O-line issues dogging NFL, not just Seahawks

Eric Fisher has struggled since entering the league

NFL teams are facing a crisis. A situation that could potentially challenge the game for a generation.

Offensive linemen are struggling in the modern era.

It’s no real surprise. We’ve talked for years on this blog about the top High School athletes choosing to play defense. The big schools are rich in defensive line talent. The O-line positions are being shunned as a consequence — and there’s a significant mismatch developing in college football.

This is starting to filter into the leagues and have an impact. College teams are adapting their offenses to counter the problem and it’s playing at least some part in the increase in high-octane spread schemes. The quicker you get the ball out the less reliance on your O-line to block that 5-star recruit. Offenses are being simplified to the Nth degree.

O-liners aren’t being coached to prepare for the NFL. They appear to be being coached to survive merely in college.

Mark Schlereth went on Brock and Salk last week and talked about the time he’s spent helping the Denver Broncos O-line during training camp. He spoke openly about the lack of technique Denver’s young O-line had shown and criticised the way young linemen are being prepared for the NFL.

I watched several NFL pre-season games over the last two days and it’ll be at least some comfort to Seahawks fans that their team isn’t the only one with issues. As the older generation of linemen move on — teams are trying to install younger players into their scheme with seriously mixed results.

The Dallas Cowboys have crafted the best line in football with sound judgement and big investment. Their left tackle, center and one of their guards were drafted in the first round. It also helps that Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin were all really good players in college. Smith was an incredible athlete playing right tackle at USC with limitless potential. Frederick was a technically gifted mauler at Wisconsin and Martin is good enough to play any position on a NFL line. Smart picks, big investment. They’re benefitting as a consequence.

Not every team can go in this direction of course (Smith and Martin were both top-16 picks) but it seems the league is very aware of the problem and clubs are trying to find ways around the issue of more athletic defensive lines. This is partly why we saw Eric Fisher’s dramatic rise to become the #1 overall pick in 2013. He was the best ‘athlete’ at offensive tackle that year. Fisher has generally struggled but you can see the thought process in Kansas City’s pick. Greg Robinson was another quick riser the following year for similar reasons.

In Seattle’s case they’ve collected a number of athletic linemen that fit a specific profile. They’re also quietly setting a new trend — the conversion of defensive linemen into O-liners. More teams are trying this now — even in college. Cam Erving, a recent first round pick by the Browns, originally played defense.

Expect to see more of this over the next few years in college and the NFL. With so many college recruits opting to play D it makes sense that several will be asked to convert like Erving.

Is it going to act as an equaliser though?

That’s the issue really. Can a rag tag bunch of former D-liners be brought together to challenge the best pass rushers (and athletes) in the NFL as they learn on the hop? Or are we destined to see a new era in the NFL where teams have to go the college route and find alternative schemes and systems to compensate for overmatched offenses?

The Seahawks are already kind of doing this by using a mobile quarterback and accepting that their scheme will involve a lot of scrambling, read-option and controlled chaos. Teams like New England and Indianapolis/Denver have been using variations of the spread for years to protect Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Now Chip Kelly’s offense is in the league.

The concept of time in the pocket could very soon be a thing of the past. Mobility, improvisation and composure might develop into the most important characteristics a quarterback can have. It’d be a generational change from the more orthodox pocket passer that has dominated the NFL for years.

Unless the league can find a way to sufficiently match-up against increasingly athletic defensive lines — they’re going to have to consider new schemes, styles and variations. Just like many college teams. That in turn could help the transition from college-to-NFL for offensive lineman. But otherwise it could be a real struggle for teams to protect up front.

*****************************************************************

In terms of Seattle’s O-line performance last night — it was scarily bad at times. I made a podcast appearance with Kenneth Arthur during the summer and suggested a raw, untested O-line could cost Seattle the first two games of the season (@ St. Louis, @ Green Bay). It wouldn’t be any reason to panic with a less formidable part of the schedule to follow — but 0-2 isn’t out of the question and the line could be the reason why.

It’s clear whoever eventually does start needs time — and that’s before we even question whether the talent is good enough. The Seahawks are hoping that later round picks and UDFA’s can fill the holes left by players drafted early (James Carpenter, Max Unger).

Facing a frightening Rams D-line on the opening weekend and needing to go to Green Bay to follow will be a serious test of what appears to be a weak or at least inexperienced group. The #1’s were manhandled in the Denver game.

The right side of Sweezy and Britt will always be better against the run than the pass. The revolving door at left guard and center during camp is yet to provide any clarity. At least Russell Okung is healthy and looks in good shape. At this stage, 16 games from Okung feels absolutely vital.

If they had any cap room we could take about Evan Mathis. He appears to be holding out for the kind of money Seattle simply cannot afford. An extra experienced, cool head on that O-line seems critical at the moment.

An underrated aspect of an O-line is familiarity. The best lines work as a group with genuine chemistry. It’s very hard for the Seahawks to develop that in pre-season when two spots are up for grabs — including the starting center.

We’ve often played down the O-line struggles in the past on this blog. Part of Seattle’s mantra is to invite pressure and get Wilson on the move. Yet things seem a little more serious this year and we need to see progress next week against the Chiefs. Tom Cable has a real test on his hands.

98 Comments

  1. Ben2

    I heard the Schlereth interview,too. He specifically mentioned how hand us and footwork were undeveloped – OL guys didn’t even understand the terminology he was using when he was trying to teach them. The Broncos, Giants, and Panthers have OL situations as bad as ours.

  2. Rooky

    I’ve been wondering about the Evan Mathis question for weeks! As it just seemed to eerily quiet on that front. Like most other big time signings the Hawks have made the last two years I was expecting them to announce it right before or after Wilson & Wagner’s deals got done but, to no avail.

    Maybe it’ll still happen but, just seems like it would’ve been ideal to get him in camp earlier and build some continuity with the rest of the O-Line.

    Just my 2 cents but, seems crazy a guard rated as high as him is not on a roster yet!

    • Jeff M.

      Mathis would be on a roster already if he were willing to sign for something less than top dollar. The only way we could possibly afford him is some crazy structure where there’s basically no money this year and then a giant guaranteed roster bonus next year that we’d later convert into a signing bonus to prorate it over the rest of the contract. But you’d end up with him on such high cap numbers in the future that we couldn’t keep *any* of Okung/Sweezy/Irvin, plus you’d destroy locker room chemistry by mortgaging the future for an outsider while telling Bennett and Kam that there’s no money available.

  3. rowdy

    The big problem with the oline is that the run blocking didn’t look to good either. In years past we got by with below average pass pro because we had elite run blocking. Then again it’s one game in to preseason and there not even game planning yet. My hope is they weren’t catering to there strength to see what they needed to work on with their weaknesses.

    • Robert

      These last few years, I often wonder how good our run blocking truly is. It’s hard for me to calculate how the RW factor and Beast factor make our OL and running game better than they really are.

  4. footballnerd

    Could we cut someone other than mebane and pickup chris meyers?

    • Trevor

      This defense will be fine without Mebane. Rubin, Hill and then either Staten, Mcgill or D Smith as Dts. They showed they can win without him last year.

      This OL needs an immediate upgrade. I like Myers too but Mathis is a better option. An even better option would have been both and let the rookies spend a year learning the ropes for a couple of zone blocking veterans. The window for this team to win Super Bowls is now and this OL has disaster written all over it as it currently sits.

      • Robert

        I am scared about life after Mebane. He forces the other team to double team him on most plays AND he plays those 2 blockers to a stalemate, which allows our LB’s to stay clean and make plays!

      • Alex

        You’re underselling Mebane. He is a genuine 2 gapper who can also offer some pass rush. There is no one on the roster like him this year or last year. Last year, we somewhat mitigated his loss with surprisingly good play from Kevin Williams and Jordan Hill. When Hill went out, the middle of our defense became overly soft and susceptible to the run. It was an issue that came up in the SB when the Patriots did run the ball.

        This year, we don’t have Kevin Williams and hope Rubin can somewhat pick up the slack. The others beside Hill are all unproven to say anything definitive.

  5. Mylegacy

    Rob, last year I often used the mantra that our OLine was; “…not a Championship team quality unit.”

    This year I’m leaning more towards; “OMG, LOL.” Seriously, at this point I can’t see a path to enough cohesion and competence on the OLine to even consider us as legitimate SB contenders.

    Tom Cable had better have more rabbits under his hat than can be deemed mathematically possible under the laws of physics. IF – DangeRuss can lead us to glory this year – it’ll prove, beyond any shadow of a doubt – that he is a superstar! Heck, if he stays ALIVE this year he’ll prove he’s a superstar!

  6. rowdy

    Rob, what’s your opinion of the rbs? Everyone talks about rawls but from what I’ve seen and read smith has been the better back. I would really like to see better run blocking in the next couple of games to see what they can really do. I believe rawls had the only good hole to run through all night. Every other carry was meet with contact in the backfield. I definitely want to see more of smith, he look natural catching the ball as well.

    • JeffC

      I don’t get all the Rawls hype. It sounded like the next Jim Brown was coming on and I see a pretty nice backup option, but he doesn’t look like a feature back. Looks like a poor man’s Justin forsett. The seattle version. The oline sucked but minus the Cmike fumble, he and Smith looked like they could keep the chains moving. Turbin still runs the same to me. Down after first contact.

      • Volume12

        Why did people expect Turbin, C-mike, or Rawls to be our next feature back? All these guys ceilings were as a no 2 or 3 back in a RBBC, which IMO is what Seattle will inevitably go wth once Lynch retires.

        Rawls has a ton of potential. He does stop his feet when receiving the hand-off, needs to just plant his lead foot in the ground and get upfield too, but he has nice hands, runs hard/behind his pads, embraces contact, etc.

        Rod Smith is a nice H-back option I think. If Rawls ran through the bhiggest hole of the night, then Rod Smith was impressive in the fact he played against a prevent defense and a defense that wasn’t exactly attacking.

        • JeffC

          That’s the hype coming out of training camp. WHen I hear Danny Oneill etc rave about him on Kiro (while at work I have the headphones on that station all day), you’d think they have the replacement in house ready to show people another of Schneider’s genius finds. I don’t know how many seahawk fans I’ve talked to who think Turbin is going to blow the NFL away when Lynch retires and they point to that big run in preseason last year where he ran through a hole the oline created for him that was 5 yards wide.

          Rod Smith looks like he has a little arian foster in his game, at least against third stringers. He was sliding through gaps and getting positive yardage. I do think CMike has feature back potential if he could get the rest of his game right, but that’s the 64000 dollar question.

          • rowdy

            Cmike fumble was a huge blow for him taking the next step. However the rest of his problems were none existent, blocking and switching the ball, he seemed to fix those. It was raining and the next snap after his fumble was just as bad as his. I still have hope for him but im not counting on him like I was last year.

        • Robert

          I agree. With the CAP exhausted on core players, I think they will be a RBBC team after the Beast snarls his last. To that end, they will have to find RB’s that pound the crap out of defenses in the form of bigger guys like Rod Smith…and Brandon Cottom. They just aren’t gonna find another 220 pound RB that punishes D’s like the Beast. And destroying the heart and will of opposing defenses is a cornerstone of PC’s system because it pays big dividends in the 4th quarter with big Beast runs, play action deep shots that are open and winning touchdowns.

          Brandon Cottom Coach’s film is very impressive…I hope he gets an opportunity to run over some wanna-be tacklers! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsJ1mrz3ySQ

          • bigDhawk

            Totally agree on Cottom. I was really impressed with his sparse, pre-draft game tape. Much more impressed than I was with the game tape of Rawls. I want to see Cottom as the featured back, not just a FB, for at least a whole quarter in one preseason game to see what he can do with the ball in his hands, pounding the gaps. I think he only got a handfull of snaps against Denver. If this guy has the fire in his belly, he could be a real weapon.

    • Kyle

      Supposing the Seahawks keep their 1st round pick in the next draft, they may seriously consider taking one of the top RBs like Derrik Henry or Ezekiel Elliot.

      • Robert

        or a OLineman!

      • Volume12

        I agree with Robert. An O-lineman almost has to be the pick. And if we look at PC/JS track record, they’ve selected 2 O-lineman with their 4 first round picks as it is.

        Elliot is the best back in this year’s class, but Derrick Henry is not. He has speed that’s it. He runs upright, takes a long time to get to that said speed, can’t get ‘skinny’ through the hole, doesn’t hit the hole with any burst, and has a very skinny legs. All the HBs that Seatlle has, shown interest in, or brought into the VMAC have huge thighs and thick legs.

        Brandon Cottom showed nothing at FB.

        • rowdy

          I agree about Henry but elliot is real good but the best back plays for Georgia. I can’t see them taking a rb unless elliot or chubb fall. There should be a lot of good options for rb after the first too. I would say oline is the safe bet if we pick but I see them trading back more then ever. We have a lot of fa next year and cap room we need to make. I see them bringing in a lot of players to compete for cheap contracts.

          • Volume12

            Sorry to burst your bubble, but Chubb is a true SO and isn’ t eligible.

            Nexy yesr is unbrleivably loaded atHB. Chubb, Fournette, Perine(my favorite one), Freeman, Gallman, kid from BC, and a few othets.

            • rowdy

              Never thought we would be picking high enough to get him anyway lol still can’t wait to watch him year

              • Volume12

                Your probably right. He shows signs of potentially being special that’s for sure.

                I also agree that there’s some quality backs in this year’s class too though.

            • rowdy

              Fournette looks like a great one to

              • Volume12

                Yup. I like Samaje Perine. Grown ass man. Freak athlete, runs hard, impossible to bring down one on one, huge legs/thighs,, good hands, good pass protector, gets the tough yards, can bounce it outside, he’s just a workhorse man. True 3 down back.

                • manthony

                  Is that the Sooners back? If so, i agree

                  • Volume12

                    Yes it is.

                • rowdy

                  Just watched some film on him and all I could think about was how bad I felt for the high school kids who had to play him. How is that kid a true freshman?

                  • Volume12

                    LOL. Right? Isn’t that kid a beast?

                  • rowdy

                    The others have more potential but have bigger bust potential imo but hes nfl made. His pad level through contract could not be better.

    • Rob Staton

      I think they will carry Lynch, Turbin, Michael and probably one of Rawls or Smith. Didn’t see anything too flashy from Rawls.

      • rowdy

        Thanks, I feel bad he same. I hope smithgets some more carries next game. Every one writing about the practices talked him up and apparently he looked great in the scrimmage and rawls couldnt do much against the same competition.

  7. bigDhawk

    I’ve thought as much recently about NFL offenses being forced to shift paradigms toward spread schemes, which is why I think Wilson’s ostensible focus on pocket passing this season is misguided. It’s not what he does well, and it’s not what our offensive personnel do well. So why fight it? My favorite play from yesterday was not Lockett’s TD, as great as that was. It was Wilson’s 15 yard scramble for a first down. I did a little fist pump and said, ‘Much more of that, please.’

    Wilson passing from the pocket is not what’s going to scare defenses and keep them honest. What will keep them honest is his ability to run the read option and pull it down for chunk scramble yardage when they over focus on Lynch and Jimmy. If he makes a serious attempt at this extrinsic pocket passing endeavor during the regular season, it’s inevitable ineffectiveness will be profoundly exacerbated by the appalling state of our OL. Let’s just do what we do well. It’s gotten us to consecutive Super Bowls with average at best OL play.

    • Robert

      I totally agree! I was bummed he didn’t just take over the game in the Superbowl. When we play backyard football, nobody can stop us!

  8. Volume12

    The O-line is definetly a concern, but at the same time as Rowdy said, I’m not sure I saw a whole bunch of ZBS elements last night. Maybe 2-3 times and that was it. Better to wok the kinks out now.

    As for that Rams game. One of if not the best D-lines in the game, but they’re also breakin in 3-4 new starters and our D-line should cause just as much trouble for them. Thing is, Nick Foles isn’t much of a scrambler compared to our guy.

    It makes me scratch my head when people say ‘RW will have to improvise or run a ton.’ That’s what PC and his staff want! This offense is built around scramble packages and ‘controlled chaos.’ We’ve seen what happens when RW is forced to throw from the pocket. Need proof? Check out the NFCG against GB and this year’s SB.

    Rob, thank you my man for hammering home the point about there basically being no good O-lineman left from the college ranks ecspecially at LT.

  9. Volume12

    Wouldn’t bringing in another O-lineman be counter productive to Rob’s point about familiarty maybe being the most important thing about how an offensive line plays as a unit?

    • Trevor

      I dont think so. They have not played as a consistent group yet anyways so vetran ZBS guys like Myers and Mathis could slide in easily IMO.

      One thing is for sure Cable just needs to settle on 5 guys and let them start to get over the next 3-4 weeks or the Ram DL is going to have Russel running for his life.

  10. JeffC

    PC just said Matthews has a sprain, as does Tavaris. Matthews should be out 7-10 days.

    • James

      As someone who’s spent the last 3 months recovering from an unstable high-ankle sprain, Tarvaris’ injury shouldn’t be looked at as “just a sprain”; It’s a pretty serious injury, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he missed 6-8 weeks.

  11. Ho Lee Chit

    No need to panic just yet. O Line play, as was noted in the article is about teamwork. All five guys must move together like a choreographed dance. In training camp, Cable has been moving guys around. Hence, it has been impossible for the line to jell into a cohesive unit. The guys do not know which position they are playing from one day to the next. Once Cable settles on a starting five, things will come together. These guys have the athleticism to hang with the defense. They just need to learn to trust the guy next to them. I wish we had picked La’el Collins in the fourth round, however. We missed the boat on that one.

    • Volume12

      Well said.

      They may have missed the boat on Collins, but if I had to guess, OL Darryl Williams was the guy they attempted to trade up for in the 4th round. I’m thinking it was either him or QB Bryce Petty.

    • manthony

      We coulda nabbed La’el in the 7th and it woulda worked too. JSPC had to answer enough questions about Frank’s character concerns, probably didnt want to field more. The problems I had were all with the first stringers, specifically LJP, Sweezy, and Britt, who have all played significant snaps for us at the positions they were playing on Friday.
      Someone mentioned Britt to to LG which I think is a good idea, try Pig Bailey or Poole, or Even Gilliam over there, worth a shot in the preseason imo.
      There is some cause for concern as it sits, but the optimist in me, likes to think we’ll run a better unit out there on opening day

      • manthony

        Try those 3 at RT*

      • Ben2

        Yeah, I agree. Just like Robert Gallery, Britt should move to LG.

  12. James

    Honestly, it was shocking to see how poorly our O line played Friday night. We got one QB hurt and probably would have the other if he had played more than 10 snaps. One would have thought, since the Seahawks made the Super Bowl the past two years with patchwork O lines, often without Unger and/or Okung, that this year’s line would have stayed the course, or hopefully even improved somewhat.

    Can it be that Rob’s point, about the D lines becoming increasingly dominant due to superior athleticism, explains our O line seeming to fall off the cliff? Let us hope that it was merely due to Tom Cable playing an large number of young guys through training camp thus far, with no attempt to form and gel 5 guys into a cohesive group. However, I can’t help but think that we have some real personnel problems. Pete and Tom have to identify their 5 best guys asap to form them into a unit. Maybe Gilliam is one of the top 5 and needs to go in at RT? Maybe Britt should move to LG and Bailey to RT, for improved pass pro? Maybe Nowak is so much stronger than Lem that the move needs to be made right now? Whatever they do, they best do it fast, or the Rams D line is going to take apart our offense.

    • Robert

      The strip/sack by Miller made Britt look like he was playing in moonboots. But his complete whiff on the run block was pathetic! I hope Gilliam begins to compete for RT snaps, but it was his failed block that led to TJack’s injury.

      • manthony

        Yeah i just had some of those same exact thoughts, I never like LJP, and thought Patrick Lewis looked better then him last year. But Lewis is kind of small and hasnt even bn in the Convo this camp. All the snaps LJP is getting in practice could be going to Nowak and Sokoli to bring them along faster.

        • bigDhawk

          I made a point to find Sokoli as much as possible in the 4th quarter, and for all his 6-sigma SPARQtasticness, he was getting ragdolled on almost every play at LG. He may be measurably quicker than a lot of guys his size, but I have the feeling that measurement is more statistical minutae than it is tangible reality, because it doesn’t seem to be translating to actual football effectiveness. I know it’s early for him and he can’t be expected to dominate right away, but I at least wanted to see a flash or two, and I didn’t even see that.

          • Rob Staton

            It’s a not so gentle reminder that you can be as athletic as you want — Sokoli is a major, major project and probable practise squad player at best and a major long shot to develop into a functioning NFL starter.

            • Volume12

              Yeah, PC has quite a bit of Al Davis in him. They’ll pass on a better player for someone who is more athletic, and it bites him in the ass.

              The trick is trying to find superior athletes with high football IQ.

              • manthony

                Taking a flyer on a guy in the 6th round is a lot different then taking a flyer on a guy with the 6th pick. Al Davis didnt even kniw there was 7 rounds in the draft

                • Volume12

                  Oh I didn’t necessarily mean just Sokoli.

                  Make no mistake. Al Davis was the original SPARQ king before there was SPARQ. Dude had an eye for talent. It’s just a shame that he’ll be remembered for his last few years in the league.

              • Screeching Hawk

                Exactly it’s about finding people who breath in football! You know like Earl and Russell that is a huge part of what makes them so good. Though taking a chance on someone you know is going to take some time but you believe in is special in itself! I’m personally not worried one Britt opps I mean bit. Just like alot of you boys believe as I, well be just fine when our core offensive line becomes one line together. Then implementing the zone blocking scheme that Tom Cable is so well known for it will be all good. I don’t worry anymore about what Pete Carroll has in store for us.

  13. Old but Slow

    Can we begin to walk back the idea that Cable is the offensive line genius? What amazing development has he enginereeded so far? Sweezy? He’s a solid maybe.

    Supposedly he can make a solid line out of a bunch of beer druck drivers, but he has not been able to make a good line out of some pretty good athletes. Is Cable really the guy who can make

    • manthony

      Cable and the ZBS is strictly beneficial in the Run game, his inability to coach the guys up and pass pro leaves much to be desired.
      What I dont get is how Irvin can come back looking so much improved physically, and Britt looked to not improve at all in the offseason.
      Pete says a lot how he’s always looking for guys to compete and ones that never settle, but idk, I’m not oppose to making Britt run with the 2’s and cutting LJP

      • Ben2

        Bruce Irvn looked bigger but on the few snaps I remember he didn’t seem to have too many inside moves….he just tried to bend the edge and was controlled by the tackle allowing the qb to step up. I was/am real excited about BI this year but he needs to develop some more pass rush moves

        • Volume12

          Yeah I’m not sure how effective Bruce is at DE. He can’t convert speed to power. Your right about him not having a counter move/s, no great hand usage, and for all his athleticism and potential, he’s really only made 5-6 big plays during his career.

          Still a fan of his, but can he ever put it all together?

          • Rob Staton

            One of the most disappointing things of the pre-season for me was the news Bruce had added weight.

            At last years weight he became one of the best defensive playmakers in the league. Now? It looks like he’s bulked up to audition for a DE role as a free agent. He’s better lighter. He isn’t a big edge rusher. He never will be. And he’ll struggle for time with the way Clark and Marsh are playing. And KPL probably steals that LB position a year early (health permitting).

            • rowdy

              I thought the same thing about adding weight trying to get a bigger contract next year and had some worries but all pete has done is praise him and says he looks better then ever. I could be pete being pete and probably is but every one is saying he kept his speed.

            • Volume12

              Good point about him being better at a lighter weight.

              Marsh and Clark look fantastic. Clark is such an explosive, versatile weapon and Marsh is so damn disruptive.

              I worry about KPL. Love his speed, intangibles, and athleticism. I just hope he stays healthy as you said. I wonder if him bulking up a tad without sacrificing his agility would be benefical.

    • Screeching Hawk

      I think we had the number #1 rushing attack/offensive last year and for me that answers the question. As Vollume12 speaks of our offense is best when it is broken down in as Vollume12 calls “controlled chaos”. See Mr.Wilson is so practiced and educated about the game, which I believe he knew his height to be a disadvantage so he used his mind to gain advantage. So when he’s out of the pocket as we all know to be his strengh in play the offensive linemen need stamina and strength to help extend the play. I’m not as knowledgeable about the game as some of you but I’ve been watching a long time and that gives me a pretty good idea of what to look for. GOooo Hawks!!!

      • Volume12

        Oh thank you Screeching, but I can’t take all the credit for ‘controlled chaos.’ I do agree with what you said above about not worrying what PC has in store for us. I have a ton of confidence in this FO and PC, maybe too much, but this is a guy that not only won champipnships in college and the pros as we all know, but would’ve won one with New England had they given him time. Seems like every time we doubt him or his decision process, he amazes us.

  14. HD

    Gilliam still might be a better bet at RT…if they gave him some work…seems faster on his feet…Glowinski I think could be a decent guard…he didn’t look terrible…I like Lewis better at center…not sure why he’s been dealt out, or so it seems. Lem and Lewis I still think might be Seattle’s best bet at center this year. I’m not on the Nowak wagon…I can see Bailey used as the swing guy again this year if someone get hurt…leaving Milton and Glowinski …at LG… Spring football may be the only way to get these guys pro ready out of college…although I thought Joel Bitonio did a good job as a rookie for the Browns at guard last year…
    Maybe what Seattle needs to focus on the next 3 weeks is consistency in grouping…the same 4 playing as much as possible before week 1.

    • Rob Staton

      The great thing about Bitonio was his quality at left tackle at college. So even if he didn’t feature to be a tackle at the next level, he still had the technique, size and athleticism to work at guard, center or right tackle. No surprise at all he’s quickly become one of the top guards in the league. He was the pick we made in our final mock draft for Seattle at #32 in 2014.

      • HD

        I followed him after reading your pick analysis…to think he could have been Seattle’s at #31 in 2014.

  15. CHawk Talker Eric

    If y’all go back and watch the Miller sack/ff play, and you DON’T focus on Britt, you’ll see some pretty good pass pro on the left side.

    After the snap, Bailey starts out engaging Antonio Smith. Okung steps back ready to take on Shane Ray, but Ray does a crossing stunt to the inside behind Smith. Bailey sees this, passes Smith off to Okung (who picks him up and negates him from the play). Bailey slides over and picks up Ray, takes him out of the play. Text book pass pro vs crossing stunts.

    Also, DEN sent TJ Ward on a safety blitz. Graham did a decent job picking him up initially.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s a good point. I went back and studied that sack and everyone else does their job. Britt gets owned not be speed — but by a pretty basic punch from Miller. Britt has no counter.

    • bigDhawk

      Agree. Good points.

    • Volume12

      Great point CHAWK. That my friend is called ‘finding work.’ Something you don’t see a whole bunch of in college O-lineman.

  16. AlaskaHawk

    Im not sure why people are bitching about our offense. They looked bad the beginning of last year, and they look exactly the same this year. Linemen missing blocks, RW has his typical fumble at the 10 yard line, it looked like Seahawks football to me.

    Of course I always have hope that the team will look like they had been in the Super Bowl, and each year they go back to square one. However what do we expect? They didn’t spend a high round draft pick on the offensive line, they haven’t spent a high round pick in 3 years. They continue to dink around with defensive converts. And they have the exact same coaching staff. I don’t blame the players, they are doing the best they can with their limited ability. And at this time of year they don’t have lynch or a passing attack to make them look good.

    So who does look good on offense? Archer looked like a viable backup QB. Was Travis money guaranteed? I’m just wondering. Turbin, Rawls and smith all looked like good backup running backs. I’m over Michaels, if he isn’t featured by now he never will be. Trade him, keep him, it doesn’t matter since they won’t use him.

    Wide receivers look to be a huge upgrade. Lockett is awesome, couple other guys like Smith (?) stood out. Thank god Mathews shoulder injury was minor. It will be hard to choose the receivers this year.

    Now that PC has two quick receivers, maybe he can focus on offensive line in the draft next year. Overall the offense was ragged, but they were evaluating a lot of players. So no big deal. RW needs to start playing like he has a fire in his belly. I always see his awesome 3 year stats, how about someone track how many trs he has been stripped and fumbled in the first series. I bet he has a record on that too. I am going to blame coaching on this offensive performance. They get to practice against an awesome defense so it has to be coaching.

    • Rob Staton

      “Im not sure why people are bitching about our offense”

      I’m not sure anyone is ‘bitching’, rather just debating the play of the offensive line. Aside from the secondary depth, the OL is pretty much the only part of the roster with legit question marks.

      • Mylegacy

        Rob – I agree with you about “…just debating the play of the offensive line.” However, that “…debate…” takes on more significance and urgency because it appears we might not only be having trouble fixing our OLine weaknesses from last year but we appear to also be suffering from regression weaknesses as well (Britt for example).

        My 2015/16, way too early to make it, prediction (MWTETMIP) is: We’ll make the Play-offs and go very deep into the post season – even to the Super Bowl. IF – these three factors resolve themselves: 1) the OLine must mature/gel in time to save the year. 2) Thomas, Sherman and Chancellor – HAVE to recover from their set(s) of serious assorted injuries – AND – return to their former level of brilliance (or very near it) – AND – they must stay healthy ALL year. 3) DangeRuss MUST physically survive the onslaught the work in progress OLine will expose him to for the first half of the season.

        • Rob Staton

          I disagree slightly here. Let’s get one thing straight — this team has survived poor O-line’s before. It won games — on the road no less — with McQuistan and Bowie at tackle. It’s won games with Jeanpierre at center and Bailey at guard. They actively encourage an element of controlled chaos and they don’t have Peyton Manning in the pocket needing ultimate protection. Wilson has always been under pressure and hasn’t missed a single game in his career. I don’t think he’ll need to ‘survive’ now that the line has lost Unger and Carpenter (the only two key changes from last year).

          It’s also too early to say Britt is regressing. He hasn’t even played a full football game. He was embarrassed by Von Miller, not Benson Mayowa.

          A younger line without chemistry could impact the first two games and potentially be costly on the road against two tough opponents. But it won’t impact, IMO, Seattle’s chances in any grave fashion this year. What is more likely to be the greater challenge is finding that edge that they lacked in the first half of last season to go 3-3. If they have that ‘band of brothers’ feel they had for the next 10 games (won 9) then they will be just fine.

          • AlaskaHawk

            Rob under your two loss scenario we will be lucky to be 3-3 at mid season. I’m going back to my question about the offensive line. Is it a problem of player performance or coaching? They are playing against a great defense so they should know if Britt or another player is having problems. Maybe the Seahawks just coast on the first series? They don’t seem to have much fire in their bellies.

            • Rob Staton

              It’s not performance or coaching necessarily. I’ll keep saying that the most important aspect of an offensive line is familiarity and consistency. You don’t need five first round picks to get a good O-line. You do need five guys who understand the scheme, their responsibility and what each other member is going to do on a given play. Seattle is breaking in two new starters and their depth is mostly young and/or untested. It’s going to take time. We won’t know if this group is good enough for a while yet.

              As for being 3-3 at mid-season… well if they do start 0-2, that would mean a 3-1 roll after a rough start. Which wouldn’t be too bad.

              • AlaskaHawk

                Way to put a positive spin on it. 3-1 would be good. 🙂

            • cha

              Since the first Super Bowl I’ve felt that preseason opponents seem to take their game against the Seahawks way to seriously. Game planning. Guys jumping around after making a sack or tackle as if they’d just won something. Whereas the Hawks are holding out nicked up starters, and experimenting with what they have in the way of depth.

              It’s not fun watching OLmen get turnstiled in the preseason, and even in the early going of the regular season, but there’s a reason the Seahawks have always had so much young depth. They’re not afraid to play untested players and let them take their lumps. The payoff the second half of the season is spectacular. This team closes the season like a freight train.

  17. Matt

    It’s way too early to panic over weak Oline play. We haven’t had a dominating line since we had Jones and Hutchinson on the left side. What we do have are 3 returning starters, 2 seasoned vets to step in and a few promising youngsters pushing for playing time. Bailey is as good as Carpenter- if not better. Unger missed what 7 games last year? We were just fine without him. Lem and Lewis replaced him admirably and are still here. Britt got beat by one of the most explosive edge rushers in the game-Von Miller. That’s to be expected Britt is not a quality pass blocker.

    The Hawks have been very successful with comparable Oline play that we will see this year. Let’s not discount how much Beast Modes presence helps the OL. Not to mention the pure magic that Wilson pulls out. This is a championship roster and an average Oline will not stop us from making another final 4 appearance.

    • AlaskaHawk

      The problem is that every defense has (or tries to find) explosive pass rushers on both sides of the line. Maybe this was Britts wake up call. I’m not concerned about preseason. It just amazes me how much the offensive line regresses each summer.

    • JeffC

      They already got our backup qb injured. If that was RW on that play we’d be hoping he makes it to the first game of the season. There’s little margin for error here going forward. They have to be better right now just to get our qb out of preseason.

  18. Ben2

    Didn’t NE & GB both have rookie centers last year who progressed as the year went on? I’m hoping there will be progress and by the 2nd 1/2 of the year we’re clicking just in time to make a playoff run

  19. sdcoug

    A lot of good points here, and certainly things to keep an eye on as we progress through the pre-season. Disappointing not to see something a little more sound along the O-line.

    THAT being said, I do feel like Denver still takes that SB blowout personally and pins their ears back against us, pre-season be damned (both this game and last pre-season). Seems like they were intent on bringing the heat most plays hoping to exact some small measure of revenge. A vanilla, lets-not-tip-our-hand offense isn’t going to be very successful, and sure enough…it wasn’t. Even so, Russ did lead us down to the 3 and had a nice boot to Graham. Have to think an offense with Lynch, and play calls designed to counter-act the presure, will help mitigate at least a portion of the ‘uh oh’ we saw.

    • Volume12

      Denver absolutely took both those games more seriously than we did. Or like you said, didn’t keep things so vanilla. They ran the full ZBS, brought a ton of pressure, and played the starters, except Manning, Demaryius, and Sanders, that whole 1st half.

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      I was just about to post something like this. DEN had more fire in their bellies for SEA than the other way around.

      No excuses for Britt, but he just wasn’t ready for a real game scenario. Was he not ready in general? Or just that day (cause it happens – everyone has a crappy day now and then)?

      Speaking of “day” – V12 did you see Dillon “Fabio” Day on the DEN sideline?

      • Volume12

        I didn’t. I was wondering what team he ended up with.

        I did notice Max Garcia looking pretty decent for Denver.

        Would’ve been nice to have added one of those guys.

  20. Zorn is King

    Anyone think that Cable actually keeps the Seahawks from bringing in top OL free agents?
    La’el Collins signing with the Cowboys was somewhat surprising. It’s just a thought but perhaps FA’s feel like Cable chooses diamonds in the rough over top level talent. And, as has been suggested, top talent sees the run first philosophy as unecessary wear and tear?

    Thinking out loud here

    • Volume12

      As someone else said, I think they passed on Collins due to the fact that they had to get through an onslaught of why they took Frank Clark.

      Cable has Alex Gibbs (the master of the ZBS) running through his blood. And Gibbs motto was ‘give me any garbage man/dump truck driver off the street and I can make him a high functioningh, quality O-lineman in my scheme.’

      Cable also said with so many colleges running a spread system, he would have to re-train any rookie how to play at the NFL level anyways. So in essence, go get the highly athletic but raw prospects and he’ll do the same.

      Yes I kind of do think that TC likes a challenge and wants to mold or create his own line. He’s like PC in that way. Both are what I like to call ‘mad scientists.’

      • Cysco

        They wanted Collins, don’t doubt that. They were supposed to meet with him after the Cowboys. The problem is, he never left Jerry’s house.

        When a young man and his mom get flown to Dallas on a private plane for a dinner at Jerry Jones’ mansion in Highland Park. It’s tough to say no. When that dinner has the front office, coaching staff and QB are there and everyone says that he can be the key part of the greatest O-Line in the history of the league, then Jerry Jones breaks down crying about how much he cares about him. Well, it’s impossible to say no.

        Collins was never going to leave Dallas without being a Cowboy. It’s a shame too because he looks really really good.

  21. Volume12

    Rob, what do you see or predict (I know, hard to do at this point in time) as the biggest need for Seattle heading into next year’s draft along the O-line. C or LG?

    • Rob Staton

      C more important position.

      • Volume12

        True. Do you think they would take one with their first overall selection, or are they more likely to grab a tackle and convert him? Kind of like a Mitch Morse type or Max Unger, even though this staff didn’t draft Max.

  22. Trevor

    I guess Britt is at LG and Gilliam is at RT today at camp with Nowak at C. Makes a ton of sense to me hopefully they will stick with this starting unit and let them start to gel.

    • Volume12

      Interesting. Britt definetly has the body type, playing style, and attitude so conducive to playing that LG spot.

      And I actually like ‘Pig’ Bailey more as a ‘swing’ lineman anyways.

      Maybe this unit sticks as you mentioned.

    • rowdy

      A lot of people were calling for this move here… that’s why it’s my favorite place to talk hawks!

    • JeffC

      Long overdue. But I still think LJP starts at center. It would have been nice to see Gilliams athleticism against Vonn Miller earlier.

  23. Screeching Hawk

    Well shit I thought I was going to break the news after work about Britt being moved to left guard and Gillium playing right takle. I like the sound of it because having a converted tight end playing tackle gives us that extra magic play where Garry can come in as an eligible reciever with the option of being the second or third tight end. I hope this unit stays together it looks better on paper as they say! I’ve watched Tyler Lockett’s touchdown at least 15 times by now I’m so excited about him I actually was hoping for Ty Montgomery in the draft but whose got a kick return td now! I’m so happy that we have a new season to put those superbowl blues away somewhere for the time being! Thanks again Rob and everyone else for being such cool people, and dedicated Seahawks supporters!

  24. Screeching Hawk

    Our Seahawks chant

    https://youtu.be/33DWqRyAAUw

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