it’s true the Seahawks spend less on their O-line than anyone else ($8.597m this year) — can you justify a $7.4m cap hit for a center in his 31st year who missed 13 games in his last two seasons for you?”

    Just to underline that point, New Orleans is probably the worst team in the NFL at cap and salary management – a staggering $41 million of their 2016 cap is dead money. Put another way, over 25% of their cap money is spent on players that aren’t on the current roster. For contrast the Hawks have $9.4 million in dead money, half of it is Lynch who retired.

    Rob’s comp above nicely illustrates the vast difference between the two organizations.

    In other words, the answer to the rhetorical question Rob offered is a resounding “no.”

  17. LordSnow says:

    I’m good with what they’ve got for the most part. It just needs time to come together, and it will. They may have the LT of the future already on the roster, and an unlikely trade for Thomas would be too expensive in the corresponding need to trade/cut someone else to get the cap money freed up.

    Sowell is the only stopgap, and I wouldn’t mind seeing them play more of what they have to try to upgrade the spot in season. Before anyone laughs at that, it would not be unheard of – the team going with Britt as a struggling rookie at RT. Unlikely, but not unheard of.

    By midseason, assuming all of our core players get/remain healthy, we could easily see the offensive juggernaut of last season.

  18. Derek Lamarr says:

    How about trading for Percy Harvin, one of the worst moves of all time, thus giving up the 25th pick in 2013. Frederick went six picks behind. They also took Christine Michael ahead of Larry Warford. They could have taken Bitonio in 2014 but traded back and took Richardson. They could have taken Donovan Smith in 2015 but gave up the pick (and their best offensive linemen) for Jimmy Graham. The problem with the Seahawks front office is a systematic overvaluation of offensive skill position players relative to offensive linemen, and a total lack of understanding of the future value of draft picks.

    In short, they squander their valuable picks on bad trades and that is why they haven’t been able to build a line.

    • Rob Staton says:

      In 2013 they had Unger and this was before he missed all those games in 2013/2014. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but nobody in that draft compared to Harvin who’d just had a 2012 season where he was in the running for league MVP.

      There’s a lot of revisionist history here Derek. The only player they ‘passed’ on was Bitonio. I’m not remotely bothered they didn’t take Larry Warford (meh) or Donovan Smith (meh).

      Plus is they were to make all the moves proposed here, they’d have virtually taken an O-liner with every first pick since 2010, which is highly unrealistic.

      • STTBM says:

        Plenty of people–from fans like me to NFL players to Darft Gurus and former coaches expressed reservations about the Harvin trade, for a multitude of reasons, all of which were legit. Those reasons include:

        –Harvins injury history and attitude issues since HS
        –The cost in picks and money/cap space
        –Harvins size–was he really the kind of big-play threat you pay that much for? Would he really do that much for our offense? Could he take the pounding of a key player?
        –We already had Tate, who through his four years had pretty much the lowest drop percentage in the NFL and broke the most tackles by far–far, far more than the number 2, Harvin.

        • AlaskaHawk says:

          Agreed on Harvin. I find it interesting that they cut the nearest thing to Harvin this year when they cut Pope.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Congrats.

          And at the time plenty of people also said it was a great deal and a risk worth taking.

          • STTBM says:

            The point is you implied any criticism now or at the time of the trade is only legitimized with Hindsight, and that is not true. As I said, many well informed, knowledgeable folks (former players, coaches, etc–not just opinionated fans like me) named excellent reasons why the trade didnt appear to be worth it for Seattle. And they were right.

            Your argument seems to be that none of what happened could possibly have been expected, and that is utterly untrue. Harvins attitude and behavior was a major reason he was traded, and had been a problem since HS, for instance. One could logically assume it was a huge risk to think his behavior would/could change, or that it wouldnt affect the team negatively.

            I dont understand why you have to be right 100% of the time, even when youre not. Just once I would like to see you acknowledge a point, or the flaws in your logic, reasoning, or wording. Others do. I know Im not always right, thats for sure. Ive been wrong plenty of times–most recently that Webb would do fine.

            • Rob Staton says:

              I didn’t imply there was zero criticism of the trade — but let’s be right here, nobody was bestowing criticism on the franchise. Even the sceptics were intrigued.

              And there certainly wasn’t an O-liner everyone was clamouring for in the 2013 draft. Everyone in this community wanted a WR or DT (we spent ages talking 3-tech that year). They got a WR via trade.

              As for this:

              “I dont understand why you have to be right 100% of the time, even when youre not. Just once I would like to see you acknowledge a point, or the flaws in your logic, reasoning, or wording. Others do. I know Im not always right, thats for sure. Ive been wrong plenty of times–most recently that Webb would do fine.”

              I acknowledge when I’m wrong all the time. It’s frustrating that anyone has suggested otherwise. What I can’t tolerate is the incessant overreactions to one loss. This isn’t some chat forum where people ‘let it rip’ in frustration. We’re above that here. And I do not believe I am wrong on this issue.

        • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

          Harvin didn’t contribute as much as anticipated, but he also put the nail in the coffin with a timely KR/PR TD in the playoffs. They won a SB with him on the roster.

          • Mr. Offseason says:

            Three things

            1) Hindsight’s 20/20
            2) Can’t blame a good team for taking a home run swing. It’s much better than never doing it. High ceilings = great rewards.
            3) Percy Harvin legitimately helped us win a Superbowl. You could make a pretty strong argument that this contribution is worth every penny we gave him.

            • AlaskaHawk says:

              I could also make an argument that they shouldn’t have let him go till he played out the next season. For the same reasons you just made. Maybe he would have been healthy by the playoffs and maybe the Seahawks would have won the second superbowl with Harvin on the roster.

              They didn’t evaluate Harvin right before they traded for him, and then they traded him away when the Seahawks had already paid for that years salary.

            • STTBM says:

              You can when it cost the team a SB the next year, which is likely did. It also cost us Tate, who was and is a far better player for much less money.

              We paid 20 million plus to Harvin for one kick return TD and a couple big Jet Sweeps. Hardly a bargain.

              • Mr. Offseason says:

                We were one play away from winning a superbowl the following year. I don’t think one more player would have made a clear difference there. We were one different playcall and/or circumstance from winning the Superbowl. To me, that shows that the addition of Harvin actually didn’t hurt us the following year, at all.

                It would have been great to keep Golden Tate, but come on. That is a very vague argument to be making for how far we made it the following year. We should have won SB 49. It was not a player issue.

  19. Chris says:

    A bit too apologetic.

    If we’re really going to argue that they’ve made plenty of investments into the O-line and that they’ve made no real mistakes, this obviously begs the question “Then why does this line suck soooo bad?” It’s bordered on putrid for more than a few years now, yet apparently they’ve made no mistakes. Doesn’t quite add up.

    If a team is going to pick in the late 20’s in every draft and expect to compete, we NEED them to over-perform in drafts over the long-run. A team making average later round picks in the 20s and making average FA moves in the long-run means the team will be average or worse. Some things (not necessarily O-line, but it’d sure be nice) have to be consistently exceptional whether it’s drafting or handling FA decisions. With 32 teams in the league, average and simply “excusable” moves are not going to get it done if you’re goal is to be the #1 of the 32 teams.

    And particularly if a team is unable to manage ABOVE average drafts or ABOVE average FA decisions on the O-line, it probably also doesn’t make sense to plan your offensive philosophy around dominating the trenches with a ground and pound run game. Now that we no longer have a borderline hall of fame running back and with a hobbled R.Wilson longer a running/scrambling threat, the mediocrity of O-line decisions is showing itself pretty clearly and people are right to be worried that this MIGHT finally be the year where the rest of the team won’t be exceptional enough to compensate for it.

    • Rob Staton says:

      “If we’re really going to argue that they’ve made plenty of investments into the O-line and that they’ve made no real mistakes, this obviously begs the question “Then why does this line suck soooo bad?””

      This is explained in the piece. The Seahawks haven’t ‘sucked’ on the OL for years. They were perfectly acceptable in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Not great but not terrible. Certainly didn’t prevent them getting to two Super Bowls and nearly a third in 2012.

      Since then players they drafted who did a decent job have moved on for big money elsewhere. And they’re having to replace them now — thus the Ifedi, Odhiambo picks etc.

      Expecting teams to over-perform in the draft to create a roster without any flaws is highly unrealistic. Every team has it’s warts. Seattle’s is the O-line (although I don’t think the current line is as bad as people are making out). But they have made the investment, there’s justifiable reasons why they haven’t retained some of their guys (big $$$ elsewhere) and they’re continuing to try and find replacements in the draft. That’s not apologetic, them’s the facts.

      • STTBM says:

        Lynch and Wilson masked the lines actual performance in both pass pro and run blocking. The line was well below average (indeed, bottom 5 in the league most years) in pass pro, and in actual blocking ability/performance (NOT yards gained) was less than stellar in run blocking as well in 2014 and 2015.

        I blame last year squarely on Cable. He went with Nowak over Lewis and totally blew that talent evaluation. Plus it took him seven weeks to admit it. Talk about not seeing whats in front of your face….

        They pretty much had to let Carp and Sweezy go, and I would still take Webb over Sweezy even for the same money. Webb is playing hurt and should improve. Sweezy will never be consistent, even in run blocking, and just isnt great in pass pro. Giacomini same thing–he got too much money eleswhere and wasnt worth it.

        The biggest problem is not Seattle’s refusal to pay guys, but in failure to find serviceable guys in the draft with the same regularity as the rest of the league. No team in the league has spent what Seattle has to such poor results. They are the worst team in the league at evaluating offensive line talent and building a line. And they should be called out as such. Their successes elsewhere only shine a brighter light on this one giant failure.

        • Rob Staton says:

          “The biggest problem is not Seattle’s refusal to pay guys, but in failure to find serviceable guys in the draft with the same regularity as the rest of the league.”

          Do you watch any other teams? Do you think 20 clubs have good O-lines? This is a league wide problem.

  20. Kenny Sloth says:

    Great piece, Rob! Very thoughtful, thorough, and relevant. Really captures the history of Seattle’s investments.

    Imagine it we were paying a line of Okung, Carp, Unger, Sweezy, Giaco!?!

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      Inarguably that’s a more talented line than what we have currently.

      But those are vets that cut their teeth in Seattle and despite the reputation among media, Seahawks OL are valuable commodities around the league.
      Just as valuable as any other Seahawk roster alumni

    • STTBM says:

      Sweezy hasnt even practiced this year since MiniCamp. He’s got a serious back problem. You think we should pay him to be on IR?! Glowinsky is already better than Sweezy ever was, and can play both G positions. And Im happy with Britt at C over Unger, as he isnt made of glass in our system like poor Max. Carp wasnt that good in our earlier ZBS system, but probably would be doing well at LG by now if he had stayed. But not worth the 5 million per year. I also think getting dumped by Seattle was the wake-up call that fat lazy slob needed. Without that, I doubt he would have bothered to be the player he is now.

      The problem is Sowell is worse by far than McQuistan was at LT, and Gilliam is bad and Ifedi is hurt. Getting Ifedi back should help tons, as Seattle can concentrate on having TE’s and backs chip/help out on the edges and not worry so much about pressure up the gut.

      • DC says:

        “…Sowell is worse by far than McQuistan was at LT…”

        Let’s get a full season to evaluate Sowell before we go maximum crazy talk.

        • STTBM says:

          McQuistan was pretty good until his final year here, when he was showing the signs of aging. He was way better than we had any right to expect. His first two games he did a nice job. Sowell hasnt.

          Its fair to give Sowell some time, as McQ was well versed in Cable’s system, having played it for years and he had years of experience playing, which Sowell lacks.

          All Im saying is right now Sowell is far worse than McQ was. Doesnt mean Sowell wont improve, just that so far he isnt acceptable.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        Lol I never said pay him. Glad he walked, personally. I’m getting an Ifedi jersey.

        Wouldn’t his return more likely free up backs and tight ends to run routes?

        My point was that other teams are backing up the trucks for Seattle OL.

        There isn’t a scheme like it across the league. Tom Cable really is one of the greats when it comes to coaching in the trenches. I think his collegiate evaluation leaves a bit to be desired, but our FO’s way is to get the guys our coaches want to work with.

        This is an area we as a community can better track and predict possible selections. They meet with nearly ever played they select.

        • STTBM says:

          I dont know about backing up trucks. No one went after Nowak, lol! And our non-starters picked up by other teams have pretty much all disappointed in their new homes too.

          Breno and Carp were picked up and overpaid by a rotten Jets team in turmoil. They had to overpay to get anyone decent, just as Seattle did during Carrols first couple years (Sidney Rice anyone?).

          Its not all on Cable. We have a whole scouting department that shares much of the blame for sucking at O-line talent evaluation. But neither is he excused from sharing blame.

          Cable WAS a good coach. His lines have been underperforming for years, despite having pretty fine Draft Capital to work with. There is little proof his teachings work in todays NFL. Time will tell, but its more likely his schemes are outdated than it is he will succeed and continue to prove out as a top line coach. He’s the Jeff Fisher of offensive line coaches to me, forever 7-9…

          • Kenny Sloth says:

            “Cable WAS a good coach. His lines have been underperforming for years, despite having pretty fine Draft Capital to work with. There is little proof his teachings work in todays NFL.”

            Lol ok. His teams have been incredible at running the ball.

            Since he was in Atlanta. When he was with Oakland. He prides himself in being a good coach. In transforming players into professionals.

            If you can’t/won’t appreciate his accomplishments that’s your own failure/problem.

            Feel free to do some research on his previous coaching gigs, but he’s the real deal. Not sure what people need to see before they realize he has done more with less than any OL coach in history not named Gibbs.

  21. Jeff M. says:

    Draft picks aside, there does seem to be a conscious attempt to build a line on the cheap from a salary cap standpoint.

    They’ve let all of Okung, Carpenter, Unger, Sweezy, and Giacomini go in FA or trade when they were up for market-price veteran deals, and replaced (or attempted to replace) all of them with guys on rookie deals or vet-min/near-vet-min reclamation project deals. They spend the least money of any team on the offensive line, and it seems to be a response to transitioning from a cheap-QB to expensive-QB cap era.

    When Russell Wilson was making next-to-no money, it allowed us to spend liberally everywhere else on the roster, bringing in expensive outside vets like Miller, Rice, Harvin, etc., locking up our own stars like Lynch, Kam, Sherman, Earl, Wright, Wagner, etc. Now he’s making franchise QB money, and the team wants to find a way to still keep Graham/Baldwin/Kearse as weapons for him and Sherman/Earl/Kam/Wagner/Wright/Bennett/Avril on defense (that’s a lot of high-dollar core guys…). They needed somewhere else to find big savings to hold onto those guys, and the OL is where they ended up.

    If you can keep nailing on draft picks (and/or bargain-bin FA) and bringing in the next Sweezy it’s fine to let guys go at the end of their rookie deals. But it means you start having to have a lot more “finds” per year. Because if you re-sign the successes and keep guys for a decade plus (which is the norm for OL, unless you’re trying to penny-pinch there), you only need a successful OL discovery every-other year. But if even the successful guys are leaving after year four (because their rookie contracts are ending) then you need to hit on multiple new OL per year.

    • Rob Staton says:

      “They’ve let all of Okung, Carpenter, Unger, Sweezy, and Giacomini go in FA or trade when they were up for market-price veteran deals, and replaced (or attempted to replace) all of them with guys on rookie deals or vet-min/near-vet-min reclamation project deals.”

      As the article notes, would you want to pay $6.5m a year for Sweezy? Or $5m a year for Carpenter? Or $4.5m a year for Breno? Or $7.4m a year for Unger?

      We can say they’ve made a conscious decision to build an O-line on the cheap, or we can say they’ve made a conscious effort to keep Avril and Bennett on $7.125m a year instead. Where’s the better value?

      • HawkFan907 says:

        I agree, you win with defense. That has been shown time and time again. I say spend the money on that side of the ball and let Cable go to work on the O line. I don’t think he gets enough credit honestly for doing what he does. If anything he turns O linemen into compensatory picks and gets the right pieces in place by mid-season.

        Speaking of D-linemen Rob, what do you think the Seahawks have in store for Frank Clark? Do you think they bring him up as the heir apparent to Bennett and let Bennett walk, or do you think they let Clark walk once his contract is up? It surely all depends on cap space, but with the way Clark has played I really hope he is a part of their future plans.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I don’t expect them to let Bennett go anywhere. I think he’ll finish his career in Seattle.

          Clark was a beast at Michigan, very underrated tape. He showed flashes as a rookie and now he’s looking incredible. I expect his role to continue to expand. We’ll see if he can become the player his potential suggests.

  22. Trevor says:

    Great piece as always Rob the detail and thought that goes into your write ups is second to none and greatly appreciated.

    Do you think a big reason for the struggles of the OL the last two years has anything to do with Cables ZBS scheme being less effective with the new cut block rules which have gotten increasing stricter the last two years. I remember watching the OL 2012-2014 and ever run play there were numerous bodies on the ground. You rarely see that anymore.

    Cable has never coached a great pass blocking OL anywhere he has been. If his run scheme is now less effective and causes more injuries for our OL does anyone else think perhaps this off season it might be an idea to look at something different?

    The Hawks are usually way ahead of the curve on most things but in this area it seems like they have a blindspot and are dropping the ball.

    That being said I truly believe the return of Ifedi and Vannett will significantly upgrade the run game.

    Webb is clearly this years Carey Williams and Sowell is just not a starting NFL LT. If Rob is right and Joe Thomas is not a viable option I am not sure what you do with that spot as I don’t see anyone in this years draft class who looks like they could come in an start day #1. Think about it Larmey Tunsil who everyone thought was the prototype LT is a guard at Miami and there are no players close to his level in this draft. S

    • vrtkolman says:

      I might be wrong, but I thought the new rules only applied to chop blocks (blind hits the D line doesn’t see coming), and cut blocks are still ok.

    • Rob Staton says:

      “Do you think a big reason for the struggles of the OL the last two years has anything to do with Cables ZBS scheme being less effective with the new cut block rules which have gotten increasing stricter the last two years. I remember watching the OL 2012-2014 and ever run play there were numerous bodies on the ground. You rarely see that anymore.”

      I don’t think so — or at least it’s too early to tell this year. Last year they ran the ball very well and we’re only two weeks into the season.

  23. Jackson says:

    Great writing. Thank you!

    My question is… why do our linemen get so injured while playing here and drink from the fountain of youth once they leave? We will see how RO does this year, but JC, BG and MU went injury free all last year. JRS was hurt before he started. Is our system that much more physical? If so, don’t we have to “assume” some diminished participation level and over -nvest in depth?

    • Rob Staton says:

      “My question is… why do our linemen get so injured while playing here and drink from the fountain of youth once they leave?”

      This is an incredibly physically demanding scheme for sure. Much more so than more pass-friendly schemes. It requires the OL to be much more active, engaged, on the move. Plus they often have to pass block for longer due to Wilson’s scrambling.

  24. STTBM says:

    Rob, I very much beg to differ that Carpenter was not a bad evaluation. Even his college coach was shocked they drafted him so high, and figured he was a third-rounder at best. He was also drafted to be a RT, which he utterly failed at. He missed a ton of games his rookie year because he ate himself out of shape after college, they missed games and played with injuries every single year after that, just like Okung.

    He was not particularly good at LG for Seattle either, and as a fit for Cable’s ZBS was pretty much a failure. Being below-average at LG his fourth year when he was a first round pick drafted to play RT equals failure in my book. Bust.

    He has done much better in NY, but is playing in a much different system.

    • Rob Staton says:

      But you’re making a mistake here STTBM in the way you judge that pick.

      The Seahawks got a four year starter who then departed for a second contract worth $5m a year. That’s a success. A lot of players leave the league after one year. Carp gave them a starter during the entirety of his stay and then started somewhere else. This isn’t Madden where you draft the guy with an 82 rating in R1 and then keep him for 12 years. And compared to his peers (Watkins, Carimi, Sherrod) he was a raving success and SEA took the best player available at that position.

      • LordSnow says:

        This is a really great explanation and also describes Bruce Irvin. Was he the next Lawrence Taylor? No. But he was totally worth the top 15 pick based on what we got out of him and what he got going forward.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Exactly. Bruce didn’t get a second contract — but he helped this team a ton for four years and SEA gets a 4th round comp pick in 2017 for him now he’s moved on. Not every good pick or evaluation = 10 year starter.

        • STTBM says:

          Irvin was a much more consistent and useful player than Carpenter ever was. He was a meh pick, not a great use of a first rounder but far from a bust.

          • LordSnow says:

            It sounds like you are expecting perfection from an imperfect world. And from an imperfect coaching staff. You must have complaints about all 32 teams in this league, because none of them hit on 100% of their first round picks. That includes New England, and we can look at Dominique Easley as a failed first rounder.

            Carpenter was drafted to be nothing more than a RT as a late first rounder. The fact that they moved him around until they found a position where he stuck and performed reasonably well speaks to a successful selection. Pro bowler? No. Serviceable and provided value to the seahawks? Absolutely.

      • STTBM says:

        But Carpenter wasnt a starter because he was good or beat anyone in an open competition. He was the starter because we had not a hell of a lot behind him, and he was given the job just as Sweezy was, without having to earn it.

        Fact is, he regularly graded out as average or worse. No player who misses as much time as he did, fails at the position he was drafted to play (RT), then struggles mightily at his next position, can be considered anything but a bust. He was a first round pick! Had he been a third rounder he would still have been considered not a great pick.

        Not a lot of first rounders leave the league after one year–even at pick 25–and when they do, they are considered busts. Unequivocally. Carimi was derailed by injuries, as was Sherrod. And looking at guys drafted in later rounds, Carp was not appreciably better.

        The worst part is Seattle knew Muhammad Wilkerson was a better choice, and liked him, but passed on him to take a G Cable was determined to make a RT.

        But you have to spin it pretty hard to make it anything other than a terrible pick, IMO. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  25. STTBM says:

    Not only that, but Seattle passed on many other players at other positions of need who became much better players. There were also many other G’s drafted after him who became better players for their teams. Just because a couple other teams drafted badly at the same position doesnt mean Seattle’s poor talent evaluation was any better than awful.

    Seattle’s expenditures in picks along the O-line the last six years only highlights their inability to draft well there. Time and time again, guys they choose specifically for certain traits (supposedly explosion, strength, toughness) fail to demonstrate those same qualities in the NFL. Time and time again guys they pass over and are taken after our line choices dramatically outperform our picks. Time and time again you see a player failing at his initial position, get moved to another, fail at that one, and leave the team, the league, or in Britts case, finally find a home at a third position.

    Spin that any way you like, but its failure, plain and simple. And I guarantee neither Carrol nor JS see it any other way when they discuss it behind closed doors. They know full well they have continually failed, and I bet its a major frustration for them and something they constantly work to fix. They just havent managed it yet, for whatever reason(s).

    • Rob Staton says:

      “Not only that, but Seattle passed on many other players at other positions of need who became much better players. There were also many other G’s drafted after him who became better players for their teams. Just because a couple other teams drafted badly at the same position doesnt mean Seattle’s poor talent evaluation was any better than awful.”

      This is revisionist history. Tell me about the careers of the two O-liners taken right after Carp — Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod.

      “Seattle’s expenditures in picks along the O-line the last six years only highlights their inability to draft well there.”

      Okung and Carp started and continue to start. Britt is starting in the league. Who’s spinning? People need to think outside of the box.

      • STTBM says:

        But neither Okung nor Carp fit our scheme. And they left. Okung I dont blame them for, they drafted who they had to, and he was worth the risk. He just couldnt hold up physically to Cable’s system. But Carp was lazy, and that led to injuries. He also didnt fit Cable’s system, as he was too slow and unathletic to do what Cable’s system required on a consistent basis.

        Drafting a guy at a position not valued as first round material (G) and reaching for a guy who isnt rated as highly as other guys at other positions available is what terrible teams do, and it ruins rosters. Yet thats exactly what Seattle did in 2011, and it cost them.

        You dont draft a RB in the first round who the league rates as a third rounder just because the draft stinks at that position, for instance. If you do, it will cost you. But again, thats what Seattle did with Carp. And it didnt work out very well. It was a mistake they will be careful not to repeat.

        • STTBM says:

          Thinking outside the box is one thing, but insisting bad picks and decisions were actually just fine is ridiculous. I get that you think JS and PC have a great system set up. I agree. But they arent perfect, and they have made mistakes, both in the big picture and on specific players, whether it be in the Draft or FA. And some of those mistakes have cost us bigtime, such as Carpenter, Moffitt, and Harvin. Jury is still out on Graham.

          • Rob Staton says:

            I don’t think they’re perfect. I think throwing the baby out with the bathwater because they lost to the Rams is asinine. I didn’t read any of these arguments on here during the off-season or after the Miami win.

        • Rob Staton says:

          “But neither Okung nor Carp fit our scheme”

          I think PC and JS best know their own scheme — and they drafted Okung and Carp.

  26. UKhawk says:

    Hi Rob, Just listened to the podcast and agree with you that the only player in this year’s class who the Hawks should consider moving up for is Fournette. Given he looks like a generational talent, and as close to ‘cant miss’ as possible Im interest to know what it would take to make a Ricky Williams -type move up the board? I think this might be entirely feasible given JSPS preference for stocking the team with lower draft picks & UDFAs. Would 2 x 1s & 2 x 2s work?

    • LordSnow says:

      Too risky for me. What if you did what Ditka did with Ricky Williams and he ends up with an injury plagued career? You’d set yourself back for years.

      This team relies on volume picking of players with unique traits. Then coaching them up.

  27. Fijihawksfan says:

    Another excellent analysis, Rob. I hope that Sowell is a mere stopgap at LT and that Gilliam will go back there once Ifedi returns and bumps Webb (a/k/a the Human Turnstile) out to RT. Then when Ifedi moves out to RT next year, hopefully Rees will be ready to step in at RG. So there is a succession plan, I believe. I don’t think we signed Sowell to be a starter. (Nor Webb, for that matter.) But just like last year, once the line is settled on it will take a half-season for them to start clicking.

    • STTBM says:

      It appears Seattle is looking at Odhiambo at LT and LG only, at least thus far. It would be more likely they move Glowinsky to RG if they move Ifedi to RT, IMO, and then Odhiambo to LG, than moving Odhiambo to the other side. Glowinsky practiced at RG all last year and did very well in his only start there. Odhiambo hasnt even practiced at RG to my knowledge.

      But Ive been wrong before. Cable does whatever he wants.

      • HawkFan907 says:

        Let’s not forget George Fant either. If he makes a leap the same way Gilliam did, and keeps showing progress the way he has, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the competition. He is just so dang athletic that Cable won’t be able to resist.

        • Volume12 says:

          Yeah, I think they have plans or an idea of what they wanna do on the left side of the O-line going forward. Next year and the future that is.

          Fant or Odhiambo at LT. Betting that’ll be the big battle next off-season. My $ is on Fant, and Odhiambo as more of our ‘next’ Alvin Bailey type. But, I wouldn’t rule Odhiambo out.

          As for the right side? IMO they’ll take a RG or RT early. Preferably a guy that can play both like Ifedi. Speaking of Ifedi, if they draft a RG, it might guarantee Ifedi moves to RT, and of course if they draft a RT, Ifedi stays at RG. But, if you draft a versatile O-lineman in the Ifedi mold…

          Then Let Fant and Odhiambo compete for LT, and experiment with said rookie and Ifedi to see who belongs where.

          • Fijihawksfan says:

            Fant looks like Walter Jones. If he plays half as well, we will be set.

            • Mr. Offseason says:

              Real question: Can Fant start at some point this year?

              • Volume12 says:

                I kinda hope not.

                Here’s why. If he’s not 100% ready and they throw him in there, which I don’t think they would if that were the case, and he struggles, then what? Because if he does and you take him out or put back on the bench, he’ll never be the same. His confidence will be shot and he’ll always be looking over his shoulder.

                And if you do leave him in and let him ‘take his lumps,’ is that any different than letting Sowell do the same? At least this way, with Sowell, your not letting a potential future LT stunt his growth.

                Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m not convinced we’ll see him before late in the season, (week 9-10) if at all this year.

                • Volume12 says:

                  Said that backwards. Not convinced we’ll see him at all this season, if so, later on like week 9-10.

                • Trevor says:

                  Agree completely Vol. I hope they give him the year to develop physically and learn the position. He has enormous upside if they are patient I think and far superior to Sokoli from a movement and footwork standpoint with his basketball background.

          • STTBM says:

            Fant is terrifically fascinating. But he’s MILES from being ready to play LT in the NFL. He’s like Sokoli, and reach that will either become a big hit, or else fizzle out. Not much in between…

            Meanwhile we’re getting killed at LT, RG, and RT. We need help NOW, and none is to be found.

            Sure wish we hadnt sent Evens packing, he’d be miles better than an injured Webb at RG….

  28. STTBM says:

    At least we’re not moaning and groaning about how inept our C is, as we were this time last year. I was sorry to see Lewis get cut, but am thrilled and surprised that Britt has done so well. And Glowinsky despite his occasional lapses is already better at LG than Britt. Ifedi was a revelation at RG before getting hurt. So all in all, Seattle improved the interior of the line a good deal–we just took a big step back at LT and havent improved at RT thus far.

    Once Ifedi is back and Webb heals up the line should improve a good deal.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      Can we still bitch about the long snapper? He almost put one in the dirt last game. Why can’t Britt do that too?

      • STTBM says:

        I think its stinks they cut Gresham. Dude was good at his job, and its a huge risk going with the guy they have now. All for a tiny bit of money, too…

        This is why guys like Bennett want to be paid NOW, because the team often has little or no loyalty to the players. For ever situation like Garrett Scott, you have several Greshams, Mebanes (they tried to threaten him with cutting him to make him take a paycut his last year and he called their bluff), or Red Bryants.

  29. Volume12 says:

    Clemson vs Georgia Tech tonight. Seattle scouting this one.

    2nd time they’ve already scouted Clemson this year and GA-Tech has one of the top 4 defenses in the country.

    Clemson- CB Cordrea Tankersley, RB Wayne Gallman, DT Carlos Watkins, WR Mike Williams & Artavis Scott, TE Jordan Leggett, S/DB Jadar Johnson

    GA Tech- LB PJ Davis, WR Ricky LeJeune, DL Francis Kallon (rumored freak athlete from England), and I’m forgetting another freakish D-lineman and RB they have. Not sure if QB Justin Thomas is still there. He’s a BJ Daniels type of prospect IMO.

    • icb12 says:

      Mike Williams is a beast.

      Clemson DE Wilkins?? Looks good too.

      • Volume12 says:

        Wilkins is a beast. Only a FR or SO though I believe.

        Clemson HC Dabo Sweeney reminds me of a younger version of PC. Players coach, upbeat, positive attitude. And you can tell how much he enjoys teaching the game and developing his young studs.

  30. Ground_Hawk says:

    Great article Rob! Thanks for your work. I have two questions related to the OL talent available for the 2017 draft. You mentioned the other day about OT’s Cam Robinson and Mike McGlinchey, and how you view them as being not the most polished prospects. My first question is where do you currently see them going, based off of the premium value placed on tackles in the NFL? My other question is do you think that either is likely to break the top 10, because of a teams need? Anyone’s input is appreciated. Thanks SDB community!

    • Rob Staton says:

      Cam Robinson could go top-20 based on potential, frame, upside and athleticism. His technique is a mess though and he’s not an exceptional pass blocker. Being the best of a bad bunch might help him. McGlinchey I’m just not crazy about so far. Looks the part but what kind of athlete is he? I will watch him again several times this year.

      Robinson could crack top ten if he finishes the year strongly and has a great combine. But this could be the first year in a long time without multiple R1 tackles and without a big name going early.

      • Ground_Hawk says:

        Over the years I’ve become amazed at how important having a great combine performance can be for these athletes coming out of college. I mean obviously we can get a feel for a player’s talent and football I.Q. by watching games and game-tape, but knowing their athletic capabilities is a major game changer for their future in the pros. I’m thinking about guys like Eric Striker, and even Michael Sam, who had nice production in college, but who are not athletic enough to really make an impact at the NFL level.

  31. nichansen01 says:

    What do people think about the Joe Thomas rumors? Not at browns practice, took browns mention out of his twitter bio, and seahawks have an open spot on the 53…(52)

    • vrtkolman says:

      Ohhhh boy, those are juicy rumors.

    • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

      I still think 0% chance

    • Rob Staton says:

      He practised with the Browns today, that info was an error by some Miami reporter.

      He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to me that pays too much attention to his Twitter account.

      And I’ll stay consistent with this — if there was a viable deal to trade for Joe Thomas, someone would’ve done it by now.

      • Volume12 says:

        Didn’t they add former LSU RB Terrence Magee? Or was that to the PS?

        • bankhawk says:

          That was to the practice squad (along with Kevin Smith) I believe. Do you have much on him. I know he comes through the Ravens, by way ò the Rams. I watched his LSU highlight reel and thought it looked a little like Collins-power, some speed, plenty of willingness to take on tacklers. At least a bit ò fuel for the furnaces ò competitor.

          • bankhawk says:

            Óops-competition.

          • Volume12 says:

            Yeah, I liked him coming out. They interviewed and met with him at the 2015 Shrine Game.

            Just another tough, physical, runner that can catch it nice!y. They seem to like these RBs that don’t do any one thing particularly well or have any one outstanding trait. Collins, they liked RB Mike Davis, interviewed/met TJ Yeldon, Terrance West.

            Almost identical build to Rawls.

  32. icb12 says:

    Malcolm Mitchell looks good for the pats.

    I really like him coming out of Georgia.

  33. Fijihawksfan says:

    I don’t know if anyone would argue the Hawks are not spending enough draft picks on the O-line. They are widely acknowledged to not spend much of their salary cap on the O-line.

    • Rob Staton says:

      The reason for a lack of spending is detailed in the piece. Who were they going to pay? Sweezy $6.5m a year? Carp $5m? Breno $4.5m? They’re getting Avril and Bennett at $7m.

      • vrtkolman says:

        Yeah, I think it’s a “wrong time, wrong place” regarding the O line spending. They either aren’t worth the price, or they simply don’t have the money at the time to afford them. I’m betting that if Ifedi is an all pro after his rookie deal is up, they won’t have any problem spending $10 million a year on him.

      • RealRhino2 says:

        I didn’t really understand your point there. Are you saying paying any of those guys middling OL money would be bad b/c it would cause unrest when Bennett and Avril saw average OL getting paid close to what they are getting?

        Surely you aren’t suggesting that signing those guys at those costs would mean not keeping Bennett, Avril, etc.? Those guy were already signed, for one, and they certainly wouldn’t be first on the chopping block. But if you suggest it would mean not keeping somebody else, I’m okay with that. I already said before the season started we should have cut Graham and used that money on the OL. Frankly, I think maybe KJ at his cost is a luxury we can’t afford if we are going to have such a bad OL (and I love KJ, but not sure you couldn’t find a good-decent WLB for cheap).

        • Rob Staton says:

          No — I’m saying all of these players got good money (very good in some cases) and the value wasn’t there for Seattle.

          I also would take K.J. Wright every day of the week and twice on Sunday’s over a bit of free cap room in order to re-sign a Carpenter or Sweezy. That would be madness IMO.

  34. vrtkolman says:

    Belicheck is simply the best coach of all time. He doesn’t even need Brady to be honest. On the other side, Houston is just a meh team to me. They might make the playoffs again, but I’m not a fan of Brock or their coaching staff. I do LOVE their receiving corp though. Hopkins and Fuller, wow.

    • Volume12 says:

      It really begs the question. Who’s more responsible for NE’s 15 years of constant success? Brady or Belicheck? Both sure. But, let’s say Brady flopped after Bledsoe went down against Pitt in the AFCC game back in 2001 or 02 was it? Would it have mattered going forward? I’m personally beginning to question that.

      • vrtkolman says:

        Brady wasn’t a huge factor in those 3 Superbowl teams, it was a highly paid and stacked defense that did the dirty work. I’m almost convinced that Brady is more of a product of BB than anything. The stats back that up.

        • Trevor says:

          Come on really Brady is a product of the system? Really? That cannot be a serious comment.

          I hate the Pats more than anyone. Agree BB is the best coach of all time and can win with inferior talent but to say one of the top 3 QBs of all time is a product of the system is laughable.

        • Trevor says:

          Also how do the stats back it up. The year he got hurt NE did not make the playoffs. Brissett had one decent game when Tex had no tape on him. Lets have a little reality check here.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      Belechik, not only for his coaching but also because they consistently have a good team and they have backups who are also ready to step in and play.

      • Volume12 says:

        Who’s the QB this week? Julian Edelman? ?

        • STTBM says:

          Brissett tore ligaments in his thumb. They may actually start Edelman at qb next game.

          That hurts them at two positions, as Edelman is their best WR.

          Whoever they start, expect them to kick ass on ST’s and D, and to run the ball. But if that doesnt work, they’ll find a way. Because they are adept at adaptation….

          • Volume12 says:

            Yeah, that’s why I’m curious. I saw that Brissett tore up his thumb.

            And Minnesota, as a side note, is starting to get banged up. Peterson probably out for a long time, QB Sam Bradford, DT Sharif Floyd, OT Matt Kalil, and I think one more defender are all gonna need surgery. Gonna be interesting to see how they fair the rest of the way.

            • STTBM says:

              Yes, I really feel for Minny fans. We think WE have it bad at the moment…the hits just keep coming for Zimmer and company. I was really excited to see what Bridgewater could do now that it appears Zim trusts him to go deep….

              Minnesota and Cleveland have been bit by the injury bug sooo hard…

              If Minny even makes the playoffs Zim should get coach of the year.

  35. Glor says:

    you have to ask yourself, how are the patriots doing it. Their o-line looks fine, their D looks great, and they are undefeated using essentially a scrub at QB and they manage to do it under the cap. That is why I have less sympathy for the hawks online play, everyone in the league has to deal with cap and players. was the 10mil a year for DB worth not having one or two studs on our online? don’t get me wrong, I really like DB, but at what cost, we have had better luck bringing in UDFA at WR than we have on the o-line.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Which studs did they choose not to sign over Baldwin?

      And the impact of losing DB would be incredible in that locker room. He’s a major leader on that team.

      • Glor says:

        Studs may be a loose term, but you can’t argue that 10 million a year wouldn’t improve the online from what we have seen so far this year.
        Starting offense, 1 TD in 4 preseason games
        The same over 8 quarters of the regular season.

    • Tien says:

      Let’s have a little perspective here. Even though I really hate the Patriots, I have to grudgingly consider that they might be a hair better than the Hawks in the front office and coaching department. I’ve been really impressed by how Belichik has been able to win at AZ and then blow out both the Dolphins & the Texans (the latter two are admittedly very mediocre teams) with his back-up QBs. But I also think the difference between our team and theirs is not so great that if our team was at full (or nearly full) strength that I wouldn’t like our chances against them. But other than the Patriots, what other NFL team has the coaching and success our FO has at picking talented players at good value? Our OL is our Achilles heel again this year but I’d put our team against any other team at every other position. Almost every team has a weakness(es) and I think ours is exacerbated by the fact that the OL has been the same weakness for the last 2+ years and damn, if only we had the perfect team/a strong OL along with what we already have (ha!), we would have won multiple SBs by now. It’s so early in the season and it would not surprise me at all if this OL gels and becomes competent again by the end of the season…and I agree with Rob, this OL is still playing better than how they did in the first 3 or 4 games last season! Also, many of us have had to suffer through the horrid years of the 90s and the late 00s and I for one, still can’t believe that we actually won the SB in ’13!! So for me, though I get frustrated and bummed like everyone else after each loss, in the back of my mind, I also know that we’re still so lucky to have a team that has been legitimately competitive for the SB for the last 3 years and are again this year…and that’s awesome!!

  36. Volume12 says:

    Kenny, really starting to crush on Oregon RB ‘Rolls’ Royce Freeman. I get it.

    His feet are incredible. Might be the best in this class. For RBs especially, the game is played on an axis of 3. He can play on all three.

    He’s a big back, but man he can do anything these smaller backs can do too. That’s a rarity.

    I would like to see him lower his shoulder more, but watching this guy run, he breaks tackles at a consistently high rate. I’m watching him going ‘he’s gonna break this tackle and the defender has leverage and the angle.’ ‘Oh, here comes another broken tackle.’

    He is explosive. Flat-out explodes out of his jump cuts which he might be the most skilled at out of this years RB crop.

    Lateral agility is phenomenal. Love his ability to work in small areas. Great balance, good lower body power, and some of these runs he’s horizontal to the LOS and makes a ridiculous 90° cut that most backs can’t make.

    He is the real deal my man. And perfectly suited for a ZBS.

    • Volume12 says:

      *For RBs, WRs, and TEs especially.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      He’s a bad boy and I know we’re both Oregon fans so itd be nice if someone would play devil’s advocate.

      Seems like the type that Really puts in the work, after watching his tape from 15 to 16.

      Gotta agree on every point adding that he has that bit of finesse back to his game despite his size. Agree he needs to be more physical.

      That’s my concern with this class, outside of Fournette, Perine, Enwere and admittedly Mixon there isn’t a lot of physicality.

      And really the only one with the right mix is Fournette.

      Was thinking today how Elite bellcow backs are just about the most rare position out there today.

      Maybe LT’s are less common. But when guys like Gurley and inevitably Fournette come into the league and are instantly in the upper echelon of the group, it really turns my head.

      The learning curve is relatively small for RB’s but maybe it’s a chicken-egg scenario with the lack of elite OL around the league

      • Volume12 says:

        ‘Seems like the type that Really puts in the work, after watching his tape from 15 to 16.’

        Bingo. That’s a great point. He’s even better this year than he was last year.

      • Volume12 says:

        Pitt RB James Conner and Texas RB D’Onta Foreman are 2 highly physical backs as well.

        And Gallman isn’t great, but he’s a tough runner man.

      • Volume12 says:

        That’s why I’m so high on this years RB class and next years.

        You have half the teams in the NFL trying to have mediocre talent and JAGs as their lead backs, and then the other half of the league is starting guys that whose better days have more than passed them by.

        That to me is why the RB position in the NFL is a complete dumpster fire right now.

  37. Aaron says:

    Austin Seferian-Jenkins was released by the bucs today.

  38. Rob Staton says:

    A note to the community…

    The Seahawks are a franchise without a rich history. They have only one Super Bowl Championship. When I started this blog it was to offer a platform for fans to debate who they’d be taking in the top ten of the draft (providing some light cheer and excitement given the football product was hideous).

    Since Pete Carroll arrived with John Schneider, things have been different. Totally different. Seattle’s record between 2012-2015 is 46-18. They have created the team of the decade so far. Their offense has regularly ranked in the top 10 per DVOA, the defense has led the league in scoring for an unprecedented four years in a row and they’ve been the top overall team per DVOA for four years in a row too.

    They are not perfect. Not every aspect of the team is perfect. Not every move they’ve made is perfect. Yet their collective decisions, the sum of the parts, has been to develop a team we’ll be taking about for decades — even if they never win another title.

    Debate and criticism will always be allowed. Of course it will, especially immediately after the game in the weekly ‘instant reaction’ post. What I’m not going to do though is allow us to spend all week ragging on the coaches, front office, staff or players after one ugly loss. We know better than that. And while disappointment will rightly be expressed, when it goes over the top I am going to try and bring a sense of perspective to the table and get us moving forward as a community.

    It’s time to look ahead to another great week of CFB and draft talk — and hopefully another win against the Niners.

    Go Hawks.

    • RealRhino2 says:

      Well, we have a better history against Chip and the 49ers than we do against Fisher and the Rams, so fingers crossed. I just hope Russ is getting better.

      Question for those who pay attention to such things. Do you think Richardson has maintained enough straight line speed to be effective at pressing the defense to open up the underneath stuff?

    • bankhawk says:

      Well said Rob, and a welcome stance for the blog to adopt/maintain. What do you see as the feature games on the slate for this weekend in CF? How do you like our hometown Dawgs chances? How far do you see them taking it? Cheers, for all you do…

      • Rob Staton says:

        It will be fascinating to see what Washington do this weekend. Will tell us a lot more than the previous games did. Over here we’re getting Georgia vs Ole Miss, Florida vs Tennessee and Stanford vs UCLA. Out of the three, I’m most looking forward to watching Florida’s linebacker Alex Anzalone.

        • Volute12 says:

          Hell yeah.

          I’m always game for discussing the draft, prospects for Seattle, prospects just in general, and CFB itself.

          Glad you run this place the way you do Rob. It’s why I only come here and not other blogs. Reason? The negativity, nit picking, and personal attacks (which don’t happen here, but I digress).

          Can we get an open thread tommorow?

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      Go Hawks

    • Tien says:

      Damn, I said basically the same thing above Rob (though not as eloquently) before I read this comment by you!:)

  39. Dumas says:

    Question: Does anyone know or can anyone speculate on why the Hawks held Collins over Pope? I’ve seen on this blog before that a) Collins needs more downs in order to grab the flow of the game and produce, and b) that the Hawks often hold onto more dubious players not on their in game or pre-season performance but what they might see in camp and practice. But pope seemed like he could light up and play, which seems like it would be useful in a RBBC back-up.
    It seems like we'”” be seeing a lot more of Collins this weekend with Rawls ‘doubtful’ and Prosise still injured. But before we seem him play, why do you think we kept him?

    • bankhawk says:

      Has anyone followed Popes progress closely since we waived him? Hes on theJets practice squad currently, unless Im mistaken? Be interesting to watch how that goes.

    • Rob Staton says:

      It was a tight call and Collins got the edge.

    • RealRhino2 says:

      I can speculate 😉 My guess is they preferred the physicality of Collins (that they don’t get from CMike and maybe not even from Rawls, though he certainly has the attitude/effort). I also think they might have seen Collins as *potentially* a lead back (a CJ Anderson type? Eddie Lacy type?) whereas Pope’s size and build meant he would always just be a change of pace guy. IMO.

    • Tien says:

      I liked what I saw of Pope also but until he actually gets playing time and makes an impact in the league, I’m not losing any sleep over the Hawks’ decision to keep Collins over Pope.

  40. bankhawk says:

    Rob, in making it clear that the genesis of the blog pre-dates the PC/JS era, I’m moved to ask when you first developed your interest in the team and how they initially caught your eye. What’s the backstory there?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I lived in Vancouver for a while and travelled to Seattle to watch a game. Became hooked and began following the team. Now I try and get to Seattle every year for a game. This year I’m going to the Eagles game.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        How about the story of how you came to be so well-versed in the sport and develop your eye for talent? Just watching and reading a lot about it?

        Also, do you prefer to watch soccer if you had to choose?

        • Rob Staton says:

          I work as a soccer commentator and radio host but prefer football to watch. Appreciate the kind words… I don’t believe I have any special skills, merely a passion and borderline obsession for the game (and a patient wife).

  41. icb12 says:

    Anybody watching USC/Utah?

    • Volute12 says:

      Really like this Utah D-line.

      WR Tim Patrick is kinda ‘Seahawky’.

      And this DB Marcus Williams? Looks very intriguing.

      • Volume12 says:

        And USC CB Adoree Jackson is much better than I originally thought. Still overrated a bit for me, but tons of potential and that athleticism is freaky.

  42. Volute12 says:

    Rob, what do you think of this OT from Wisconsin-Ryan Ramcyzk that PFF says is a sleeper 1st round OT?

    There’s some flaws in his game for sure, but he looks like exciting for only playing 1 year of division 1. Dancing bear man.

    • Volute12 says:

      Shoulda said sleeper early round OT.

      • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

        2. Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

        We’ve highlighted Ramczyk previously, and while he still has a huge test pending in Week 5 against Michigan, it’s not too early to put him on the radar. Ramczyk has yet to allow a pressure on 100 pass blocking attempts, and he’s done so while displaying the good movement skills necessary to play offensive tackle. That does include a game against LSU, so it’s not as if he hasn’t been challenged yet this season. In the run game, he’s also graded well, moving defenders at the point of attack and making blocks on the move, though there has been the occasional whiff. File Ramczyk under the “want to see more” category, but it’s been a great start to 2016. ~ PFF

        Highlights to me… 1) no pressures allowed 2) a solid to good run blocker in space

        • Volume12 says:

          He moves effortlessly in space. Very smooth.

          Quick off the ball, really transitions well to a strong anchor. Runs his feet on contact! His pass sets could be deeper, but this dude is exciting.

          Thought he held up good against one of the best young pass rushers in the nation in LSU’s Arden Key.

          • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

            I’m assuming he is being projected as a OT at the next level.
            Does he primarily play LT or RT or does he have position flexibility? (OG/OT/C)

            I think you can pencil in Britt at C, Ifedi at LG and Glow at LG in 2017.
            That only leave 2 spots to fill, LT/RT 🙂

            I guess, do we think the answer is currently on the Seahawks or are they going to need to take a high draft pick and utilize it on OL in 2017?????

    • Rob Staton says:

      Is there any Draft Breakdown tape?

  43. East Side Stevie says:

    Great game tonight Im kinda glad Utah came back and won I enjoyed that

  44. Kmed says:

    Thanks for the great work Rob. 100% agree with your assessment of the line situation. Who else would we have grabbed? La’el Collins with one of our 7th round picks is the only one I wish we would have done. He was worth a flyer that late in the draft, but with optics on his situation I get that would make a GM nervous.

    Thanks for all the hard work!

  45. icb12 says:

    Does anybody actually get the big ten network??

    Good grief. Trying to watch MSU/Wisc