Seahawks O-line: How does it get better in 2016?

The Seahawks need to find the next Breno Giacomini to bolster an inexperienced O-line

In 2011 the Seahawks made a big commitment to the running game in the draft.

It was quite a statement at the time. They needed a quarterback. The likes of Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick were expected to go in the range of their first round pick (#25 overall).

Pete Carroll had to make a call — and he chose not to build around a young QB.

Carroll wanted a running game and in 2010 — even with the arrival of Marshawn Lynch — they had the worst running attack in the NFL. So they settled on Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback and built their O-line via the draft instead, while adding Robert Gallery in free agency.

Although they did achieve their goal of creating a potent ground game — the 2011 draft investment plus Gallery arguably had a minimal impact. It’s possibly the failure of Carpenter, Moffitt and Gallery that has shaped some of the current issues facing Seattle’s O-line.

They tried proven. They tried productive. Let’s go for upside instead.

It’s created a different type of problem up front.

James Carpenter was considered a surprise pick in the media — but anyone who spent considerable time watching Alabama knew why he went in the first round. Carpenter had a fantastic senior season playing left tackle. Mark Ingram won a Heisman running to the left. Carpenter dominated SEC defensive linemen with his power and size. He was easily the best run blocking tackle in the 2010 college season and the Seahawks clearly hoped he could have similar success in the NFL.

Seattle spent their second pick in the 2011 draft on another O-liner.

For years Wisconsin fielded big, powerful offensive linemen and they’d been able to run the ball with great success. John Moffitt didn’t possess any astonishing athletic traits. In many ways he looked like a classic ‘JAG’. He worked the inside with power and tenacity and the Seahawks probably felt his gritty style would benefit their interior line.

Carpenter’s size and length aside — neither player was particularly SPARQ-y. They had good tape. They were part of hugely productive running attacks. The Seahawks appeared to be looking not so much for difference making traits but instead for proven entities. Plug-in-and-play types. The Gallery pick-up, given his familiarity with Tom Cable in Oakland, wasn’t a big surprise either.

Moffitt quit the league shortly after a disappointing spell in Seattle and Carpenter struggled at tackle before shifting inside to guard. Neither draft pick paid dividends — although Carpenter’s annual handling of Justin Smith was always fun to witness. Gallery struggled to make an impact and didn’t last long either.

It’s not unfair to question whether these failures provoked a switch in Seattle’s thinking. Did they start to consider a new plan based on athleticism and upside? Without the dependency to spend high draft picks or go through free agency?

How much of this was forced through cost? Did they see a potential saving on the O-line to help pay for the new contracts dished out to Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas and co.? Or was it more than that? A genuine philosophical shift? “We want these types of players on our O-line.”

Since the 2011 draft the Seahawks have only spent one high pick on their O-line despite the loss of starters like Carpenter, Max Unger and Breno Giacomini. The second round pick — Justin Britt — was somewhat forced given the diminishing number of tackles available in the 2014 draft. Seattle didn’t have a third round pick that year and risked missing out on a full class of tackles. It was a major reach that at the time probably felt necessary.

Apart from that they’ve spent time converting athletic defensive linemen like J.R. Sweezy, Drew Nowak and Kristjan Sokoli. None of that trio cost a high pick. All carry an extremely high upside. They’ve also looked in the later rounds at guys like Mark Glowinski and Terry Poole.

It’s fair to say Seattle’s current plan for the O-line is having some teething problems. You could even say it’s having less success than the early draft picks in 2011.

Perhaps Carpenter and Moffitt arrived with bad habits? Combined with the fact both entered the league during a lock out — they were virtually thrown into the deep end when the new CBA was agreed. When Tom Cable eventually began working with the pair — was it hard to refine their technique? Cable’s made it clear he has to start coaching from scratch with college linemen — and it’s one of the reasons they’ve turned to former D-liners. If you’re starting with a blank canvas, why not go for the better athletes?

Yet there’s also a case to be made though for those battle tested blockers. They might have suspect technique and need a great deal of coaching — but they also have at least some grasp of the position. James Carpenter wasn’t a perfectionist with a well-honed blocking style. And yet he had a great deal of experience competing against the best the SEC had to offer before entering the NFL.

Doesn’t that count for something?

So what now as the Seahawks face what seems like an inevitable rebuild of their O-line? Aside from Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy being free agents (their two most experienced linemen) you could argue they need replacements at left guard, center and right tackle too.

There’s nothing really to be lost taking on a project like Kristjan Sokoli. Wouldn’t it be better, though, to have him battling for a starting job against more experienced team mates? J.R. Sweezy won his job on a much more experienced line. Nowak, Britt and Garry Gilliam are almost starting by default.

Returning focus to the early rounds of the draft is probably necessary — especially if they have to replace Okung at left tackle. Auburn’s Shon Coleman is one of the most underrated players in college football and could easily jump into the top tier of draft picks for 2016. If he stays under the radar — he’d be a nice option for the Seahawks at either tackle spot or even at guard.

Yet it’d also be beneficial to add more of a veteran presence to the line while the Sokoli’s and Mark Glowinski’s learn their craft. If they don’t re-sign Okung and/or Sweezy it might free up enough room to have another tilt at Evan Mathis or look at Alex Boone. There might be another Breno Giacomini out there or even a Paul McQuistan. Nobody would ever tout McQuistan as a leading impact player — but it’s that veteran savvy and reliability at guard that at times Seattle has lacked.

A combination of youth, upside, experience and grit might be the way to get this back on track.

Giacomini — vilified by some at a time when the Seahawks roster had virtually no holes — is exactly the type of player Seattle currently lacks. Was he perfect? Far from it. Did he set the tone, offer genuine leadership and a punishing, physical blocking style? Absolutely. It’s no surprise that since he (and Carpenter) moved to New York, the Jets have been able to run with a purpose and offer adequate pass protection to Ryan Fitzpatrick.

They don’t necessarily need an elite group — they showed that in 2013. Following the Jets’ approach and plugging in a couple of veterans might be the ideal approach for Seattle.

They need a serviceable bunch who can develop some chemistry, run the ball consistently and give Russell Wilson more time than he’s currently receiving. Considering the Seahawks are right in the middle of what might only be a two or three year Championship window — stop gaps aren’t a bad thing. Finding a group that can get the job done right now should be the priority.

At the moment there seems to be a lack of the nous we saw in 2013. A good line doesn’t need endless first rounders or a bunch of big names. It does need attitude, experience, familiarity and execution. Ingredients that have been missing at times in 2015.

The current Seahawks line feels green and unless it shows a big improvement could be set for major surgery. Getting even younger isn’t ideal. Getting better — that has to be the target. And that could mean a combination of 2016 draft investment (two picks?) and some key veteran additions.


  1. Alex

    That’s an interesting thought from a cap perspective too.

    Let Okung walk, and either sign Sweezy to a team friendly deal or let him walk as well.

    Sign a couple decent older veterans at low contracts, saving money overall. Trust in the projects to develop.

    If it works, it would probably look amazing – decent starters at every position is a premium line these days. But if it doesn’t work, I feel like we’d even long for this season’s line.

    • RugbyLock

      I guess I don’t get why there seem to be a lot of people willing to let Okung go. He’s not Big Walt, but then who is, but he is a starting caliber NFL LT and those don’t grow on trees. I say keep Okung and let Sweezy walk. Easier to replace a guard than a LT. Besides, would Okung be that much of a bigger cap hit than he is now?

  2. Volume12

    Great article Rob. You bring up some good points.

    O-line has never been such a glaring need before. This FO and staff surely can’t stand RW getting killed evey game. Yes, some of the sacks, hits, and pressures are on him, but Seattle always targets needs early on, and we all know/see what the biggest need currenty is.

    I think ya gotta do all you can to re-sign Okung. He’s injury prone, which probably means his value is discounted. Glo and Soko are set to battle at RG more than likely.

    Target an OT early, a C in the mid rounds (3rd-4th rounds), and sign a FA to start at LG or give depth to a few spots. As you said, a Giacomini or McQuistan kind of guy. Perhaps with the body type of a Michael Bowie. We can get by with a weak link somewhere on the line. Not 3 weak links though.

    • AlaskaHawk

      I think Okung needs to be replaced, but for the sake of continuity I agree with you that if he will sign for 4 million or less that he is worth keeping around. He may even be capable at the guard position. I like the idea of picking up a couple veterans. Also think the Seahawks need to pick LT, RT and then a center in mid rounds. It is a lot of draft capital, but this situation has been getting worse for 3 years. With good picks they could fix the issue for the next four years.

      Rob- this is one of your most thoughtful articles that I have read. Thanks.

      • onrsry

        4 million for Okung? He already makes 8 million/year, there’s no way he accepts lower than that, even if he plays worse than he has in past years,because he is a LT and he is a starter caliber LT,you can’t find that in 3rd round or even in the late 1st round, if you let him go there will be 3-4 teams to sign him for 8-10M.Left tackles often found among Top-15 picks, SEA probably won’t have a top-15 pick.

        IMO, they need to resign Okung, sign a veteran FA C,G or RT. They can’t have 2 rookies starting next year with this OL. At least one of the new starters should be a veteran. They can try Alex Mack or Andre Smith.Both these guys will be free agents more than likely.One of them would be instant upgrade on the OL.That would cost a lot,but i think SEA needs that.Alex Boone will be FA too.

        Other starter would be the 1st rounder probably. So,they can spend their 2nd round pick on another position(DT maybe) if they’ll sign Mack or Smith.

        • AlaskaHawk

          Let the other teams sign Okung. His best years are already behind him. Seahawks have already thrown too much money away on players who didn’t work out. The 8 million saved will play for 2 free agents and a good rookie left tackle can be locked in for 4 years. Trading 1 for 2 is a good strategy. More importantly Okung is not aging well.

          • Rob Staton

            Something else to consider though. There’s not a great recent history of left tackles entering the league and performing. It’ll be especially difficult if the Seahawks are again picking late in round one. Remember, they drafted Okung with the #6 overall pick. You might end up with the 5th or 6th tackle in the class and a downgrade at left tackle. Okung’s cap hit this year is $7.2m. So you’d have at most $3.5m to spend on two free agents. It’s not a ton of free cash. And while I certainly advocate adding some veteran grit to the line, nothing will be worse than downgrading the tackle position and then relying on these $3.5m veterans to hold things together. It’ll take more than $3.5m to lure Alex Boone for example.

            I think there’s a realistic chance Okung does walk on his own terms. I think, like Danny O’Neil has suggested, he’ll want to play for more of a pass-heavy offense that suits his game. But he’s also Seattle’s best current O-liner, a leader in the locker room and a very respectable left tackle. It’ll be much more preferable to bookend Okung and find a cheap free agent than it will be to essentially clean house and hope the guy you’re picking later in round one can ever match Okung.

  3. AdamB

    But that’s just the issue these days; Since almost EVERY team has a need on the OL, adequate veterans can ask for and receive better than adequate contracts. It’s harder and harder to build a decent OL on the cheap without investing serious draft capital or winning on a few lotto tickets.

    This is one reason I think the the Saints were willing to expend a talent like Jimmy Graham–It wasn’t just the salary cap savings, but the potential to pencil in a savvy and talented vet like Unger in the middle of their line.

    Hopefully as Seahawks fans we begin to see some cohesion and positive steps start to form in the current OL towards the end of the season, and the Hawks can skim off whatever cream rises before going into an off-season like Rob has detailed.

    • Rob Staton

      “Since almost EVERY team has a need on the OL, adequate veterans can ask for and receive better than adequate contracts.”

      You could use Evan Mathis to counter this though — he couldn’t get a job and then signed a very modest contract for a man of his talent/experience.

      No doubt some veteran OL’s get good deals and even over paid. But there are also value free agents too.

      • AdamB

        I would imagine part of Mathis’ issue was when he signed, but I agree that there is still value to be found, I just think the burgeoning demand will make it increasingly difficult to find.

        • AdamB

          –Also, his desire to play on a contender.

  4. Ed

    Great article (as always Rob). A discussion that comes up after every game.

    FA (all made under $4, so a raise would still keep them relatively in Hawks price range):

    LT (Beachum/Glen/Adams)
    G (Boone/Osemele/Silatolu)
    C (Jones/Wisnewski/Barnes)
    RT (Schwartz/Harvenstein/Massie)


    T (Tunsil/Conklin/Ifedi) all thought of as 1-2
    G (Drango/Elfein/Whitehair) all thought as 2-3
    C (Voltz/Allen/Martin) all thought of as 2-4

    Coleman isn’t anywhere on most peoples radar. Let Okung and Sweezy go.


    Gilliam becomes your swing, Glow and Soko can learn. Glen and Osemele are your added vets, Coleman and Allen your rookies.

    1st Coleman (OT)
    2nd DT
    3rd Allen (C)

    • Volume12

      Why would Havenstein be let go from St. Louis?

      Cordy Glenn is way too big and has a sloppy mid section. Something we know that turns TC off.

      And I gotta ask. How is Kelvin Beachum a LT for a team like Seattle?

    • sdcoug

      Coleman isn’t anywhere on most people’s radar? Let’s not assume early media mock drafts are in step with NFL front offices and scouts

    • Nathan

      How about a trade for Doug Free?

      I’m sure Dallas would be keen to clear up some cap room, and they have his replacement in Collins.

      • Rob Staton

        I like Free but they’re using Collins at guard.

  5. Colin

    I’m at the point where re-upping Okung could be a very under appreciated move. Sure, people are ready to move on- but a decent LT is going to be impossible to find without getting into the mid way (or higher) part of round 1.

    I know people won’t like it, they’ll cite the penalties and the “fragility”, but do we have a choice? The guy is a solid, if not spectacular LT.

    I wouldn’t keep Sweezy. I’m done with that experiment. He lets blitzers blow by him time and again and routinely whiffs on assignments. All the stuff about him being potentially an All-Pro guard is long gone. He’s JAG. Looks like Tarzan and plays like Jane too much.

    We needs a veteran on this line next season and some serious draft capital investment.

    • Rob Staton

      It will be very, very, very hard to replace Okung without picking in the top-15.

      Shon Coleman might be able to do it — but how much better would the line be with an Okung/Coleman bookend (provided Coleman’s stock doesn’t rise way up).

      • Colin

        Re-up Okung, draft a Center, try and acquire a RG in FA. That all seems very doable.

        • matt

          Okung needs to be resigned. Solid play at LT is very valuable, and solid line play is all our offense really needs to be highly successful. Okung is heading into free agency without an agent. To me this says that he wants to stay in Seattle. He saves the 10% or so agent fee and Washington doesn’t have an income tax.

          • RugbyLock

            Ding ding ding ding ding!! Winner! Winner! Chicken dinner!! We will not be able to replace Okung where we are drafting so I would rather keep him and replace another part of the Oline. Problem is we all got spoiled with the way Big Walt played LT and according to Holmgren he was the best offensive player he ever coached.

      • Alex H

        This is an often overlooked aspect of drafting LT. I’m reading all these comments on fieldgulls and it almost sounds like you can just use a 1st rounder and get a viable replacement. That simply is NOT the case. Hits on tackles in the last few years are mixed at best and even then, there is no assurance that a rookie LT will be any sort of real upgrade over Okung. I’ve seen highly, highly regarded LT prospects like Eric Fisher (#1 pick) and Matt Kalil (#3 pick) all not work out whether it’s due to ability or injury. Even someone like Jake Matthews (one of the hits), who seems to be working out, had to work through an injury.

        People seem to forget that even with the continued drafting of legit LT prospects in the upper half of the 1st round, which we won’t be picking at, there are probably around 15-20 true LTs in the league (Okung is one of them). There simply aren’t many left tackles in the league. This is with 1-3 legit tackle prospects entering the league in the upper half of the 1st round every year. Now we’re just going to release a legit LT and bet our replacement in the draft in which the results are mixed? I dunno. That doesn’t sound like a wise decision.

        Moreover, let’s not forget that as regarded as these current LT prospects are, Okung was rated higher than just about anyone in the upcoming class with the possible exception of Tunsil (who will assuredly be in the top 3, so let’s forget about that). I just don’t see a plausible scenario in which we will come out better by letting Okung go.

        • Volume12

          Nice post. Great points in regards to Okung.

      • AdamB

        Agreed. Even if the Hawks earn *cough* themselves a top-15 pick, would you really want to add the drama of brand new LT transitioning into the pro-game, to this already stitched together line?

        • Rob Staton

          That’s the key issue. It seems backwards to say, “Let’s start improving the O-line by replacing the one experienced and best lineman we have with a rookie.”

          That to me seems like a recipe for further struggles next year.

          Pairing Okung with a bookend tackle drafted in round one? Adding an experienced guard? That feels like a viable solution.

          • AlaskaHawk

            It may come down to how he finishes the season. If he has lost his lateral movement and defensive players consistently blow by him then he at a minimum needs a viable backup and probably should be replaced. Tough situation but that’s the breaks.

  6. nichansen01

    Does anyone see Coleman suffering a Jesse Williams/ Michael Bennet (Not our bennet) style slip into the later rounds because of health issues? He is getting so little coverage, it’s a deep class of tackles (Conklin Decker Stanley Ifedi and Tunsil all first round locks) and I can see teams taking a pass on Coleman, even if he continues to be one of the top performers in the class.

    • Colin

      His stock will rise around combine time- same with Joe Dahl.

      • Volume12

        IMO Ifedi is slipping. He’s so much better at RT than he is at LT. I think Ifedi’s range will be right around where Seattle selects.

        Dude is such an intimidating presence. He probably needs to lose 5-10 lbs., but that can be fixed.

  7. nichansen01

    Let’s talk about this year. Okung is improving over the course of this season, as if he was still dealing with some injury issues at then beginning. Britt has improved his ability to run block but his pass blocking is horrid. Nowak seems to be all around bad, but has been sending out better snaps. I don’t know what his ceiling is, he appears to be constantly man handled and pushed around. Sweezy whiffs in blocks but can be a capable run blocker. Gilliam is bad in both facets of the game, and Bailey manages to be worse. How do we overcome this? The group has to play better. And that comes down to cable. These are the guys you have now so you have to teach them to pass block. The have had 7 games of “practice” now and the Hawks are 0-4 against teams without losing records. They all need to step up and come together as a capable group that considerately opens holds for lynch and gives Wilson time to throw in a clean pocket. All five guys are “athletic” now, it has to translate to good blocking at this point in the season. Every game is a playoff game from this sunday forward.

  8. Demitrov

    Dammit Rob, you sound pessimistic that the Seahawks can fix their shit on the OLine enough for a championship run. Is that true? I was hoping theyd gel enough over the season that some of this line can be salvaged.

    • Rob Staton

      I hope they can improve but I’m a major sceptic. They do have the talent elsewhere though to mask the problem. They can make a run without even average line play.

  9. Trevor

    Hi Rob

    Great analysis and after reading it one thing is very clear. The last decent draft pick the Hawks have made on the OL was Okung and that was prior to Cable. Is there a bigger problem here in that the Hawks do not know how to assess OL talent? I mean really to not hit on one pick is almost embarrassing. Are they putting too much stock in Cables assessment and ability to develop guys?

    I mean look at Dallas sure thy have invested alot of draft capital in their OL but hey have hit on every pick. They are the exception and are the equivalent to our success with DBs but perhaps we need some fresh eyes evaluating and drafting OL talent in the organization.

    I mean no offense Rob but you are watching tape in England and have done 10x better job than our scouting staff at identifying OL talent. These guys get to watch them live, work them out etc. There has to be something missing to end up with this mess on the OL.

    • Trevor

      By the way Rob I am not joking you should send JS some of your past reports and assessments. You have a great eye for OL, and DL talent in particular. Have you thought about trying to get a scouting gig or do you enjoy the journalism too much?

      • Rob Staton

        Appreciate the kind words Trevor. I am a realist though — pretty sure there aren’t any British scouts on the circuit!

        • CharlieTheUnicorn

          If you find the next “great” rugby player….. send his profile to the Seahawks scouting department, you NEVER know.

        • Trevor

          Rob the one thing the Hawks have become known for is searching under ever rock to try and find talent and that includes their scouting staff I am sure as well. I am not just blowing smoke I really think it is something you should pursue.

    • Alex H

      One thing to be aware of with the Dallas O-line is that as talented as they are, they’ve actually regressed this year from last year. Interestingly, over at Washington, their O-line play has greatly improved. Aside from the talent improvement on the right side of the line, I think the main reason is probably the O-line coach Bill Callahan.

      • Trevor

        His is definitely a great OL coach.

  10. Trevor

    Based on your assessment Rob the offseason plan should be very clear for the Hawks.

    -Resign Okung at $8-10 mil per
    -Sign Mathis or Boone $5-6 mil 2 yr deal
    -Sign vet Center like Wisnewski to $4-5 mil 2yer deal
    -Draft Coleman in the first round (even trade up a little, if he falls past 15 we need to get him)
    -Let the Glowinski, Sokoli, Britt battle it out for RG

    An OL of Okung, Mathis, Wisnewski,Glowinski,Coleman looks pretty awesome to me for both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. It would also be a relatively chap OL cap wise.

  11. matt

    The OL has been looking a lot better in recent weeks. Bevell’s play calling the last few weeks has been more power run and play action off of it-which is what I was begging for earlier in the year. It’s taken awhile, but we’ve seemed to have found that power run identity-and it’s working. With the exception of the solid Okung this is a very young and inexperienced group that is progressing-slower than we would like but progress nonetheless. If this progress continues the group will be every bit as good as our OL has looked in previous years, which is to say decent, which is all we really need. Sure it would be cool if we had the OL that Dallas has, but we don’t. We have Wilson, Lynch, Graham, a top flight defense and a young cheap OL. This is the recipe that JS/PC have used and I’ll be damned if it hasn’t worked! There’s still time to get this ship right, and I believe that we will!

    Now as for the upcoming offseason: priority #1 resign Okung. It has to happen people, there’s no other viable option in FA and how many question marks do we have if we let him walk. After we spent 2 4th rounders on OG in Poole and Glowinski it seemed the writing on the wall said Sweezy would not be resigned, which may or may not happen. I do not foresee us bringing in a high priced vet to solidify the OL. Wilson and Wagner will both receive huge raises next year-deservedly so-and I just don’t see JS/PC allocating a big chunk of the cap on OL. That’s just what history has shown, although it can change. We have 4 picks in the top 100 and it would be a HUGE surprise if 1 of those picks wasn’t an OL. I’m not going to pidgeon hole a spot at this time, as I’d like to see how the young guys develop in the second half of the season. We have a decently stocked stable of young, versatile, club controlled players on the OL. Adding a top 100 talent to the group would surely be a good thing. Think we could all agree on that, and think I’ve rambled enough…GO HAWKS!!! 🙂

    • RealRhino2

      You could also just say we have a handful of scrubs on the OL. Just because a guy is young and athletic doesn’t mean he has upside. Could just be that he’s an athletic guy that can’t play football.

      Should have had some idea when I heard Millen’s radio reports from last year talking about Britt. Essentially, “Looks the part, really moves for a guy his size, quick and athletic . . . . Boy, for a guy as athletic as he is he sure gets beat a lot.” And all that young, athletic upside hasn’t changed a bit. Still young, tough and athletic, still gets beat a lot.

      I go back and look at, for example, draftscout’s rankings of OT and OG for the past few years, and what stands out to me the most is that the guys ranked high tend to be the best players (duh). I think we are just going to have to spend the draft pick on a player rather than a project. 1st round if you want a good tackle, 2nd round if you want a good guard. Figure out if you can/will keep Okung and go from there.

      • Matt

        “Just because a guy is young and athletic doesn’t mean he has upside.”

        Young and athletic is a big part of the definition of upside. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they know how to play ball though you’re right. There’s way more to becoming a good player than athleticism, but it is something to work off of. Therefore it does translate to upside. I get what you’re saying though and agree about Britt. Our front office has shown that they don’t want to allocate much cap space on the OL, and go after young, cheap, athletic alternatives to fill the unit. It would be nice if spending high draft capitol and $ at the OL guaranteed a solid unit. It does not guarantee this, although does strengthen the odds.

  12. CharlieTheUnicorn

    I kind of want to approach this “sky is falling OL topic” from the opposite direction.

    In 2016, every 1st or 2nd year player with Seattle will have played in the system 1 or more years and have experience. They could continue to improve. As was stated by a very astute commentor on the last article, it takes time to gel and learn the position. As they get more experience, the SPARQ attributes will be able to shine more and more…. less thinking, more destroying DLs. I’m more bullish on 2016 than most on here.

    As for 2015, this is going to be a tough year. Somehow, Seattle still is in striking distance of the NFCW and can make the playoffs…. with the current underwhelming OL play. Imagine if they get to “average” level by the playoffs…. they could win the whole darn shooting match.

    When you think about a team that Seattle couldn’t beat in the NFL…. I don’t see it. Every team has some flaws and if Seattle gets rolling like the last 2 years (or the Giants as a WC a few years back)…. talk about a very scary team to face in the playoffs. Don’t pull the ripcord yet!

  13. bigDhawk

    Wonder what Miami would take for Billy Turner. Still holding out hope he will one day be a Seahawk.

  14. Ukhawk

    Random thoughts:
    This is/was always going to be a (painful) transition year as it was always going to be the time to restructure the line. Unger was not getting younger, nor carp better, and Okung/Sweezy up for renewal. Painful as it is the entire line but Hawks will be better for it.

    I like the Hawks are trying to hit on low round picks with upside. Worked in the secondary, big wins if it works on the OL too. But can’t decide if either not working or not working just yet. This convo needs to be had again after 8 more games…

    Pretty much have no other choice drafting and cracking up as you can’t draft every position in the early rounds.

    Think JSPS would say it’ll be fun building it back up, competing to get better…

  15. Ukhawk

    Coaching not cracking

    • Ukhawk

      Ps. Seem to remember giaciomini being pretty much terrible pass blocking when he started; worse than Gilliam

      • Rob Staton

        Giacomini wasn’t elite — but he was surprisingly able in pass pro. Shut down (seriously) a number of top tier pass rushers including Mario Williams and Julius Peppers in 2012. Both attacked his side of the line.

        • Ukhawk

          I agree it it also too a good amount of time for him to settle in

  16. Volume12

    Davis Hsu brings up a great point. Says a good-elite RT is what RW needs. If ya think about it, it makes total sense. Says that’s his ‘escape valve’ and once again he’s 100% right. Not only that, but the majority of his hits and pressures are coming from the RT being beat like he stole somethin’.

    IMO that’s our biggest need. Gilliam is probably better off as a swing tackle.

    • CharlieTheUnicorn

      Interestingly enough, this upcoming draft is “supposedly” loaded with high quality RT prospects.

      • Volume12

        I’m inclined to believe it is. Now, for LTs this class is way overrated.

    • onrsry

      Andre Smith would be great fit for that. Experienced,good RT. His contract would be 7M/year at highest(Bulaga earns 6.75M/year).I guess SEA can afford that.Bengals probably won’t re-sign him because they drafted 2 OTs with top-2 picks this year.It makes no sense for Bengals to sign Smith and keep both Ogbuehi and Fisher benched.

  17. Wall UP

    Oooh the woes!! Who has woes? It seems every team has woes at the OL. Depending on your perspective though, your team’s woes bear the greater toll.

    Despite the perceived flaws in this OL, have not these same Hawks consistently been a leader in rushing yards in the NFL, for the last 3-4yrs? Sure, Lynch has accomplished much of this despite the OL, you might say. YAC,YAC,YAC!! True, he is a great back, with a better OL he may be in the HOF one day. But, shouldn’t we give credit to the OL, also to the scheme used to set the beast in motion?

    Cable has been instrumental in the success of this rush leading team. With the tools available, he has crafted an OL yr after yr that assists Lynch in achieving excellence. I suppose it’s natural to be microscopic when viewing flaws, woes of this team. Because this team is evolving potentially into a more balanced offensive scheme.

    • Wall UP

      Why not give Cable the opportunity to continue to build a OL that will protect the QB as it evolves into a more pass oriented offense. It will always be a run 1st team, but Russ is evolving. The weapons are for the passing game are an upgrade over the past years. Cable can see those same flaws as we all do. He also can see it’s potential.

      Therefore, perhaps we should step and relax. Not be so focused to dismantle the OL by adding FAs in addition to draft picks, having to recreate chemistry again.

      There has been (2) new additions to the line with (1) position change. With this change, time is needed for it to develop. Talent may well determine its success this year. But, letting Okung and Sweezy walk and add potentially 4-5 members to a new line would be a step back losing the chemistry that’s being developed unbeknownst by the critical eyes. The ones that fixate on woes.

      JS & Cable are not far off. Just (2) additions in the draft, 1st or 2nd for LT/RT and 4th Rd C. The chemistry will continue to develop and continue to evolve into a more balanced offensive utilizing Wilson’s knew found weapons and rushing system will continue its excellence.

      • Volume12

        RW is always going to get sacks. It’s who he is. But 4-6 evey game is unacceptable and a recipe for disaster. 2-3 sacks I suspect they’ll take and or live with.

        They gotta protect him better. When PC expressrs displeasure at the fact Nowak isn’t pickng up blitzes or making adjustments, he’s not talkng about the run game.

        They’ll never stop focusing on run blockers or not being a run heavy team, but if ya give Russ 2-3 more seconds and a ‘trap door’ or safety valve then this team becomes virtually unbeatable.

        • Wall UP

          The draft selections in the past, outside of their early 1st Rd & UDR rookie picks, has been their Achilles heel. They did better this yr, outside of Poole perhaps. Next year’s draft presents opportunities to complete their bldg process. I think they’re on track to get it worked out.

          The entire staff can see the flaws,PC,JS,Cable and Bev. They’ve ‘On it’ as PC would say. We should take a deep breath and ‘relax’. The next few weeks after the bye, with better C play, things will be turned around. They will improve over time. Not entirely fixed. Next yrs draft, with a balanced PPro/Zblkg selections @ OT & C, we’ll see the improvements in the OL, early in the season, that we all want the Offense to display.

          Who knows? They make it back to the SB again despite the OL. Things will improve. ‘There On It, Relax’

          • AlaskaHawk

            Unfortunately the offensive lines has looked bad at the beginning of the season for three years now- including the championship season. They have consistently back slid during the summer. There is something wrong with the coaching and until they fix that I don’t have faith that the line will look better next year regardless of who they draft.

            • Rob Staton

              The O-line was fine at the start of the Championship season. Giacomini had too many penalties but that was it. They had some issues when Giacomini and Okung were injured, but that’s to be expected.

              • Wall UP

                That’s the point. There will always be something to critique the OL about, even a winning Championship SB Team. Even last year’s team went to the SB and many couldn’t wait to kick Carp out the door. Now, the complaints run rampant for dismantling the OL, and add massive changes thru FA & the Draft.

                I stress patience. Let them continue to grow. In a few more weeks perhaps 3-4 you will begin to see the fruits of patience. The OL is always a work in progress.

                The painstaking aspect is not seeing Russell’s new toy flourish and a new passing attack take off. Stay tuned. There are signs of things turning around with the Lockett TD. I wouldn’t be surprised at all, even if they make their 3rd trip in a row to the SB. Even so, you would still hear complaints about the OL.

      • franks

        How many opportunities dies cable need? Whiffed on carpenter and Moffit, whiffed on Britt, whiffed on Poole by all indications and sokoli hasn’t shown anything. What about Glowinsky, why can’t he find the field, with so many linemen underperforming?

        How many chances does cable need, and how many reaches can he take before the jury says Hey, this doesn’t work.

        Maybe we should just pick a lineman who’s played OL, done well and has appropriate measurables.

        • franks

          Everyone on this staff not named Pete Carroll needs to stop trying to out fox the Fox, I.m.o.

  18. CharlieTheUnicorn

    I’m wondering what you guys think about 2 prospects, likely to be around at end of 1st and into the second/third rounds:

    Tyler Johnstone, OT, Oregon
    Projected as RT on a few sites. Athletic and experienced in ZBS like system. His big knock is he has blown out his ACL 2x in the last 24 months.

    Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M
    He is currently being projected to guard in NFL, but he plays with a mean streak and nastiness. Very intriguing guy in 2nd or 3rd rounds if he is available.

    Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
    He is said to be a very good run blocker and above average in pass protection, according to scouts. Currently plays LT and has started since freshman year. Mid round type of pick.

    • Volume12

      Johnstone is overrated IMO. Nothing special.

      Ifedi is a RT IMO. But could also play G if a team wants him there or needed. He’s a late 1st-mid 2nd kind of guy. One of my favorite O-lineman in this class.

      Spriggs is raw, but loaded with potential. He’s rumored to be a freak athlete. Early 2nd-3rd kind of guy. Maybe not currently, but if he turns up at the combine like he’s expected too, than he’ll be a riser.

      I know I’m in the minority, but I like ND’s Ronnie Stanley. He’s way overrated and probably goes late 1st at the earliest. But he’s got the build of a modern day LT and with a little bit of coaching could be a +starter for years.

      • Rob Staton

        Stanley played well vs USC. Needs to keep up that level of performance.

      • smitty1547

        If a guy has been a starter since his freshmen year and is still considered raw and would have my doubts.

  19. Volume12

    Dallas RB Joseph Randle is MIA? Like, literally. WTF!? Between him, DL Greg Hardy throwing b**ch fits, and currently under a 4 game losing streak, not to mention the great game manager in QB Matt Cassell, is this team imploding?

    • nichansen01

      Essentially, yes.

    • bigDhawk

      Not MIA. Left practice after being told he lost the starting job to McFadden. Not that leaving practice is much better than going MIA.

  20. Volume12

    Rob, what do you think of ND DT Sheldon Day?

    I cooled on this guy, but I kinda like him? I mean, I wanna like this cat so much, because he is kind of unique, appears to have the length for Seattle, team leader, disruptive, but he’s so hit and miss. Splash plays galore and then dissappear for long stretches. Am I missing something?

    • Rob Staton

      When I’ve watched him and focused on him I thought ‘meh’. I think college football is having a hard time dishing out top end DT’s. The special ones (Aaron Donald) stand out. It’s a shame Harold Brantley had the car crash.

      • Volume12

        Yeah, I get what your saying.

        Truly awful about DT Harold Brantley. Hope he makes it back.

  21. Old but Slow

    How are the ‘Hawks going to deal with Christine Michael?

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      Attack the ball. Force fumbles.

  22. no frickin clue

    I think the front office has become enamored with the concept of transforming an unpolished DL guy into an O-lineman. It worked for Sweezy, who was just a 7th rd choice to begin with. If it works, it affords the luxury of signing the top talent to sizable deals. The Hawks are almost like a venture capitalist on SharkTank who really have no idea which low-round picks will pan out, so they allow for that by using a lot of such low-round picks (Britt being an exception). The risk of course is that NONE of them pan out.

    We can also get away with less talent on the O-line because of how much of the work Lynch takes on by himself. That will not last forever. They really need to get the line squared away by 2017 at the latest, and that’s probably being lenient.

  23. Volume12

    Stumbled upon this cat the other day. Piqued my interest.

    LSU DE Lewis Neal-6’2, 260 lbs. Said to be along the lines of another Trent Cole. 32 tackles, 8 TFL, 7 QB sacks, 4 PBU, 7 QB hurries.

    Only a jr and might not declare, but LSU pass rushers have tended to leave early in the past. Coach O’s taught this dude well.

    What do ya’ll think?

    • bigDhawk

      No way this guy is 6-1, 264. He is every bit of 6-3, 280. Maybe 290. He’s not extremely twitchy but flashes decent power and seems to get the most of the agility he has. Takes good angles and pursues the ball hard to the whistle. Probably not an All-Pro pass rusher at the next level but could easily be a solid rotational player.

      • Volume12

        Thanks for the feedback.

        I don’t think he’s an early pick either, but more of a solid mid rounder kind of guy. His motor and power jumped off the screen and grabbed my attention.

        You may be right about his size. I just listed what his bio said. However, if he is the size you say, we know that kind of body type appeals to Seattle.

        I still like GA Tech DT Adam Gotsis as we discussed this weekend. Ecspecially after I saw that Seattle worked out a freak athlete this week that hapens to be a former rugby player. Just like Gotsis. Also, Gotsis’ tweets are very interesting and very ‘Seahawky.’

  24. Attyla the Hawk

    Good read.

    I actually feel pretty good about our FO and the process. Not the results we’ve gotten. But I do think there is reason for significant optimism.

    I’ll break it down into different components:


    Talent Evaluation. Overall, I think Seattle’s evaluation on players (which OL have the chops to make immediate impacts) is pretty spot on. There are a lot of players that Seattle has been credibly linked to in the draft process, who happened to get snatched up before we picked. Kyle Long, Juwaun James and Zach Martin come immediately to mind. It’s been suspected that Mitch Morse and Jake Fisher this year were two guys they were eyeing hard with our first pick. The one real significant miss was Bitonio. Although I do think he was part of the ‘pocket of talent’ that we would have considered at #40 when our 1a pick was Richardson. Ultimately, I think Seattle has learned and recognizes the top shelf talent from the 2nd tier prospects. And despite the results of Carpenter — he really was the head and shoulders best of the tier 2 OL prospects in his class. Despite the draft day surprise.

    So at least as it stands so far as being able to identify the goods — I think Seattle is already there and has shown it’s there for some years.


    Need. Seattle very clearly was tailoring their roster so that they’d skimp on the OL in order to direct resources (salary and draft capital) to other position groups on the roster. Seattle (I think rightly) saw that the good teams tended to get value at other positions and leave the OL investment intentionally low. And that worked to a large degree. Possibly even buoyed by their own experience with Carpenter and Moffitt and to a lesser extent Britt. The team was able to absorb the impact of skimping on this group and still compete at the highest levels. This is really the first year we’ve seen significant pain and deteriorated performance as a team due to relative neglect at the OL position.


    Get their man. This is where I think Seattle has fallen egregiously short. Seattle has been formulaic in how they approach the draft. Admittedly it’s a formula that has resulted in producing one of the best rosters in the league. Leave with 9-10 draftees and a few choice UDFAs.

    This is a good formula. But where it uniquely breaks down is when you’re faced with restocking positions that are by nature overdrafted. QBs. OTs. DEs. These are kind of the holy trinity of value positions. While our draft position was always low — we have been historically reluctant to trade quantity for quality. Prior to this draft, we’ve traded back in the draft 8 times, only trading up once.

    This reluctance to move up, coupled with the intrinsic nature of teams overvaluing/drafting talents at the OL position has meant we’ve continually missed out on ‘our guy’. The one year we didn’t pull the trigger seems to be borne on the basis that we fell in love with RIchardson much as we did with Irvin in 2012.

    Why I think things could change in 2016:

    I think all of these factors could be now turned on it’s collective heads. Obviously our need is now to a point where everyone can easily see that we’re going to have to spend some resources on this position group. It’s now to a point where it’s suppressing our talent investments elsewhere on this offense. From a cap perspective, I don’t see us being able to merit UFA additions. Which is good because I don’t see a lot of really good options in that realm either. Capable players in their primes at these positions are being heavily paid.

    Our roster model is now more mature. Where it was necessary to trade back early in rounds in order to get 9-10 picks — that necessity is now lessened. We’re adding multiple comp picks per year having the same effect.

    And finally, I think the experience we’re having resulting in the aggressive trade up for Lockett is a visceral example of what kind of value you can acquire by being aggressive and moving up for guys you like. Seattle could have moved up for Long/Martin/James/Morse/Fisher if they could have found a willing trade partner. I think that the barriers to making these kinds of moves are no longer impeding this team. And our direct recent experience is showing that very often times moving up is better than standing pat and hoping your guy reaches you.

    I do think, that Seattle can pick the nuggets of gold from the coal pile. And I think their will to make that happen is showing signs that we could see these ‘missing out’ instances turning into aggressive moves to get our guys.

    • Volume12

      Was it Jake Fisher? I remember Ty Sambrailo and even Ali Marpet, but not Fisher. You could be right though.

      I agree about the ‘top shelf talent’ in the 2nd tier of prospects. I think Seattle goes this way with the O-line this year. You can’t bank on one of the 1st tier guys dropping or falling come draft day. Unless they happen to trade up of course, and then ya don’t have to wory about a guy falling into your lap.

      • Wall UP

        1st Rd trade up may be too costly. If they draft @ the same spot as the last few years, they may follow the same philosophy in trading down to use the to get their guys.

        • Wall UP

          Using the picks they get after trading down will help when trading up in Rds 2-4. But, if they decide to go get Coleman if he doesn’t fall to them, that would be great.

          The (2) guys that would be must get after that are Mills & Allen. That will give you (3) starters @ great cost, possibly a 2nd & 3rd. That could mean missing out on Adolphus and Nakonque (2) additional potential starters. I don’t think they would go that route. Getting (5) starters out a draft is not a bad value draft. Hawkins would be the other starter in lieu of Coleman.

          That’s the risk of trading up in the 1st Rd vs the 3rd Rd with Lockett last year.

        • Attyla the Hawk

          Possibly. But I think the body of evidence over the course of the last several drafts kind of proves a few things:

          1. Cost or not, that’s the price you have to pay for OT talent. At least the kind of OL talent that Seattle has been coveting.

          2. Tier 2 OL prospects have been very VERY fraught with risk. You can pick in a clump of 5 to 8 guys all graded similarly and ONE of those guys might actually be good. Seattle has seemed to be very good at identifying the swan amidst the ugly ducklings. I’d rather they don’t mess around and get their guy. Rather than take what’s left of the bunch.

          I would also make the following point in this debate of subjective worth. If we accept, that in general OL talent leaguewide is perilously bad. And further that incoming talent is equally ill equipped to make immediate impacts. Then it follows that good OL talent that can be day one starters, have a vastly superior value to JAGs and project prospects.

          I would argue that the current NFL/NCAA landscape of OL talent turns the traditional opinions of how valuable an OL player really is on it’s head. If Seattle truly believes this OL is holding our talent back — then it’s almost imperative that we invest aggressively there.

          We are paying how much for Baldwin/Lynch/Wilson and Graham? That’s not cheap. How much actual production are we getting from that spend? How much of that actual spend becomes realized spend if we aggressively address the OL with immediate quality? One could look at the ‘cost’ of moving up and justify it based on the expected increase in production gained by the talent we are already paying top dollar for today.

  25. Ed

    So many articles and comments about the Oline. The constant weak spot of the Hawks. Who we should have drafted, who we should draft, who we should let go, who we should pickup, etc…

    We can all agree the talent isn’t there. We can all agree the philosophy hasn’t worked that well (late round DL turned into OL). My question/comment is, Bevell and the passing game has not changed at all. Look at Brady/Rogers, both OL are not stellar, but they throw the ball so quickly and let the WR/TE make the plays. I don’t want to turn this into the continued bashing of Bevell, but he is the passing coordinator and calls the plays. Run the ball, quick throws will help the Oline confidence and Wilson.

    • Trevor

      Agree 100%

    • Wall UP

      I do as well. Naked boots, designed roll outs and play action with deep drops will all give time for routes to develop, like the Lockett TD. The staff will devise ways to prevent potential sacks. Russ will listen to his internal clock and get rid of the ball. Their going to be fine.

      • franks

        Wall I think he’s suggesting routes that need less time to develop. But if they drew a more reckless pass rush, we could see more effective bootlegs and rollouts.

    • franks

      Quick throws is exactly what we’re missing, and not only would they help the O Line block, they might help Russell make plays with his feet. If the defense rushes with the mentality that they need to get there before the ball is gone, Russell could break our offense open.

      • Wall UP

        Bubble screens, slants, quick outs, they use those all the time. The sacks come from inside and escaping the pocket. The time consuming routes that are from the pocket needs to be limited.

        • sdcoug

          I rarely ever see a slant in this offense. Granted the two I remember may have been memorable for a reason (Russ hitting Kearse perfectly in the NFCC against GB, which he clanked for an Int, and of course the SB) …but I really don’t see many at all this year. Just seems like something we would perfect, with our quick-collapsing O-line.

  26. bigDhawk

    Rob, where do you think Trevon Boykin will get drafted? I’ve mentioned a few different times that I would like to see us acquire a developmental QB this draft, and I think Boykin would be a great fit if he can be had late. Yes, he is a pure spread college QB and will take years to learn the NFL game, but we have years to let him sit and learn behind Russell. He is 6-2, 205 with a strong, accurate arm and legs equal to Russell. If it is reasonable to expect he will be there in the 6th round or later I am very interested. What say you?

    • Rob Staton

      I think Boykin is a late rounder. Still hard to translate his skills to the next level. Developmental guy.

  27. Dawgma

    There’s no more sure way to make yourself look like an idiot than to believe you’re the smartest one in the room, and there’s ‘s no simpler way to convince yourself you’ really the smartest one in the room than believing that pulling off something with a low probability the first time you tried it means you can reliably pull it off reliably the next two or three times, too.

    Somehow they got convinced they could squeeze by picking OL and Das late and striking gold. And of our OL sucks and our DB pool is very shallow.

    For the Das that’s streakiness – they got all the hits at once and couldn’t keep everyone. The OL has just been whiff after whiff after whiff. Newsflash, guys: maybe Cable actually ISN’T a wizard who can turn spam into fillet mignon.

    • Rob Staton

      For the sake of context though, they also tried the other way too. They spent two first round picks on Okung and Carpenter, a third round pick on Moffitt and signed second round pick Max Unger to a contract extension. And everyone complained the O-line wasn’t good enough.

      So players move on, they try a different plan. Go with elite athleticism and try and coach the guys up. And it isn’t working. So ultimately they probably turn to another new plan in the off-season.

      The idea that they’ve neglected the line in the draft simply isn’t true. They could’ve done more (eg drafting Joel Bitonio in 2014) but they certainly didn’t ignore it. They still drafted a second rounder on a tackle that year.

  28. Steele

    Okung is out this Sunday, adding to the ugliness. The Dallas pass rushers will have so many openings to attack, they won’t know what to do with themselves.

  29. nichansen01

    Dallas might set a record for most sacks in a single game tomorrow…

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