The NFL needs a development league and fast

It’s time for the NFL to help young O-liners learn their trade, such as Ereck Flowers

Anyone watching the Giants vs Lions game on Monday will realise the white elephant in the room. Offensive line play is rotten with only a few exceptions.

There’s a temptation to navel gaze at times and think the Seahawks are the only ones with O-line issues. They emphatically aren’t. Take away a handful of teams like Dallas, Oakland and Tennessee and you notice the problem is widespread.

Unlike the Seahawks, the Giants are not trying to turn a basketball player into a left tackle and they aren’t starting their backup either. They have a top-10 tackle watching the blindside (Ereck Flowers), another first round pick at left guard (Justin Pugh) and a high second round pick at center (Weston Richburg).

New York’s O-line performance against Detroit was pitiful.

Flowers has received the bulk of the criticism. He struggled mightily to block Ziggy Ansah who collected three sacks.

In fairness to Flowers, he was a perfectly acceptable early draft pick in 2015. He’s big and long and played with a real edge at Miami. He was nasty on the field and looked the part of a pro-lineman.

Like so many players, however, he’s struggled to make the step up.

Stanford left tackle Andrus Peat was also drafted in the first round in 2015. He’s flipped between tackle and guard in New Orleans but so far has had a pretty underwhelming start to his career. Cameron Erving was taken in the first round to play center in Cleveland having started at left tackle for Florida State. He was recently traded to the Chiefs for a bag of chips.

Cedric Ogbuehi hasn’t solved any of Cincinnati’s problems on the O-line after being selected with the 21st pick in 2015. Laken Tomlinson, the #28 pick, flopped in Detroit and was traded to the 49ers in pre-season. D.J. Humphries hasn’t had a big impact for the Cardinals, highlighted by this assessment from ‘Revenge of the Birds’:

Humphries was so slow to pick up the Cardinals’ offense and to display a professional approach to his work, that not only did Earl Watford start at RT instead, Humphries was publicly branded “Knee Deep” by his head coach, a sobriquet given to him by his OC Harold Goodwin.

That quote comes from an article published today titled: ‘When will the offensive line begin to produce for the Arizona Cardinals?

When people question why the Seahawks and Tom Cable have been unable to develop offensive linemen without high draft picks, it appears to be a broader problem within the league.

Without wishing to go over old ground again, we’ve been talking for years on this blog about the way the best athletes in High School are actively choosing to play defense instead of offense. You get stats (sacks, TFL’s), you get the glory and most importantly — you get paid in the NFL.

Here are the top-five earners at defensive tackle in the NFL:

Ndamukong Suh — $19m (average)
Fletcher Cox — $17.1m
Kawann Short — $16.1m
Marcell Dareus — $16m
Gerald McCoy — $15.8m

Here are the defensive ends:

Muhammad Wilkerson — $17.2m
Olivier Vernon — $17m
J.J. Watt — $16.6m
Jason Pierre-Paul — $15.5m
Calais Campbell — $15m

And here are the outside linebackers:

Von Miller — $19m
Justin Houston — $16.8m
Chandler Jones — $16.5m
Robert Quinn — $14.2m
Clay Matthews Jr — $13.2m

Now let’s look at the top paid offensive linemen:

Trent Williams — $13.6m
Russell Okung — $13.2m
Terron Armstead — $13m
Tyron Smith — $12.2m
Kevin Zeitler, Eric Fisher, Cordy Glenn, David Bakhtiari — $12m

Look at the difference. Kawann Short earns $2.5m a year more than Trent Williams and pushing $5m a year more than Joe Thomas.

Brock Huard made the point on 710 ESPN this week. If Walter Jones was in college today with his unique physical profile, he’d probably be playing three technique and not left tackle. That’s where the money, fame and profile is these days.

The big schools chasing the four and five star prospects are quite willing to accommodate these desires in order to collect the best young players. Who cares if you have a lot of defensive linemen? It works for Alabama.

After all, you can run a spread offense to make life easier for the offensive linemen and work around the problem.

What this is doing is creating a void of athletic talent playing offensive line in college. It’s also insufficiently preparing those who do play O-line for the next level. The schemes they play in college, with only a few exceptions, are nothing like the schemes in the NFL.

So it’s not a big surprise that teams like Seattle seek out athletes like George Fant to train and develop. Whatever you think of that plan and the way Seattle has operated — it makes a degree of sense. Especially when they’re not in position to draft in the top ten and add one of the handful of top O-liners turning pro.

There’s very little sign of anything changing soon. In the last free agency period, O-liners did receive bigger contracts. Teams threw money at players like Riley Reiff, Ricky Wagner and Matt Kalil. All three players still received considerably lower salaries than Calais Campbell.

Arguably the best defensive lineman in the NFL, Aaron Donald, could sign a contract worth over $20m a year in Los Angeles. It’s unlikely Tyron Smith or Trent Williams will ever get anywhere near that.

We’ll also continue to see any remotely talented college offensive linemen hurried into the league. This week Tony Pauline reported Washington’s Trey Adams is a ‘first round lock’. Adams is a good player with a pro-future. He’s also had a slightly underwhelming start to the 2017 season. Such is the need for O-liners though, it won’t be a surprise if he goes very early in the draft — even if his play is relatively modest for the rest of the year. Who knows whether he’ll be ready or not? He’s only a junior and would be expected to start immediately if he goes in round one.

College football is currently the NFL’s only farm system and it is failing the league in such a dramatic way. Bad O-line play is blighting the league, not just in Seattle. It is possible that the teams with the good O-lines will earn a significant advantage over the next few years as long as they have a competent quarterback and supporting cast (as Dallas, Oakland and Tennessee all do). A large portion of the league appears to be either struggling on offense or finding ways to compensate and game plan around the issue.

The most obvious solution is to create a strong summer league or development system. Allow teams to spend a couple of years developing offensive linemen in a pro-system playing meaningful snaps in proper games. The results will be emphatic. Suddenly a player like George Fant can go away and spend a couple of years really learning how to be a left tackle. Even the early picks, such as Ereck Flowers, might be able to spend a full season learning their trade without the pressure and glare of expectation and instant gratification.

It’s not the only position group that will benefit. The likes of Kurt Warner developed in the old NFL Europe. Being able to train quarterbacks, pass rushers, cornerbacks — the league is only going to benefit from this.

With more and more of the best athletes playing D-line in college and the huge discrepancy that is growing between the two units in the trenches, this feels like an absolute necessity. Bad football is not what anyone wants to see but bad football is what we’re getting in many cases.

Giving each team a way to develop young players and train them over time just makes too much sense not to happen. And as Aaron Earlywine notes, ‘last year, 16,175 college football players were eligible for the NFL draft. Only 256 of them were drafted.‘ Doesn’t the league owe it to these young players to give them more than one or two shots to realise their dream of making it?

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  1. CD

    You would think the NFL could become part owners in the CFL and use it like the baseball or hockey minor leagues. Sending their fringe players there for playing time but being able to call them back during certain windows, 2-way contracts with club control. Is the NFL too arrogant, they want to do the training, or is the CFL too proud to have guys come and go more often?

    • Hawk Eye

      I agree. The CFL does not have the money, the NFL has way too much. Different game, but with the CFL geared towards passing, it makes sense to find a way to help fund it to expand, and get the players from the NFL some training. In the 1970`s, the difference in salary was about $2000. Now, I think the top 2 quarterbacks make almost as much as the ENTIRE CFL.
      Pride from CFL ownership will get in the way, and lack of creative thinking from NFL ownership means it probably never happens.
      I watch a CFL game for the first time in years last Saturday. I have to say it was a lot more exciting than most NFL games, and the level of play seemed pretty good. But just does not get the hype around it and is seen as a 2nd rate league. It is, but not to the degree a lot of people think.
      Bigger field, so smaller players can succeed there where they cannot in the NFL.

      but there should be a way to find a creative way to make both leagues happy. At a much cheaper cost than the league in Europe

    • Trevor

      I am from Canada and have been watching the CFL for 30 years. The CFL / NFL are two very different games. If you think the CFB offenses are different than the NFL then the CFL is even more different. 3 downs, wide field, big end zones, running starts for WRs etc.

      The CFL is proud of being different and that is kind of how it markets itself here in Canada. I cannot see them changing the rules so they could become a farm system for the NFL and that is what it would take. I know $ talks but I don’t see it ever happening to be honest.

      The CFL is a fun league and most Canadian cities that have teams really support them and love that they can relate to the players who are all playing for the love of the game not making millions of dollars. Plus many of the teams are owned by the communities.

      Love the idea but don’t see it happening. But like I said I guess $ talks so if they threw enough money at them who knows.

      • C-Dog

        Having Canadian roots myself, I agree with all of this. They enjoy their own brand and it’s a really different game.

  2. Preston

    Great article and spot on Rob! Believe I heard this last offseason the league was looking into doing just that. It was something small, 3 month long season and 6 teams..

    • Rob Staton

      I think every team should get a development squad, six games against the farm teams of the divisional opponents. So Seattle’s farm team plays LA, SF, Arizona home and away.

      • Preston

        Completely agree. Allowing teams to have their hands on grooming these players could only help this problem be resolved more with the farm system. They should do it. Here’s the article I was thinking of:

        • Rob Staton

          It’s astonishing really that teams don’t have the opportunity to properly train and develop players. A tiny practise squad isn’t sufficient. Only positive things can come from giving teams a chance to develop guys over 2-3 years into their pro-systems. Give those players the same contracts as UDFA types.

          • joel

            I agree that a developmental league of some sort is a good idea, or at the very least increasing the roster size, but part of the problem here is that too many owners are too cheap to fund something like this. SBNation had an interesting article yesterday pointing out how many NFL owners are content to spend as little money and effort as possible because owning a stadium and revenue-sharing makes the actual NFL product secondary to their revenue stream. It’s not exactly a secret that Jed York is reaping far more revenue from all the events throughout the year at Levis than he is selling tickets to games. Stan Kroenke literally doubled the value of his investment simply by moving the Rams to LA and investing in his new stadium complex, where football is but one of the many revenue streams.

            Coaches and pundits are quick to point out this week that CBA limits practice time and doesn’t allow much contact, but that probably pales in comparison to the fact that many owners just don’t care how their team actually performs: they just care about the absurd profits. That snake will eventually eat its own tail but by then, these owners can walk away wealthy and with little actual personal investment.

      • Drew

        That’s a great idea and seems like it would be easily doable. And I’m sure the NFL would find a way to market it and make it profitable for them as well.

  3. Rowlandice

    It seem like a good way to also develop more coaches and even referees! Another benefit it can provide is getting the player physically ready for the NFL. Some college players need time to prepare as athletes for the NFL game, especially on the offensive lines. Look at how excited we were when Fant had an offseason to change his basketball body into a LT type.

  4. Brandon Adams

    I wonder if it’s going to take some bold, thick-skinned, trend-setting executive paying a ridiculous amount for a quality OL free agent (as in $17m) to start balancing the market again.

  5. pran

    two best comes to mind in terms of developing Oline talent thru late rounders and undrafted..
    Steelers & Pats. Packs come close too..

    sometimes you just have to accept that scouting and coaching makes a big difference! hawsk failed big time…they were able to manage till two years ago but not any more. something has changed…

    • Rob Staton

      With respect Pran, this is just a recycling of the relentless whingeing about Cable and Bevell. It clearly isn’t just about Seattle’s scouting and coaching. That’s why the Cardinals’ SB Nation forum is asking the same questions about their OL, why NYG is struggling, why the Bengals have collapsed etc.

      The Packers’ line didn’t look too great against Seattle and Atlanta. The Steelers have two first round picks on their line and found a left tackle who fits their style. Seattle might’ve had their version in Fant before the injury.

      This is a league wide problem, clearly, and it’s something that needs addressing. It isn’t just ‘scouting and coaching’ in Seattle however much fans want to buy into that rhetoric.

      • pran

        agree ..its a league wide problem. but it also tells me if its such a wide spread problem it aint a problem any more since most of the teams face the same issue. it comes down to how they are mitigating the problem, developing talent, if we cannot do better than most then we have a problem on hand.

        its due to coaches not players unless you have top talent!

        • Rob Staton

          No pran, read the article again.

          The point is teams don’t have the time and training capability to develop OL and a development league is needed. Every team with only a handful of exceptions is facing this problem. The ones who aren’t have invested early picks and major FA money into their OL’s.

          I know people want to turn everything into a Cable and Bevell moan. It isn’t necessary. Some teams are working around the problem. The Seahawks have in the past too (see: 2015). There is nothing uniquely bad about Seattle. Anyone watching the Giants, Cards, Bengals, Texans etc can see that.

          • pran

            totally agree on development league..that’s addressing the issue at league level which might take years. some teams might see the gaps as an advantage and may not support it. league can also organize clinics for college coaches and players if they wish to take a much quicker route.

            my earlier response is about managing this at club level. if we cannot address this quickly we might join the teams you mentioned.

          • Sean

            I am going to reiterate Pran’s point, because I feel like you did not address it Rob. Completely agree with you that offensive line talent is down across the board, and a developmental league would be useful. However, the Hawks line is poor in comparison to other teams that are dealing with the exact same problems. This has been the case for the last 3 years. At some point the blame absolutely has to go the the individuals managing the team, scapegoating it as a league wide problem is not an accurate solution. Hawks have not scouted/developed/managed existing talent well in comparison to the rest of the NFL. Personally I feel like a lot of this is a result of the front office not keeping existing competent olinemen, however, scouting and coaching has to be considered an issue as well.

            • Rob Staton

              I don’t agree though Sean. For me that is the kind of navel gazing I refer to in the piece. Seahawks fans think our issues are unique. The Giants O-line is a mess. They can’t run the ball, they can’t protect Eli. It’s a disaster zone. The Bengals have gone from contender to top-10 pick bait because they’ve let O-liners walk and the R1/2 picks they’ve put in as replacements are struggling. The Cardinals writers are doing articles today asking when their O-line will become any good after years of investment in the draft and FA.

              The Hawks line isn’t good — but it’s not poor in comparison to these teams. It’s about the same.

              As for scouting and development etc. I feel like I’ve been over this so many times. For starters, the Seahawks have developed guys like Sweezy from DL in college and Britt to one of the best center’s in the league. They turned Unger from bust to starter. Fant was on his way before injury and Ifedi is showing growth this season. They got a few years out of Okung and Carpenter (lot of draft busts since in R1) and Giacomini went from nobody to accomplished starter. They also handled having Paul McQuistan at LT for eight games during the SB year in 2013. That’s plenty of development. I’ve noted many times that the Seahawks have passed on only four pro-bowl O-liners since 2010. The scouting department isn’t constantly whiffing on good O-liners. And they’ve had to replace all five starters since the Super Bowl. That’s not easy for Cable and I suspect the FO wouldn’t want it either — but they can’t pay everyone and have to stick to how they value players. So there’s lots at play here — but this is a league wide problem and Seattle’s issues are not unique.

              • AlaskaHawk

                I don’t think the Seahawks problems are unique. But I’m also not willing to say that they can’t do better. Half the teams in the NFL showed a better offensive performance last week, and some of them have been pretty consistent over the last 5 to 10 years. Others have improved their offensive play from one year to the next- and often that involved a new coach with a new philosophy.

                I don’t know what the issues are and I have trusted the coaches to figure it out. I suspect that is why many people are tired of the slow slide downhill. Being an optimist- I always look forward to the team and the offensive line improving. Lets hope it starts this week!

                • Rob Staton

                  I have never suggested they can’t do better.

                  I’m not buying the doom and gloom though. Seattle’s offense was crappy in week two against the 49ers in 2013 too. Wilson was erratic, the O-line sucked. They improved after a slow start. The same thing happened in 2015 and 2016. The offense has always improved. Yeah teams played better on offense last weekend. Not many of them have had Seattle’s consistent success from 2012. I’m willing to give this offense time to get into a rhythm. That doesn’t mean I won’t be critical — my post immediately after the 49ers game last Sunday for example highlighted a number of issues.

  6. vrtkolman

    This is fascinating stuff. I agree a developmental league would be ideal. Rob, in your opinion what do you think the future of the NFL offense is? Are teams going to copy the NCAA and start running spread heavy schemes with a lot of quick outs and screens? NFL defenses are probably too fast for that to work consistently.

    • Rob Staton

      I think it’s inevitable the league darts towards a similar direction on offense as college. Like CFB teams, they’re being forced to find ways to work around the discrepancy between OL and DL. We’re already seeing a lot more spread.

      • dumbquestions

        I think this (more spread in the NFL) is the likeliest outcome. A developmental league is a sensible idea, ergo the NFL probably won’t do it. And even if they did, the same rules regarding practices would apply, so it seems a little dreamy to think players could be taught more effectively. Presumably, the same situation would apply to a D-league: d-liners would be better than o-liners due to money, so you’d have a lower-quality league with the same features.

        As the old hands always say, the league is cyclical and adjusts. The longer the o-line discrepancy lasts, the more profound the resulting effects will become: scoring will go down, and more QBs (the highest-paid players and the most significant investments) will get hurt. That’s when the league will react. How? Either rule changes to favor the offense (again), or schemes to limit d dominance. So more spreads. Right?

  7. Trevor

    I am with you Rob the idea of a farm system makes so much sense as every other pro sports league has one. The only issue I can see is the players union and the whole idea of player safety etc. They would not want these guys playing 6 games then heading to an NFL training camp. Just way to hard on the body.

    They have eliminated almost all contact in the off season so I can’t see development league working unless it was ran in conjunction with the NFL and rosters were made up of undrafted players or guys that get cut from NFL Camps. Teams could decide to send players to this league to develop while still retaining their rights. Much like huge practice squads with the ability to call guys up etc. Much like the AHL / NHL hockey system.

    • Rob Staton

      Play the six games in September-October then — and give teams the option to call them up to the 53.

      • icb12

        And make them the Thursday night games..

        Keeps players from doing the crazy turnaround from Sun-Thurs, keeps football on on thursday nights

        • Hawk Eye

          The Thursday football games may not be worse with the D league:)

  8. Ukhawk

    Couple of thoughts:
    -A Developmental league makes sense but I’m sure there is a lot to consider ie economics & previously there have been failed attempts so it must be tough. Suppose it’s just about the model employed.
    -I like the link above re Pacific pro league (PPL) but not too sure how it’ll allow NFL teams to directly develop players. Given its proposed size. Upside I see is that it’s a small model which could maybe be replicated elsewhere nationally even internationally.
    -Love how baseball & the premier league have different tiers on competition to develop players. (Be interesting to have promoted/demoted sides in the NFL – imagine the draft/ownership impact). But possibly as Shanahan eluded to with the PPL, it is maybe harder to replicate the specialized nature of pro type football in an amateur/semipro environment than in other non/less contact sports?
    -Could players (&Fred’s & coaches) be sent out “on loan” for a season ( to a developmental league or the CFL) like in the premier league from either the practice squad and even shorter term from the game day inactives to play, practice, learn & hit unlike the current, limiting OTA-type rules?
    -Will supply/demand adjust the FA market & college recruitment for OL?. Bigger programs should adjust their schemes to produce more pro ready players given the logic that OL players will want the best possible chance to make the NFL, thus prefer said programs & drive demand hence supply.

    Developmental makes sense in terms of helping solve problems the problem but the next question is how best to do provide the solution.

    • Ukhawk

      Refs not Fred’s

  9. Ukhawk

    Like picking up Garrison Smith as we needed some more depth up front. Surprised to see Bass go so quick, hope we can add his to the page active squad 🤞

    • GerryG

      No way he is PS eligible

  10. Awsi Dooger

    I wasn’t particularly high on Flowers with the Canes. Herky jerky athlete who often got in trouble when the defender wasn’t intimidated. I took plenty of heat for that opinion on Canes sites but it looks identical in the pros. Flowers simply isn’t fluid and agile enough.

    The problem is basic athletic ability, as implied in this thread. When I was a young kid watching the glory era Dolphins some of the best athletes on the team were offensive linemen, like Larry Little and Jim Langer. Especially Little. I absolutely loved it when #66 would lead a sweep and wipe out helpless defenders. Those Dolphins had a converted basketball player named Wayne Moore starting at left tackle.

    During that era I hated it when Griese dropped back to pass. Why bother? Such a detour from base probability, which is a run managing 5 yards or more. Then it was an incredible insult when the Dolphins resorted to pantyhose passing team under Marino. Shula got older and older coaches are typically more lazy, preferring to toss the pass over heads instead of the annoyance of removing huge and athletic defenders from the path. Bobby Bowden was a prime example. He said Steve Spurrier taught him it wasn’t necessary to run the ball. How convenient that older coaches find that excuse so often, no matter the source or the rationalization. I always wondered if Lombardi would have continued to run the ball so dependably with the Redskins, had he lived.

    For whatever reason the combine type athletic tests don’t seem to identify ideal offensive linemen as dependably as edge rushers, where analytics are absolute gold as long as you use the correct ones, i.e. the Waldo criteria.

    The problem with a developmental league, of course, is that you have to fill every position and all coaching positions along with finding enough fans who care enough to make it viable. It can’t be merely a league for young raw offensive linemen to dance around together.

    I still see some premier offensive linemen entering the college ranks on occasion. The kid at Tennessee — Trey Smith — has been phenomenal so far.

  11. C-Dog

    This is really a fantastic read on the issues, Rob. As a person who as grown well beyond exhausted of all the Fire Cable & Bevell chatter, I think you have painted a very clear picture as to why that notion may not get the results that those would be hoping for out of it. It’s just not that simple.

    And seeing people bringing up the idea of trading RW for a high first just to draft a LT high, and then use the native pick on a rookie QB makes me want to puke, frankly. It’s Cleveland Browns 101. First you are dealing a proven franchise QB; second, you literally have no idea what you getting out of the rookie LT or QB.

    At the risk of offending a number of fine contributors on this board, I actually like what Seattle has chosen to do. They’ve rewarded proven core players, and they rewarded their best OL in Britt this year. In my glass half full approach, I’m not gloom and doom for this season. Starting the season out offensively behind the eight ball is not a new thing with this team. Carroll has already signaled this there will be adjustments to scheme and or players this week. The one thing I will give this offensive coaching staff credit for is in finding adjustments that work well enough to get them into postseason. Two pluses that I see are a healthy mobile Russell Wilson, and an emerging Chris Carlson. Neither of these things were available last season.

    The NFL benefited a good from NFL Europe. Seattle got some good players out of it with Michael Sinclair and Jon Kinta. It just makes too much sense not to have a legitimate farm league. You could even regionalize it. Seattle could have its team in Portland. San Fran in Sacramento. Dallas in Austin. For a league that loves expanding its brand, there’s that whole angle, as well.

    Really terrific write up, Rob. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • mrpeapants

      ty pran. its refreshing to see a different opinion other then, “theres just no good olineman”. I’m not saying its not a problem but maybe, just maybe there might be more to it then that. to just dismiss the coaching and other aspects seems a little close minded.

      • Rob Staton

        It’s amusing that you’re basically saying, ‘at last! Someone is finally blaming Cable and Bevell! There’s been too much perspective on here recently!’

        • mrpeapants

          too much perspective is just blaming the college players? that’s amusing to me.

          • Rob Staton

            You and I both know that my argument is nowhere near as simplified as that.

            • mrpeapants

              and I just thought it was interesting what BB said in that piece, instead of the same old excuses.

              • Rob Staton

                Without doubt — but you also inferred that it was refreshing to see something other than ‘there’s no good O-linemen’. That’s a bit of a weak way to describe what we’re discussing here — and to follow it up by making points about the coaching. If anything, I would’ve thought people would prefer to read something OTHER than just relentless complaining about the coaches.

  12. Logan Lynch

    I also love the idea of a developmental league, but why hasn’t it happened yet? Is it a money issue? CBA issue?

    I believe NFL Europe shut down because it was losing money (live on Barcelona Dragons), but with the NFL’s increased push into places such as England maybe the time would be right to look into a similar idea or create another US league as alluded to above.

    However, it may be just my skepticism but I just don’t see the NFL going into any business venture where they might lose money. The battle will come in the cost/benefit analysis. If the quality of the OL keeps degrading at this pace, will the NFL even be watchable in 10 years? At what point does it make sense to lose a bit of money on a developmental league, but recoup some costs in the increase in viewership with improved play? This will be a fascinating development to watch in the next decade.

    • Volume12

      Logan, my man. I knew you’d come!

      That Jinder Mahal promo last night? F***ing 🔥. The internet marks get worked again. The bad guy says bad guy things? No. How shocking.

      Incredible stuff. It’s the MITB controversy all over again.

      • Logan Lynch


        Hah, gotta love the turmoil. A heel being a heel is such a novel concept to some people.

        I know it was a few weeks ago, but I really enjoyed that promo segment with Cena and Reigns on RAW. Cena is so good on the mic and Reigns finally got to show a bit of personality too.

        • Volume12

          Love Roman myself. IMO he’s the best in ring worker this year and his promos are finally starting to catch up. Its interesting how much RAW has leaned into these worked shoot promos of late. It’s working though.

          As for the Jinder thing. Aren’t his promos full of irony? He thinks people don’t like him because of how he looks and where he’s from but he’s just a hypocritical a”*hole. That’s why people don’t like him. Everything he says is basically him holding a mirror in front of the fans as his words come out.

          I don’t get these fans nowadays. They loved the Attitude Era and all the trash storylines that had, but nowadays they’re so sensitive.

          Your not supposed to like Mahal. Your supposed to want to see him get beat. He’s supposed to make us feel uncomfortable and we’re supposed to feel sorry for Nakamura and want to see Nakamura knee his head off his neck. He’s adding heat to a championship storyline.

          That’s what I love about SmackDown. It’s basically WWE’s southern booking office and has a WCW feel to it. Even when its not as good as RAW like currently it’s just an easier shown to watch ya know what I mean?

          • Logan Lynch

            Agree on Roman, I’ve always been a fan of his in ring work especially. Yeah, he has his “5 moves of doom” that he relies on, but so does Cena. And so did Hogan, Rock, Austin, etc. All the big stars did.

            I really like how the brand split has allowed them to create 2 very different products under the same umbrella. Maybe they end up bringing everyone back together again like they did before, but for now the 2 distinct shows is really working. It allows them to push different guys and essentially have double the chance of creating the new superstars that they’ve been lacking in recent years.

            • Volume12

              Exactly. SmackDown isn’t as good as it was last year, RAW has been better since WM, but the whole point of the brand split was to create 2 different shows like you said and right now they couldn’t feel more different.

              I hope they don’t end the split and merge the rosters. It’s too deep now, especially when we factor in all the call-ups from NXT still to come. The only way I could see it happening is if there was a bunch of releases.

              I mean SmackDown can’t even get Luke Harper on TV and he’s one of the best performers the company has.

              • Volume12

                As for the ‘5 moves of doom.’ When did wrestling become all about cool move sets for these fans? Selling, facial expressions, little things like that are much more important for me.

                Also love how 2017 is the year of the sprint baby. Apparently according to the Internet marks, a match can only be good if its 20-25 minutes. TV matches should have a 15 minute time limit like they used to. TV should be used for angles and storylines anyways.

                • Logan Lynch

                  Hitting the nail on the head. Unfortunately a lot of fans just want to see a ton of cool moves and selling has become a mostly lost art. It’s to a point now where matches are becoming more dangerous for the guys. They’re expected to do really cool moves, or take bigger bumps. Eventually, the moves just mean less. Steamboat could sell the crap out of anything and didn’t have to kill himself to do it.

  13. SheHawk

    Agree with C Dog & Rob 100%
    Cheers Rob! A regional farm system/league would be amazing! Just think beyond football, of what having a farm team can do for those smaller communities!!. Seahawks have always been a regional team. Locating a farm club outside of western Washington would help make the game more accessible to those who can’t necessarily afford the time or cost of a weekend in Seattle for a home game.
    As someone who moved from Seattle over to the mighty “509” area code I believe someplace like Spokane would be GREAT. C Dog notes how other cities have an equivalent locale for a farm club ( ex Sacramento). Just need a city that is small enough and far away enough to embrace their farm team. Spokane for example is also a regional center (We drive our kids to tournaments all the time that draw from Montana, Idaho …even down from Canada)
    Our region is full of passionate Hawk fans – many of whom I see crossing the treacherous mountain passes to make games at Century Link. It’s a win – win for the NFL and for perhaps more importantly an economic “hand up” for smaller communities who would LOVE and really support the developmental teams. Gives more players a chance to live the dream while they learn.

    • Volume12

      Spokane would be lit! As someone who’s from here myselkf I’d be all for that.

      • All I see is 12's

        Yeah, me thinks Portland would be the more likely candidate in that scenario

  14. KingRajesh

    I fully understand that this is a problem for every team – there isn’t enough talent to go around; what talent there is gets rushed to the NFL where they have to block literal genetic freaks from game 1; and Teams can’t develop what talent they do manage to get because the NFLPA sold the players a bill of goods and limited what can be done in practice (including limiting padded practices).

    With that being said, is Cable the guy we want navigating those concerns? Alex Gibbs famously said he could turn a garbageman into a guard – but Cable hasn’t shown that ability. Is it time to search for someone who can? Perhaps Joe Rudolph (O-line coach at Wisconsin) or Mike Bloomgren (O-line coach at Stanford) might do better with the limited resources that the NFL game now has.

  15. KD

    I can see a D-League being a major asset to young WRs as well. I’ve heard it said several times by players that the 2nd hardest position to learn after QB is WR. Speed, athleticism and physicality are great, but I’ll take a less athletic WR who runs perfect routes every time.

    • KD

      Also, I was wondering if anyone could tell me exactly how OL play in the current NCAA is fundamentally different than the NFL in terms of technique. Obviously, a spread system is going to require some different technique, but what exactly are those “bad habits” that get formed when playing in the average NCAA system that need to be reformed at the NFL level? I’m just not very knowledgeable about how techniques differ.

      • Volume12

        This is a point I was trying to make last week. These coaches have thrown up their hands and just blamed CFB or HS. Your either coaching it or letting it happen.

        It used to be that you’d take the best OT’s from HS and put them inside at OG because your premier athletes are going to be at OT or DE anyways. That’s not happening as much anymore.

        Splits. The least mentioned and over looked thing. You can tell who needs work based on this. Bad O-lines or inexperienced ones are going to be close together. Tightened up to each other. Usually it’s 2 feet apart on good lines. Its just an easy, but not always, way to tell how teams feel about their front.

        These are a few bad habits.

        College O-lineman: most will stop their feet on contact when run blocking. Won’t fly in the NFL.
        College O-lineman: hand placement. Every coach has different landmarks or target areas though.
        College O-lineman: pass sets. They lose their balance, don’t have a proper base, and instead of shuffling the feet will hop backwards
        College O-lineman: not making contact on your 2nd step when run blocking
        College O-lineman: they like to lunge and reach. They end up with heir shoulders too far over their feet
        College O-lineman: open up their hips too much. Notice how the majority will open their hips or then them completely towards the sideline. This is a good awful habit. There’s no way to recover once u do that.

        Most important?

        College and NFL O-lineman: technique. There’s no such thing as perfect O-line play. These guys will always make mistakes. It’s on the coaches to always work with them on this and O-line coaches should break down every. single. play. For every. single. lineman.

        • KD

          Thanks V12. That’s some good info. As i suspected, it seems a lot like taking a black belt in Karate and entering him into a kickboxing tournament. Similar in a lot of ways, but ultimately completely different.

  16. Volume12

    Its not just bad O-line play though. Its much more than that.

    If NFL teams can’t even field 53 competent players how would you fill 32 other ‘minor league teams?’ Are these teams going to be filled with ex castoffs that the leauge doesn’t want anymore anyways? Guys that were passed over in the draft 7 times by 32 teams and then again by 32 teams like 10-15 times in UDFA?

    • Volume12

      And who coaches these teams? If they’re getting development and taught by someone else, then once they get to the NFL who’s to say that pro coach is going to continue the development and possibly having to teach them their technique and ways of doing things?

      Expand the PS to 20 or so guys. Most of these farm team guys would end up there anyways right?

      • vrtkolman

        The NFL may have to start “Hollywood-izing” the OL. They need more of the big time athletes coming out of high school picking OL positions. NFL highlights focus on WR’s, CB’s, and pass rushers. Any good highlights involving the OL are washed out by focusing on the running back or quarterback. The big money goes to the pass rushers like Rob said. I bet you that the casual fan doesn’t know who Tyron Smith is.

        • Volume12

          They don’t get to pick which position they play.

          • vrtkolman

            I suppose that is true, oh well.

          • Volume12

            The Brock Huard point mentioned above in the piece is a great point. About Walter Jones nowadays ending up on the D-line. However, its Florida St. we’re talking about and Bobby Bowden was the HC. That D-line was more than likely already loaded with premier athletes.

    • Rob Staton

      They can always fill the rosters, even if it’s with UDFA’s. Most won’t amount to anything. But every now and then there will be a Kurt Warner.

      • Volume12

        Sure, it just seems like 32 teams would be so hard to fill especially factoring in backups. It’s an idea that the league should be exploring though. I was just merely pointing out some of the possible ‘kinks’ that may be holding it back.

        Don’t know how it would work, but what if the NFL did like the NBA and had 2 teams share an affiliate? For example. SF & Oakland could share a Sacramento team. Or Seattle & Minnesota could share a.. Boise team.

        • Rob Staton

          That could work. I’m sure they could come up with something.

        • Trevor

          The idea of sharing a developmental team makes a ton of sense so the competition is not too watered down.

  17. Ground_Hawk

    Great article Rob! As long as Seattle’s offense keeps adapting to remain competitive, then much of this “FIRE BEVELL/TC!!!”, “TRADE RW!!!”, etc., talk will subside. Sunday’s win demonstrated that the offensive play-calling is relying more on the quick dink and dunk passes to set up bigger plays. I was impressed to see Wilson make those short yardage passes, if no other reason than to witness San Fran not stack the box, because they had to respect that potential threat as well as the run. It’s the same winning formula that New England has been using: If you can’t win with physical power, then do it with speed. Had it not been for the drops, we would most likely be looking at a game where Seattle has a final score in the 20’s, not 12, and we would be hearing more about the Seahawks next opponent not more of the “OL is a dumpster fire!!!” rhetoric.

    I’m not saying that there is no room for improvement, but at some point the team as a whole needs to acknowledge that if they have any hope of earning another Super Bowl ring, then they are going to have to change their ways. This doesn’t mean that anyone needs to reinvent the wheel, but rather adapt to today’s NFL environment with what they have on their roster, just like other winning clubs.

  18. Nathan H

    Hear, *expletive* hear!

  19. FresnoBrad

    If our OL dramatically improves we may keep Cable if it doesn’t we won’t, that’s the NFL especially for assistant head coaches. If we hire a new OL coach by season 2 we will know if Rob’s theory holds up, however in less than 6 months we might be excited about the OL guru Carroll recently hired. Keep in mind Cable was not Pete’s first choice but this situation I’m sure Carroll has had plenty of time to figure out how to get an OL guru coach on the team.

    • Rob Staton

      We have no idea what the Seahawks are planning with Cable. Personally I find it a tedious topic.

  20. Ed

    I don’t think a developmental league would work and you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Maybe the rules should change again. Keep tweaking to make the game better, maybe they should allow some forms of holding or maybe make the neutral zone bigger so defensive lines are off a full yard plus. Maybe start tracking pancake blocks or big gain blocks. No stats for OL except bad ones, sacks. Kids like to see sacks, ints, tackles, td’s etc…. OL just see sacks allowed.

    • Volume12

      Its not just the O-line. The NFL is bad this year. Not enough practice reps is killing the league.

  21. Volume12

    I think it’s funny that JS & Davis Hsu are now on this ‘RW is the problem’ and they’re scouting early round QBs.

    That is not what they’re doing. They’re eliminating some of these QBs. That’s what scouting is.

    It’s okay to hedge RW because he’s a mobile QB and he’s not playing behind good O-lines. But replacing him? Ain’t buying it.

    • Volume12

      And I know its hard for some of these guys to realize, but good scouting is also peeking at what you beleive your opposition to be doing.

      Does anybody not think SF and Arizona won’t dip into this QB class?

    • Rob Staton

      I think it’s further evidence of the problem with Twitter. A LOT of ideas end up ‘published’ (for want of a better description). I think the value of a blog or website vs Twitter is an article demands more detail than a 140 character Tweet. There are many times I start writing an article and the process of developing the piece makes me realise… this isn’t worth putting out there. And I delete it or start again from a different angle. Twitter is so easy to just fire an idea into the world and it grows. Maybe shortly after you wish you’d not tweeted or said something slightly differently.

      Trading Wilson makes no sense and almost certainly is not happening. It doesn’t make sense on any level. That’s not to say they wouldn’t draft a QB relatively early to develop. But trade him? Nah.

      And drafting a quarterback in round one is also highly unlikely assuming they keep Wilson. It would mean the only significant contributor in 2018 from your draft class would be from round three onwards seeing as they don’t own a second round pick. They also won’t be loaded with FA money if they decide to keep Sheldon Richardson.

      I thoroughly respect and admire Davis (I think Jared’s head is wedged up his own backside) and like most of his thought provoking talking points. But this one, for me, is an overreaction to a typical slow Seahawks start to a season.

      As for scouting the quarterbacks — that’s no big surprise. This looks like a really good crop ready to enter the league. You need to do your homework — one of these guys could be in San Francisco next year, or Arizona. Or they might fall into range for you at some stage.

      • Volume12

        Great points. Twitter can be an echo chamber.

        I respect and admire Davis as well. A lot actually. Sometimes he has his head up JS’s a** too much though.

        They’ve only wanted a backup since T-Jack left and your right that its not a surprise or shocker.

        One guy we should keep 👀’s on is Marshall’s QB Chase Litton. 6’6, 225-230 lbs. Not a great athlete, inconsistent, and has some off the field stuff, but this dude can spin it. His ball placement and anticipation is highly impressive. Real nice effiency last year and productive without a great supporting cast other than his TE Ryan Yurachek. Big fan of Litton’s.

        • Volume12

          I also think Seattle may like Texas OT Connor Williams. I’ve said he’s overrated and still believe that. Never saw him as a top 10-15 pick. He’s more of an early 2nd rounder. To my eye anyways.

          Since his injury, I’ve been watching him. His pass sets are atrocious, but his run blocking is top notch. He’s a nasty dude. And his raw athleticism is something we know they like. 365 power clean, benches 420, back squats 365, deadlifts 550 and has a 33.5″ vert at 315 lbs.

          • Volume12

            His footwork is sloppy is what I’m noticing, pad level is ‘meh’ and his late off the ball lacking explosion in pass pro. Other than that there’s a lot to like.

      • C-Dog

        Could not agree with all of this more.

        • Myfanwy365

          I came on here looking to see if there was discussion on this topic, I go away fulfilled.

          Absolutely crazy talk, no surprise to see Stanger leading it, the roboplegic wrongcock.

          It makes sense to look for a quality backup, Rd2 & 3 onwards but a 1st rounder, just no.

          I can see sense in the Favre/Rodgers thinking, but not until Russ is like 33-34 or showing any signs of breaking down.

          I think Zach Whitman put it well – When you have a star QB in their 20s, there are a million things you try before QBSuccessionPlan.docx

          • C-Dog


      • Logan Lynch

        I agree with all of these points. In addition to what you and Vol said, Rob, what if one of these guys suffers an injury and is all of a sudden available in the 3rd? Wouldn’t you want to have a background on him just on the off chance he could be available?

        Remember, Schneider comes from the Ron Wolf tree and even though he hasn’t shown it yet, he has mentioned that they would like to draft and develop more QB’s. These can be flipped for picks or other players if they don’t end up being useful in your system. Yes, it’s a long term investment, but wouldn’t you think that Russ would be a good guy to learn behind? Look at all the QB’s that GB has drafted and shipped away during the Favre/Rodgers era:

        Mark Brunell (drafted in 5th round – traded for 3rd and 5th round picks)

        Matt Hasselbeck (drafted 6th round – traded along with a 1st #17 for a 1st #10 and 3rd rounder)

        Aaron Brooks (drafted 4th round – traded along with a TE for a 3rd rounder and LB)

        Matt Flynn wasn’t traded, but GB still got a 5th round comp pick after he left for SEA. Granted, this doesn’t always work as they drafted Brian Brohm in the 2nd round and he was a terrible failure. It does, however, give them an avenue to not only shore up the backup QB position behind Russ, but also possibly flip the QB for picks down the road. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Schneider try to go down this route a bit.

        • C-Dog

          Maybe it’s me, but I’ve gotten the fairly strong inference from Scot Mccloughan that while JS believes in drafting a QB every year and following the GB model, PC and the coaching staff may not share that philosophy. Scot mentioned that John wanted to take Dalton in R1, but was told by the coaches that they didn’t think he could start for the program, then the following year he really wanted Russell in R2, Pete vetoed that but said that if he’s still sitting there in R3, go ahead and take him if you believe in him that much.

          I think a lot of this stuff is brewing because they were reportedly really into Mahomes, but I have a hard time believing that if Mahomes had been available at their R1 pick John would have had any success convincing Pete to take him over the pass rusher he was salivating over. I just feel that as much as John might like to draft and potentially flip QBs, he’s got a defensive minded HC to deal with who loves to run the ball to set up explosive plays down field, and if the HC is seeing any players to help in those regards, that backup QB is probably going to take a far backseat.

          What Stanger has been going off about is total lunacy.

          • Logan Lynch

            I can agree with this point of view and I don’t think John would necessarily be advocating for the use of a high draft pick on a QB if the goal was to flip them. I’m thinking more a 4th-6th round QB that has a few flaws that they feel they can correct.

            Good point on Pete though, he may not feel the need to use valuable draft capital on a QB flipping project.

  22. Hawk Eye

    I hate throwing facts into an emotional arguement, but here goes.

    At Cal Tom Cable took Jeremy Newberry and Tarik Glen and converted them to offensive line and they turned out very well.
    He helped develop Unger, he converted Sweezy into a player someone else was willing to pay a lot of money and developed Britt into a good centre after he stuck at tackle and guard. I think Ifedi has make some progress, but still has a lot to learn. It also seems a lot of plays that get blown up are because there is not the proper adjustment at the line of scrimmage to the D that is aligned in front of them. Is that Russell? Britt? Others don’t hear, or panic?

    as much as I cringe when I watch the o line play, the thought process that these guys need more time to develop before they become good makes sense. How long? Yikes, not sure, but maybe longer than needed this season.
    My fear is that it seems Russell has regressed and the lack of protection is getting to him. That could get ugly fast.

    I also have concerns about the whole Bevel and Cable sharing the offence. Football is a chain of command organization. Cable is o line coach, but also an assistant coach and in charge of running plays. Bevel is offensive coordinator and in charge of the passing game. Who outranks who? And does Pete “tinker”

  23. Hawk Eye

    I also wonder if having Graham, Richardson, Lockett and Baldwin on the field at the same time is not helping on running plays if they have to block. I am sure Baldwin is a willing and tough blocker, but size is an issue for the WR’s and effort is an issue for JG.
    Nice to dream about throwing to those 4 guys, not sure the RB or oline get excited about them blocking on a running play

  24. CharlieTheUnicorn

    They had the answer already in the NFL past.. it was NFL Europe.

    What was great was … 1) develop talent for the NFL and 2) build the NFL brand internationally.

    I could easily see a NFL Europe 2.0 or perhaps a NFL Asia/Africa…. take the 8 or so largest cities and plant a team in each….. they would make money and grow the NFL brand even further. I mentioned Africa, because there has been some tremendous talent to come out the the continent within the last 25 years or so. It could really help cultivate a new crop of talented NFLers in 10-15 years.

  25. Kenny Sloth

    *Carson has come through great and earned his time. But for all the ‘never liked the Lacy signing at the time’ people; did you even know who the hell Carson was ‘at the (Lacy signing) time’?! If you did, kudos to you Lying fucks Omniscient football gurus

    Found this little gem in the field gulls comment section

    Us draft hipsters were watching him well before the combine.

    Vol you’re hearby known as “lying guru f***”

    Just because you don’t know something doesn’t mean nobody could have known it. We were in there ages ago.

    We’ve been talking about Chris Carson for over a year now, SDB

    Get outta my face with your ignorance, field gulls commentor

    • Volume12

      That’s my goal man. I try real hard to lie.

      ‘Lying guru f***.’ My god. Where and how does the internet come up with these words?

      ‘Didn’t know who Carson was.’ HA!

      Thanks for sharing this bruh. I get a kick out of this stuff.

    • Logan Lynch

      My favorite part about this comment is that it completely ignores the fact that Lacy was signed well in advance of the draft on a one year deal as a likely bridge or hedge for how the draft fell!

      Yeah, I was one of the guys against the Lacy signing from the beginning. In fact, I posted on here how I thought he was much more “Marion Barber” than “Marshawn Lynch”. Maybe it’s the fact that I live in WI and have seen him for his whole GB career and never really bought into the hype, but I digress.

      Even if we didn’t know they were going to draft Carson specifically, it was pretty obvious that they would bring someone else in at some point. They do essentially every year. Carson was one of the many names mentioned here on SDB, so he shouldn’t have been a huge surprise. SDB is the best.

  26. Kenny Sloth

    Oh and the developmental league could come as early as 2020 with thenew CBA

    I’m sure the NFLPA would love to get more guys involved in professional development and under their umbrella.

  27. Kenny Sloth

    Just learned Kevin Durant has a fake instagram account he uses to anonymously clap back at random fans and critics

    Hmm.. Maybe Kenny Sloth is really Germain Ifedi clappin back at shit talkers on field gulls

    • Kenny Sloth

      Goin on 8 years at this site… Playin the long game

    • Volume12

      I saw that the other day. It’s hilarious. Good for him. U do u KD. Live your life and keep baiting the trolls.

      U should clap back at the only one who’s ever claimed to be a guru for saying that you (Germain Ifedi) care more about the Houston Astros than Seahawk football.

      • Logan Lynch

        Heh heh, I know the one you speak of. Such a heel, Vol.

  28. Old but Slow

    Good topic, Rob, and timely.

    A development league could be done fairly economically, if game revenues are adequate. Here is a possible option: A team would have a much larger practice squad and a larger number of coaches and helpers. You might think of it as like a varsity and junior varsity arrangement. No need for separate facilities, although some teams might not have as much room as the ‘Hawks.

    Play games on Thursday (get rid of the current debacle) or maybe every other Thursday, or…whatever. Players from the varsity can play in the Thursday game but not in both games. Practice squad players would be contracted as they are now, but would get bonuses if they play in the Sunday game.

    More extensive development, with more players employed, more coaches developing, and more officials getting game experience.

    Transportation would be expensive, but in baseball minor leagues they travel by bus. Maybe horseback could be explored?

    I am not sure that I like this idea better than the farm club idea like in Spokane, but there might be some bits that make sense.

    Worth squashing opinions over. Besides, it is much better to think about than the offensive line.

  29. EP

    I don’t understand how people can consistently blame Tom Cable etc for a poor offensive line. He’s not deliberately coaching them badly. Most offensive linemen coming out truly are unknown quantities due to the difference in college and NFL offensive play. Seattle has limited picks in the draft and these can’t all be spent on Oline in the hope that we find 3/4 serviceable starters. Ultimately a coach can only aid a player in their development, it’s the players themselves that need to play the game and unfortunately the majority of them are just not very good. I think Tom Cable is commendable in what he does, as Rob has mentioned before. Trying to replace a full Oline while having none of the top 20 picks and coupled with the overall poor quality of the Olines in college football is virtually impossible. Yet he has found away to get 5 guys on the field and some of them have been pretty good. Forgive me if I’m wrong but I don’t think a new oline “guru” is suddenly going to come in and make these guys better athletes and give them more experience gained only by actually playing the game. You can only coach so much, there isn’t some magical formula that only the best oline coaches know. Some players just need time and some are frankly just not very good.

    • Volume12

      You ain’t wrong. People want someone to point the finger at and Cable is the target.

    • Trevor

      Cable gets blamed because the position group he coaches has sucked for 5-6 straight years. It is that simple. This is pro sports fans expect results not excuses. If not we would all be Browns fans

      Is it all Cables fault? Of course not! In fact I think Pete is more to blame for not firing both Cable and Bevell then bringing in one OC to run the show like the the Broncos did with Mike McCoy.

      I only go on about Cable because people say he is an OL guru and not once in his 9 year NFL career has he coached an OL better than 20th in pass protection ratings.

      So no it is not Cables fault! But is he the solution? He has shown in the last 6 years that he is definitely not.

      I dont think firing anyone mid-season but if Bevell and Cable are both here next year with the same sill co-coach set up then Pete should be the one on the hot seat for the mess on offense.

      • Rob Staton

        Trevor — let’s not go over this yet again. Cable’s O-lines have not ‘sucked’ for 5-6 years.

        Nobody calls Cable an OL guru. This line gets trotted out all the time by people who want to criticize him. Who on here, who in the fan base or Seattle media calls him a ‘guru’? It’s a total red herring.

        I don’t want this comments section to be Cable and Bevell central over and over again like Twitter, forums, reddit etc. I like to think we’re above that.

        • Trevor

          Sorry Rob I will keep my opinions to myself going forward and only discuss the draft and prospects as the blog is intended.

          • Rob Staton

            There’s no need to keep your opinions to yourself Trevor — this isn’t just a place to talk about the draft. That’s why I wrote this piece in the first place, we talk about all things Seahawks.

            But I do fear that every single piece that touches on ‘offense’ or ‘offensive line’ these days just ends up being a ‘Cable’ or ‘Bevell’ argument. A piece talking about developmental leagues doesn’t really need a re-hashing of people’s issues with Cable and/or Bevell. I’m keen for this place to be better than the forums and social media where it’s just a barrage of the same topics all year.

        • Kenny Sloth

          I definitely call him a guru at every turn.

          There are definitely guys coaching that don’t do it well.

          Cable isn’t one of them.

          Maybe he isnt the best schemer of the run game, but his track record of improving the performance and value of the players he was given..

          Maybe guru carries more weight than I give it credit.

          Pete’s a DB guru, Alex Gibbs was an OL guru.

          Cable can really train an OL

    • RealRhino2

      Some coaches, frankly, are just not very good. That’s Cable to me. Some coaches are just try hard guys. Sure, he tries hard. But when failures keep happening over and over, you just aren’t good enough.

      As for his supposed successes, Justin Britt? For most guys, taking two full years to find the spot they fit best at would be considered a failure. Remember Drew Nowak? That was a thing. Remember how Ifedi was drafted as a tackle but Cable thought he was a guard, and now that he wasted a year sucking at guard he’s a better fit at tackle? And now after preaching continuity all offseason, it looks like we are in for another switch on the line.

      Year after year Cable seems to misidentify which players are most talented and where they are best suited to play. I know Rob doesn’t want to just keep having the “it’s Cable!” discussion, but maybe instead of all these contortions and suppositions about HS and college OL, it really is that simple.

      • Rob Staton

        The amount of manipulation that goes on to have a moan about Cable is creative to say the least.

        ‘It took two years for them to find Britt’s best position!’ (and turn him into one of the most consistent and best center’s in the league)

        ‘Remember Drew Nowak?’ (the guy he was given to work with after Pete and John traded away Unger and never properly replaced him)

        What next? He wasn’t able to guide Paul McQuistan to a Pro Bowl after those eight starts at LT in 2013? He only turned Sweezy into a $5.5m a year guard instead of $10m after converting from defense? Seattle didn’t run the ball well enough in the Denver Super Bowl pasting?

        I know I might as well bang my head against a brick wall for all it’s worth because once sports fans make their mind up on a coach, reason and conversation and debate go out the window. It’s a shame it’s starting to infect this place too.

        None of this is to argue Cable is doing a fantastic job. I doubt anyone would argue that. But it’s nowhere near as bad as people think — or at least his responsibility carries a limit. And a healthy dose of perspective creates the following conclusion — he can do better, but so can Pete, John, Bevell, Russell.

        • RealRhino2

          I can employ reason and have a conversation. As to Britt, okay, he’s probably one of the ten best centers in the league. But why did it take Cable two full years to figure out it’s his best spot? All while we are messing around with Jeanpierre, Nowak, Lewis. Speaking of, we may not have properly replaced Unger (i.e., gotten another great player in that spot, except the guy Cable thought was a better fit elsewhere), but we had a capable replacement in Patrick Lewis. Except Cable thought Nowak was better. FOR HALF A SEASON! And then he thought Jeanpierre was better. Until he wasn’t. Gilliam was going to be “fine” at tackle. Until he wasn’t.

          Now there are rumblings that a change is probably coming at RG. Two games into the season. Which tells me Cable probably picked the wrong guy. Again.

          I can watch tape. So many times we get beat it’s not just physical, as in a guy just gets beat by a better move or a bull rush, etc. It’s mental. It’s putting guys in bad positions. It’s poor coordination. If it was just one knucklehead, a la Greg Robinson, you’d say it’s on him. But it was Gilliam. And Ifedi. Now Glowinski, and Ifedi again. And Joeckel, a vet. Are they all just knuckleheads who can’t get the mental aspect down after two, three, four years? If it keeps happening, it’s coaching.

          You may not recognize it because you aren’t a passionate fan of a college team, where coaching quality is even more variable than in the NFL, but IMO this is how it is. When you follow college teams you recognize the pattern. It’s always excuses: “Oh, the scout team didn’t really give us a good look, hey the coach can’t go out and make the blocks for them, oh, they have some wrinkles that are tough to prepare for, it’s up to them to just go out and execute, our [name one OL] went down, and he’s a tough guy to replace,” etc., etc

          • Rob Staton

            Why is Cable solely responsible for taking two years to find Britt’s spot? Who ever turned round and said, ‘hey, why don’t they try Britt at center?’ Sometimes it takes time or it can purely be coincidence that a guy tries a position and it just fits. It’s a bit weak sauce to criticize Cable for this. Britt is a big success at center. So what they didn’t get his best position right away? It happens.

            You’re not employing reason. You’ve found your scapegoat and arguing points to fit the agenda. As for: ‘You may not recognize it because you aren’t a passionate fan of a college team’ — yeah, because being able to take a step back and not be a fan is a hindrance. I watch enough CFB (more than most I would suggest) to identify patterns and make valid points.

            • RealRhino2

              Cable isn’t solely responsible, but position coaches, particularly when they’ve been named asst. HC, are given a lot of leeway. This is on Pete, too, for not recognizing it. This isn’t the first time Pete has let underlings undermine the process. At USC — even during his brilliant run there — he was catching criticism from some USC insiders for “letting the kids run things.” He lost Norm Chow, and then brought in Kiffin and Sarkisian and some other assts., and right as rain, once a year he started losing to teams USC had no business losing to. Things were just never quite right again. Sound familiar?

              Now here we are, a few years into a great run. And I look at the coaching staff: Brennan Carroll, Nate Carroll. Are these really the best possible coaches? Studies done on succession plans show that family members/sons of great leaders/coaches/businesspeople are almost never the best person to take over or perform the same job. Our RB coach? Chad Morton, yup, of USC. Really the best person? We lost Bradley and Quinn, and Pete promotes another USC guy, Richard, as DC, and frequent miscommunications (and a poor 3rd down stop rate) follow. Cable is just another blind spot, IMO. Sure Pete knew him from Pac-10 days, seemed like a good coach. But frequent screwups are happening on his watch.

              I haven’t “found a scapegoat” and fit my argument to my agenda. I’ve identified a weakness on the team and noticed a familiar pattern regarding that weakness. Bad coaches make excuses, or have them made for them. Good coaches fix the problem.

              • Rob Staton

                With respect Rhino, you might as well just write ‘fire Cable’.

                I want the comments section here to be about more than that. This isn’t even a post about Cable. It’s about a clear problem within the NFL. I’m working very hard here to avoid having every topic end up being a ‘Fire Cable’ discussion.

              • AlaskaHawk

                Biggest indication of offensive coaching woes is the perennial poor offensive start to the season. I get it that they are trying out players in preseason, and that they don’t get as much practice time. But plenty of other teams manage to field a decent offense on week one. Seems like every year it is shuffle the offense around some more. I’ll give them a pass on the Fant injury.

                What is with moving Glowinski back and forth across the line? I thought he played decently at left guard, but then he gets moved again. Why play Ifedi for a season at right guard if you always intended to play him at tackle? At this point it might be better to move him back to guard and let the rookie tackles deal with their usual learning phase. At least they would have a solid core, which seemed to be the strategy last year. All these questions that seem to occur EVERY year.

                • Rob Staton

                  Have you watched other teams Alaska? The NFL has been absolutely flooded with terrible offense the first two weeks of the season.

                  • AlaskaHawk

                    I have watched other bad offenses. I also watched our fan base chortle at New Englands first loss, and grow silent when their offense showed up in the second game.

                    The difference for Seahawks is that I have complained about the poor season starts since the year after they won the superbowl. Every year they have gone from pretty good to starting bad, like there is no memory of the offense the year before. Gahr.

                    • Rob Staton

                      But they had mixed starts on offense even in 2013 and 2012. In 2013 they won a battle against Carolina (good win, not an amazing performance) and the offense had a stinker against San Francisco in week two. Wilson didn’t complete a pass for about a half.

                      It’s not great, I understand that. We’d all like to see the team known for finishing strongly have a good start too. However, I have to keep stressing this isn’t just a Seahawks problem. There are many other teams struggling on offense. Many others struggling on the O-line. Many others struggling for an identity or to run the ball. The teams playing very clean football at the moment are who? Denver, KC, Pittsburgh? Even Detroit, Atlanta and Carolina, all 2-0, have been a bit hit and miss. And then there’s a lot of teams in the first two weeks who’ve been absolutely terrible on offense in one if not two weeks.

                      Which is why I think Seahawks fans need to R-E-L-A-X for now. Maybe in 2-3 weeks time we’ll have reason to be very disappointed. As of today, right now, we’re one of a big old bunch of teams who are struggling on offense early in the season. And that’s why I think a development league can help.

  30. Volume12

    Also seeing that ‘So TC is now blaming the RBs.’ Love, love Chris Carson. But he is missing reads along with the others. TC ain’t wrong. Carson’s a rookie. Its going to take him some time. So far so good, but here’s a great example of what the supposed awful ZBS gives ya.

    Look at the cutback lane he doesn’t see.

    • GerryG

      Missing reads can also be part of the limited practice time problem. Plus we have a rookie, a new guy (lacy) and Rawls has been injured most of camp/preseason. Adds up to blown run plays.

      As bad as the OL is, the offense as a whole is abysmal. Shell shocked QB, dropped passes, poor reads. The offense is always behind the defense for this team.

    • Trevor

      For every misread by an RB there are 4-5 poorly blocked run plays. Rookies will miss some things but it seems like Carson is doing better than most.

      • GerryG


  31. Ishmael

    Some interesting stuff from Cian Fahey, who I really rate, he thinks something is up with Wilson’s mechanics. That he’s dropping the ball all the way down to his hip like McCowan and Fitzgerald do to generate power – Fahey is wondering whether there’s something up with Wilson’s shoulder, if he’s lost power, or if he’s let his mechanics get sloppiy in the offseason.

    The other thing he was saying was that Carson is pretty good, should have been drafted earlier than the seventh, but Rawls is still the most talented back on the roster.

    • 503Hawk

      I heard someone else (Brock?) mention this already.

      • Ishmael

        The Wilson stuff or the Carson stuff?

        If Wilson’s mechanics are getting weird, then I’ll get worried. If he’s lost strength in his shoulder for some reason, or he’s got sloppy, then that would explain why he was sailing a lot of balls.

        • GerryG

          Brock brought up Wilson’s mechanics

          • Ishmael

            Cool, thanks, I missed that! Seems like it should be a much bigger topic of conversation than it is then? You can’t just re-set mechanics overnight.

            • C-Dog

              I think what has been brought up the most by the Huards and such about his mechanics is that he hasn’t been setting up with his feet and is hurrying throws. The issue of his release seems like a fresh take. It’s possible that he’s injured. He was looking pretty sharp in the preseason, though, which Fahey may not have been paying attention to, and he’s just been looking at these two games.

              • BSeattle

                Would it shock anyone to find out that Wilson hurt his shoulder on one if the many times he has been hit over the first two weeks?
                Didn’t he have a pec issue at the end of last year? Perhaps something similar is going on now.
                I was surprised at the lack of deep shots vs the 49ers, but an injury could explain it.

              • Ishmael

                It’s interesting stuff. He’s got a couple of bits on his Twitter from the All-22 as well, reckons the Hawks are trying to transition into more of a vertical attack, and that the two times Wilson ran around in circles getting himself sacked was because all four routes being run were going deeper than 10 yards. Slow developing plays behind a sketchy O-line is Colts-esque.

                I know the Seahawks always start slowly, but there’s some weird stuff going on this year – a real disconnect between identity/personnel/scheme.

    • Logan Lynch

      I know you didn’t say it, but Cian was probably right about Rawls being the most talented back on the roster. He’s electric AND powerful with greater top end speed than Carson. Only problem is that his body type does not mesh with his running style, hence his injuries. Carson’s build seems much more conducive to taking the regular punishment of being an NFL RB and he seems to have the right mentality to boot. Yes, he’s missing some cuts now but hopefully that will improve with time. If Rawls can get healthy and I know that’s a massive IF…that one-two punch of Carson and Rawls will be absolutely lethal.

      • Ishmael

        Yep, agree. And if Prosise can ever get right he could be a nightmare as well.

        Carson will get better, and even now he’s a pretty solid and dependable guy. High floor, lower ceiling. Nothing wrong with that sometimes, the team could probably do with a bit more of it tbh.

        • Logan Lynch

          I hope Prosise can get right because he could be a true gamebreaker with the matchup nightmares he can create in the passing game especially.

          Not that his running style is similar, but Carson’s lower ceiling/higher floor reminds me of Arian Foster a bit. He never had great top end speed or top shelf athleticism, but was extremely productive until injuries got to him.

          • vrtkolman

            I know Carroll loves Rawls, but as Vol said before falling in love with a player is not a good thing. Rawls might be more talented but Carson just seems like the better player so far, not to mention he’s been more available through training camp, preseason, and so far both games. I think Carson should have started game 2 rather than Rawls.

            I hope it’s the Carson/Prosise show going forward.

            • Logan Lynch

              I’m honestly not sure which guy Carroll loves more between Rawls and Carson. If you remember the stories about the draft, Carson is basically Pete’s project. He was practically gushing on the phone to him post-draft.

              • AlaskaHawk

                I don’t think PC is in love with anyone. He has given all the running backs chances to carry the ball. He probably will do that again this week. Carson is emerging as the go to guy. But Rawls is recovering from an injury and should be getting stronger. Even Lacy may prove to be good by mid season after he gets in shape. It just takes time to see who will step up and grab the position. Ideally they would have three + backs that they trust.

  32. Kenny Sloth

    Chelsea Handler has a talk show on Netflix; one episode is about sports, featuring a very casual dinner party with Kurt Warner, Laila Ali, Ally Raisman, and Russell Wilson. 2 retired world champions and 2 other champions in the prime of their careers.

    She’s kind of annoying and catty and the other features are dumb

    But its about the most human you’ll ever see Russ, despite the fact that he tells 3 other world champions and a mentally ill woman talking about nerves that he never ever gets nervous. That it was gods special gift to him.

    They also talk about Russell’s gigantic nose.

    Seriously guys…. That thing’s growing by the day

  33. pran

    Found this little stat interesting to share… Under Pete Hawks is 2-10 on the road in September including week 1. little perspective as we go on road to titans this weekend. the 2 wins came in 2013 SB season

    • AlaskaHawk

      I just read a stat by Mookie Alexander at field gulls that if you look at the years 2012-2016 the Seahawks have the fourth best record in road game wins. Arch rival New England is first, then Denver, then Dallas, then Seattle.

  34. JimQ

    IMO – A developmental league, while being an obvious positive for player development, will likely never happen due to the overall costs involved and owners being tight with their wallets.

    A possible less expensive alternative would be using part of the existing system with the practice squad. If the practice squad was increased to say 30-35 players and they were allowed to actually have padded practices and a few “exhibition” type games (maybe even with gate receipts going to a local charity?). A certain amount of player development would result at a potentially more reasonable cost to the owners. Using existing facilities and a slightly expanded coaching staff with limited travel could keep the costs down. Bottom line however is the NFL owners seem pretty damn resistant to changes that may lower their profits in any way. Money is generally at the root of all evils.

    Great write up Rob, it’s refreshing to see ideas and possible solutions to the OL problem rather than just saying it’s bad all over the league & get used to it as NFL viewership continues to drop. We, as fans can only hope the NFL will do something positive in this regard beyond rule changes that make the NFL look more like flag football. The NFL has to adjust or it will fade into oblivion before long with the way they are running the show. Officiating also needs to be significantly improved to try and minimize those games that are interrupted every other play by a flag. When 25-30 penalties are called during a game, it becomes pretty difficult to even watch those games.

  35. Hawk Eye

    a few interesting tidbits to confuse us more

    1. Hawks have the youngest O line in the league, starters only. So that they are having problems should not be a surprise. Room to grow, but how long does it take? Hawks have 2nd oldest defense, starters only. So by the time the O line is good……….

    2. I heard Reuben Brown talking on Bills radio about their O line and switching to a zone blocking scheme. He said that zone blocking is not easy to learn (did I mention Hawks have the youngest O line?) and that teams can scheme against against it because they know it is coming. He was talking how it was better to mix up the blocking schemes and keep the d line guessing. And for big guys, man on man is a better fit (Ifedi). It does makes sense that the Cards, Rams and 49’ers can shut down the Hawks running attack because they know what they are doing and how to counter it.

  36. SeventiesHawksFan

    I don’t think the owners or coaches would ever want to spend three to four months worth of time and resources (coaches, travel, payroll, etc.) just to develop a better O line.

    The argument for an expanded roster slots dedicated to O linemen only and additional practice time in the offseason for O linemen in particular makes more sense financially.

    There could be increased pay for the O linemen as well. Thus incentivizing better athletes / players to choose the position. Or more D linemen converts from college.

    • Rob Staton

      The premise for the article is to talk about O-lines — but realistically a development league could also help uncover a quarterback (given time to develop) or any other player of note. The owners might not like the cost — but they’ll like the decreasing quality of the games and the dropping viewing figures even more. For me, a form of development league helps the teams but a better product on the field.

  37. SeventiesHawksFan

    I think an offseason multi-week ‘developmental camp’ for LB’s, all linemen and TE’s who were not on a 53 man roster the year prior is the way to develop O line players.

    The O line players will need D linemen and LB’s to practice against.

    QB’s would just take snaps. RB’s would just take handoffs and pick up blitzers or chip block in practices at the camps. So no RB running, passes thrown or tackling. But at least the QB and RB’s are getting a paycheck and some offseason work. For most of the players at the camps, it would be their ‘season’.

    D linemen and LB’s would get a chance to work on their pass rush skills as well. But the entire structure can be centered around O lineman development. All in the name of increased QB safety. And better, more entertaining offenses.

    Seems a far more plausible time and cost expense for owners to incur to develop a position group.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s not just about one position group though. The league really stands to benefit from being able to properly train quarterbacks, cornerbacks and other positions too. The focus on this piece is to highlight how it might help offensive linemen make the step up. But the league overall has absolutely zero way to develop a player other than ‘training camp’ or ‘forced starts and take your lumps’ at the moment — which is kind of ridiculous.

      • SeventiesHawksFan

        Yes, but the glaring position group that also affects QB safety and offensive performance is the O line position. So a solution tailored to that group is what seems far more plausible in the real world of finite resources, cost and time. An entirely new developmental league is a hard sell. Protecting your QB through better O line development and practice time isn’t nearly as difficult to rationalize.

        • Rob Staton

          It’s not a hard sell though. Not unless you try really hard to put up road blocks and convince yourself it won’t work.

          ‘Hey NFL teams, would you like a way to try and develop young players outside of the 53-man roster? Possibly discover a starting QB down the line or a great cornerback or even a future coach or coordinator?’

          I can imagine that being a really hard sell…

      • SeventiesHawksFan

        Adding three home and away games would be a logistical nightmare. The complaints from our several segments of our city populace and politicians alone about increased security and traffic, coupled with accusations of being motivated by ‘greed’ would be a serious obstacle.

        Now multiply that by 32 other NFL cities. For games that make no money and don’t showcase starter NFL talent. There is already just moderate interest in the preseason games.

        It would all be difficult for the NFL to defend and justify.

        Whereas a develomental camp at a team’s facilities aimed at improved QB safety and getting a position group the practice time it needs isn’t nearly as difficult a sell job. And makes a ton of sense.

        • Rob Staton

          The team doesn’t have to play in Seattle. The farm team could play anywhere really.

          Given the way the NHL and MLB utilise farm teams, I hardly think six games a season for a NFL development roster is going to cause the kind of chaos you imagine.

          • SeventiesHawksFan

            Well I was referring to the realities of local city politics haha. Yes a different location or municipality may welcome the opportunity.

            • Rob Staton

              I think they could even play these games at high schools etc really. Doesn’t have to be a big expense or televised or an audience grabber. Just a means to an end really —- a true development system.

    • SeventiesHawksFan

      Add to this allowing all rookies and maybe even second year players to optionally attend in order to develop further. Thus enhancing the drafting team’s investment in their draft class. Kinda sucks for some teams to spend two years getting a new player ready, then that player departs. This could accelerate the learning curve for those players who play primarily at the LOS.

  38. SheHawk

    Regarding the development league -smaller less congested cities would welcome teams and probably support this as an economic boost. They’d likely offer incentives and compete to get the teams.
    Also for what it’s worth isn’t the NFL is for some unexplained reason considered a non profit?? Its time the league earn that status.
    Let’s remember not all owners are the same. Paul Allen is one of the country’s most generous philanthropists. Also many owner are real estate developers. So there are other ways to profit from creating a farm league in undervalued smaller cities

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