The Seahawks have big question marks on the O-line too

Brandon Shell was benched by the Jets in 2019

The Seahawks went into the off-season with Pete Carroll once again noting the importance of consistency on the offensive line.

Yet there’s a reasonable chance they’ll begin the 2020 season with four new starters.

When the Seahawks travelled to London in 2018 I asked Carroll about the importance of retaining J.R. Sweezy and D.J. Fluker. Both were playing on one-year deals. Both were making a positive impression on a much improved O-line. The Seahawks could run the ball again after a disastrous 2017 season. Although the line was far from one of the best in the league — it’d taken a significant step forward.

Carroll’s answer is quite interesting to reflect on. He called them members of the new core. They were going to be part of the foundation of what was emerging during the reset.

Yet 18 months later both were gone.

It’s indicative of what has been Seattle’s problem since that 2018 season. Players assumed to be part of the new core — Fluker, Sweezy, Frank Clark — have left the team. Some others have emerged, such as D.K. Metcalf. But not enough. Their key players are mostly carry-overs from the previous incarnation — Wilson, Wagner, Wright, Lockett — with some others who straddled both eras (Carson, Griffin).

If the aim from 2018 was to build and craft a new group — it’s not really happened.

The O-line in particular appears to be facing a crossroads. By moving on from Justin Britt, Germain Ifedi and Fluker they could improve the unit. Ifedi was a fixture for four years but had to settle for a veteran minimum contract as a free agent. Britt is currently unemployed and recovering from a knee injury — and who knows what the future holds there? Fluker will fight for a roster spot in Baltimore but didn’t have a good 2019 season.

They haven’t exactly lost Jones, Hutchinson and Tobeck.

The thing is, there’s such a striking unknown about the replacements.

Brandon Shell is a carbon copy of Ifedi in terms of size and profile. He was benched by the Jets last season but now possesses a two-year $11m contract in Seattle. People will joke he can’t be any worse than Ifedi but there’s at least a chance he might not be a significant improvement or any good.

He doesn’t need to be a pro-bowler to be a worthy addition — he just needs to tie up his side of the line, not give away the high number of penalties Ifedi conceded and refrain from being a liability. Most people can’t name more than five or six right tackles in the NFL. Not being bad isn’t a high bar for Shell but it’s funny how often it proves a challenging obstacle for a number of offensive linemen.

B.J. Finney will presumably be first in line to replace Justin Britt. We are not talking about a proven commodity at center, however. In 2017 he was a swing backup guard or center, starting one game at left guard. In 2018 he was a backup guard — starting twice at right guard. The Steelers liked him enough to place a second round tender on him a year ago and he started some games at center too. Yet we’re not talking about a player who’s been anything more than versatile depth up to this point in his career.

Can he be a consistent, quality starting center? That’s not a question anyone can answer positively with any conviction. We need to wait and see. His competition isn’t exactly fierce either. Joey Hunt is a serviceable but limited center and Ethan Pocic has struggled to stay healthy or have any impact in his three years in the league.

I’m a big fan of Damien Lewis and believe the Seahawks stole a top-50 player in round three of the draft. He’s tough, physical and has the potential to become a long-term contributor. He could start as a rookie. For once the Seahawks didn’t go for a player who can play multiple positions. They took a player who is a pure, 100% right guard. He’s not going to be moved around the line or spend three years finding his fit. He’s a right guard. Plain and simple.

He’s also a rookie. And even if the pick ends up being a roaring success down the line, there’s an opportunity for some growing pains — especially when he’s likely going to slot between two other new additions in Finney and Shell. He’ll have to compete with another new signing — Chance Warmack — to start in 2020.

The re-signing of Mike Iupati will provide an opportunity for some consistency at left guard. It’s possible they felt obliged to add him to at least avoid almost a clean sweep of changes up front. It’s very difficult to insert four new starters into an offensive line in one off-season. Iupati’s main competition will be Phil Haynes — although both players were hampered by injuries in 2019.

Duane Brown is probably the second most important player on the team. You can make an argument for Bobby Wagner but the Seahawks just spent a first round pick on a middle linebacker. If Brown gets hurt, as he did last year, the offense could implode. It could easily look as bad as it did against Arizona in week 16.

It’s one of the big head-scratching moments of the off-season really. They spent $60m and not only failed to adequately boost the defensive line (and still have a hole at defensive tackle to this day) — they don’t have a serious Plan B if Brown gets injured.

Admittedly it’s hard enough to find one capable starting left tackle, let alone two. Arguably their failure to properly address the defense in free agency took away any realistic chance to draft a tackle in the first three rounds. They zoned in on Shell and Cedric Ogbuehi in free agency and then moved on.

This is a problem due to Brown’s age. He’s 35 in August and while he insists he’s healthy and raring to go this season — the injuries were starting to stack up last year. The Seahawks aren’t a team like the Titans, with a long term fixture at left tackle who you can realistically expect to play 16 games. Brown is at a point in his career where injuries aren’t going to be surprising. That places a greater importance on having a solid backup. It’s a position you need to invest in. Ideally it’s a fairly highly drafted player you can develop to be a successor.

The Seahawks haven’t invested in a heir apparent or a serious, relatively proven backup. They merely signed Ogbuehi.

The addition was both understandable and curious. They needed to replace George Fant and Ogbuehi at least has some experience of being the sixth linemen in Jacksonville. It’s not quite so clear why he earned a pay increase from $895,000 to $2.237m based on the 155 snaps he had last season. Was demand really that high for a player who had to accept the veteran minimum as a free agent a year ago? For a player who was a first round bust and has endured an injury history? Nevertheless, he fits the Fant mould fairly well.

His addition as the likely backup left tackle though feels like yet another reclamation project that is going to predictably go the same way as all the other ones over the years. It has to be hoped that he never has to play left tackle. It’s fair to say that for all the talent on Seattle’s offense — Wilson, Carson, Lockett, Metcalf, Olsen, Dissly — they’re relying on the health of a 35-year-old left tackle to hold things together.

It means that even in the one position where you feel good about the talent and the experience and the consistency — there’s still a question mark. Again, having spent $60m and having possessed four picks in the first three rounds — it was reasonable to think this would be a target position for investment.

Much has been made of Seattle’s numbers on the O-line. They currently have 17 on the roster. For all the talk of mass competition, however, the starting five seem fairly set with the only real challenge being between Iupati and Haynes and Lewis and Warmack (who was out of the league last year). Most of the 17 are camp bodies. If you had to pick 10 to make it, your guess today will probably be more or less spot on.

It’s also understandable if fans sense a little bit of déjà vu. In 2016 the Seahawks tried to fill holes on the O-line by adding cost-effective starters Bradley Sowell and J’Marcus Webb. Then in 2017 they spent money on a reclamation project in Luke Joeckel and added Oday Obushi, before using a high pick on Ethan Pocic. Finney, Shell, Ogbuehi and Lewis feels, unfortunately, like an eerily similar plan.

Much of the talk this off-season has quite rightly been about the underwhelming moves on the D-line. Yet the lack of action there would’ve been more understandable if there’d been a concerted spending effort on the O-line. If they’d gone out and really added proven quality, such as a Jack Conklin, it still might not’ve been the best use of resources with the pass rush so inept in 2019. At least, however, you could justify the investment in the O-line. Big moves are big moves. Improving your team is improving your team.

The problem with this off-season is they’ve spent $60m and they might not be better on either line. And yet these are the two areas where they really needed to improve.

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  1. Ashish

    I stopped reading after Shell analysis, unfortunately can’t stomach the truth. With all these negative all the world seahawks first time heading towards wrong direction. There were optimism before free agency but all below average signing.
    Thanks Rob for one more article in this dull moment not sure how you do that.

    • Rob Staton

      I’d encourage you to read it all — purely for the discussion and the need to return to this topic down the line. Because if the line succeeds, they will deserve praise. If the line goes the way I fear it might — then it’s going to be a question that needs to be asked and answered about this strange off-season (just as much as questions will need to be asked about the DL).

      • Ashish

        Read the article. You got a point, out of 5 OL, Brown is good but we didn’t have contingency plan. Would have been ideal to have some one as back and learn for year or two replacement.
        So both O-Line and D-Line have big question marks. I hope JS has done his job providing talent and now PC does his job to train and get ready the players. Too much to ask in my opinion lots of things has to fall in place.
        Do you think they can sign Justin Britt back in decent contract? I think center is very important position.

        • Rob Staton

          I don’t think they have the cap space to re-sign Britt.

  2. dcd2

    PCJS love a good 1st round bust reclamation project. We’ll see if Ogbuehi can buck the trend.

    If it all works out and the line is at least as good as last year, then the contracts will look fine. Wondering how they got to the valuations they did is another matter. I posted right after the draft that when it comes to FA and draft picks that it seems JS puts his own value on guys and what the rest of the league values a guy at doesn’t really factor in. It would explain these pay bumps for FA’s who showed very little to warrant them. It also explains why our first round picks always seem to have 2nd-3rd round ‘grades’.

    I’m more hopeful about the OL than the DL, but it is pretty strange that Pete stressed a couple of things: continuity on the OL & improving the DL while bringing Clowney back. Then they went and had this off-season. 60-80% turnover on the line is hardly continuity. In particular due to the fact that none of these guys is a certifiable upgrade.

    Nice piece Rob. OL has taken a bit of a back seat with the DL/Clowney saga.

    Someone said “The fact that they have 17 OL, means they don’t have 5 that they like.” I’m hoping that Haynes and Lewis can win the guard spots at the least. That would give us a couple of young guys on cheap contracts to move forward with.

    • Dave Bara

      One guy you left out is Jamarco Jones. Do you see him as a backup tackle or guard?


      • Rob Staton

        I don’t know to be honest. He struggled badly against the Cardinals at tackle. At guard, there’s not an obvious route to start. I’m not sure what his future is. That’s why I left him out.

  3. Mac

    A great piece once again Rob.
    I find myself rather pessimistic with this upcoming season, we had $60 Mil and a package of early-ish draft picks, I thought for sure we would have bolstered our defensive line, gotten a play-maker or two for Russ and get cheap offensive line help.

    I think we are a 10-6 team this year and will lose the first round of the playoffs.

    We could of had Conklin, Retained Ifedi, SIgned Clownery, Irvin and had the most open draft possible.
    Instead I fear that we will have even more holes after this season at LB, DT, DE, LT and RB.

    My greatest fear for this team is that we end up in a worse position next year because of missed management of our resources

    • Rob Staton

      I share your feeling on the season. 10-6 feels right. Wilson gives them a floor of 9-7 IMO but there are too many question marks to expect much more.

      It’s disappointing because it feels to me like they’re going to waste another season. And I sense Wilson is starting to think about stuff like that too… thus the comment about superstars.

  4. Gaux Hawks

    laughing out loud, rob. i really started to wrap my head around the DL this afternoon. then i started looking at the OL, got scared, was going to ask who SDB penciled in as the backup LT… and ran face first into this article. completely agree… need brown to stay healthy and shell to step up. not so worried about C (although i’m low on both candidates. what an offseason.

  5. cha

    Thanks for the article Rob. If Dallas is as good a pass blocker as scouted, they’ll need him as they work out the kinks with this OL.

    I’m extremely inclined to say, with an almost all-new OL and a DL that is wildly thin, logic dictates the Hawks lean heavily on a power run game early in the season. Gets the OL some confidence and experience working together, and keeps the DL off the field.

    They do have the personnel to do it. I can see a lot of 2 TE sets with their current personnel.

  6. JNSeahawks

    Brandon Shell, while not a very sexy signing, is right up their alley in terms of what they prefer at right tackle. He doesn’t have the penalty problem that Ifedi had and was having a decent 2018 season before it was cut short due to injury.
    Totally agree about Damien Lewis. He’s a BAMF that I think will outplay his draft position, but there will be inevitable growing pains being a rookie.
    Haven’t seen much of Finney, but from what I have seen, I’m impressed. I sense that the Steelers were hoping to keep him around.
    If Haynes can stay healthy, I think he’ll be a beast. He flashed in the Green Bay game.
    What makes you think a late first round OT would be any better than Cedric Ogbuehi? Schneider was pretty blunt about how hard it is to find college OTs that are ready for the NFL. Based on his comments, it makes sense that he decided to go with a veteran that’s cut his teeth in the NFL rather than waste a high draft pick (*cough* Ifedi).
    Totally agree on Brown. He’s vital to this team. But I’ll go on record in saying that I think OL will be better than expected (dare I say good?) this season.

    • Rob Staton

      1. J’Marcus Webb was also right up their alley in terms of RT. So was Germain Ifedi. So was James Carpenter and Justin Britt — neither of which played more than a season at RT. Shell was benched by the Jets last season.

      2. I haven’t seen anything of Finney. But I know he has limited experience starting, especially at center.

      3. What makes me think a late first round OT would be better than Cedric Ogbuehi? Well, Ogbuehi’s been in the league for five years and has done absolutely nothing to warrant any faith. It’s a particularly low bar from which to ‘do better’.

      4. I’ve often referenced how difficult it is to find good, young offensive tackles. But just because it’s hard to find them, it doesn’t mean the alternative is to sign a first round bust who I suspect many didn’t realise was still in the league. And I have the benefit of having studied this draft class and Isaiah Wilson was a particularly enticing prospect who was available.

      5. You can go on record saying it’ll be better. But you’re just expressing hope. You don’t have any real evidence to have any conviction behind that. It’s just wishful thinking. I hope you’re right but you can’t wish something to be true.

      • JNSeahawks

        From an athletic standpoint, I’d say Shell is closer to Breno Giacomini than J’Marcus Webb.
        Finney may not have extensive starting experience, but that’s because the Steelers have maybe the best O-line in the NFL, yet they still tagged him with a second round tender after the 2018 season. And in his limited playing time, he’s graded out well.
        I get that Ogbuehi has set the bar pretty low, but they’ve also only made a modest investment in him, and there’s a high likelihood (relative to other positions) that you’d simply be drafting the next Ogbuehi (or Ifedi) in picking an OT at the end of round 1…and there goes another first round pick.
        Overall, I should have said that this line has the potential to be better, but based on what I’ve seen thus far from their presumptive starters, I think they’ll realize that potential.

  7. BobbyK

    Bad offensive line. Bad defensive line. Franchise QB. Bad team with a decent record because of the QB.

    • TomLPDX

      9-7, tops. This article really depressed me. I’ve tried to be upbeat about our seahawks but the truth is they have regressed. I fear for Russ getting a season-ending injury early on and that’s the end of it.

      • Rob Staton

        I think they can reach 10-6 or even repeat 11-5. Wilson is that good.

        But Bobby is correct. This is a team propped up by the quarterback.

        • TomLPDX

          I believe in Russ and don’t mean to be a debbie downer, but if Russ gets hurt, we’re done. There is no strength anywhere else at this point on the team and I believe they have regressed in certain areas. I really don’t have a clue what they are trying to do at this point.

          • Group Captain Mandrake

            While it’s true that if RW3 goes down that the Hawks are done, it’s a situation that majority of teams are in. It’s rare for a team to have a Teddy Bridgewater that can come in and do a good job.

            • Jeff108

              It’s not about the backup QB. The point is this team lacks strength outside of the QB position. Pitt made a run at the playoffs last yr. behind their d while starting Duck and Rudolph. We don’t have the d or o line to succeed without Russ.

    • mishima

      They needed to fix the OL and/or the DL and didn’t get it done.

      Too difficult to add 1 or 2 OL/DL in free agency, then draft Isaiah Wilson, Darrell Taylor, Damien Lewis and Rashard Lawrence or something similar?

      Instead, they pent $10 million and 2 draft picks on TE and I’m not convinced the position is settled.

      Prob too harsh.

  8. God of Thunder

    Very insightful, thanks.

    Re Pete Carroll and his comments about continuity and stability, well, sometimes we say things that are aspirational (read hopeful, lol). A couple of these guys simply didn’t perform as hoped. Or they wanted too much money. Ergo, bye bye.

    The team has been pretty good about jettisoning players that underperform.

    And nary a mention of Jadeveon Clowney. Good. We’ll presumably find out soon enough why there has been such reluctance across the board to meet his demands.

    • Rob Staton

      Sure, absolutely a lot of Pete’s comments are likely well intentioned aims.

      But the fact is in 2018 they had an idea of what the ‘new core’ looked like. Yet 18 months later, a lot of that plan has changed and players who were pencilled in such as Sweezy, Fluker and Clark are now having to be replaced (in the case of Clark, with extreme difficulty). This coincides with the fact that, Metcalf aside, they’ve not really added anyone else who is a clear core member in the subsequent two drafts.

  9. SpringsCoHawk

    Rob, thanks for the article. I agree with your observation that offensive line for 2020 is unknown and plan did not follow previously stated plan to keep line together. It also might look rough at times in 2020 as new right side will need time to jell and work together.

    I am going to trust Solari on the offensive line. While history shows Cable plans were dumpster dives as you described above, I don’t expect Solari plans to end up so despicable.

    Britt is still recovering from knee injury and paying him high salary for year doesn’t seek smart. They already have Hunt and Pocic to complete for center and getting Finney as a good candidate to compete at center could be brilliant. Those who I have heard interviewed and asked about Finney have had good things to say.

    Fluker was a good player for us for a couple years but his knee/injury issues seek to be catching up to him and seems like a good time to make a break and get his younger replacement.

    Ifedi replacement with Shell is another sad example of a high round draft pick on offensive line (Cable, Schneider)not working out long term…..not becoming a second contract player part of their core. Ifedi is an indictment on their drafting history. I can’t fault Solari and Schneider too much on their decision to move on from Ifedi for 2020 with Shell, Jemarco Jones, or another player.

    If we had signed Conklin for RT and ended up not signing Clowney due to his high salary demands some might still be faulting Conklin acquisition as spending too much on RT preventing us from getting Clowney. As far as not drafting future back up LT for Brown, I was hoping they might draft Prince Tega Wanogho but he must have had significant injury concerns. Why not Ogbuehi as LT backup with NFL experience rather than flier on a rookie for 2020, especially with Covid-19 situation that might limit practice and development of rookies.

    Yes, offensive line might take a while to jell in 2020 but like moving on from Britt (at 2020 price), Fluker, and Ifedi.

    • Rob Staton

      I suppose the question that needs to be asked is whether there are any Cable/Solari plans… or whether they merely have some input into the Schenider plan?

      It’s long been felt that Cable picked ‘his guys’. But I was under the impression he was giving a collection of names and told to give his input. Not that he was given carte blanche to make personnel decisions. I can’t think of any position coach who gets to pick his own players.

    • mishima

      IMO, you can’t build a quality OL with cheap, short term commitments to players that haven’t had success in the league. No question that Ogbuehi and Warmack will be bad.

      At some point, you have to commit to drafting, developing or paying for OL talent. No question that Lewis will be good.

      • McZ

        The Ravens OL was cheaper than our OL in 2019, and was a Top 10 unit.
        UDFA Patrick Mekari would have been the second best player on our line.

        You cannot have it “cheap”, when your rookies are not playing or – I have to say it – are drafted to questionable metrics. Lewis and Haynes are the first picks I wholeheartly agree with, and they will make it at both G spots.

        Which makes the omission of drafting a RT, regardless if first round or late, even worse.

        But then, there is Chad Wheeler, who had more snaps than Ogbuehi. And could be right in the mix for backup or swing T.

      • AlaskaHawk

        The Seahawks have to save money somewhere. Why not by drafting successful players and using them on their rookie salaries?

        My question is, how bad can you draft and still have a decent team that will play well enough to make the playoffs? If you only have 1 or 2 successful drafted players each year, is that enough? Is 3 drafted players enough? That at least seems like a reasonable bottom. I’m defining successful as being a starter for 3 out of 4 years.

        Based on the at least 3 players a year idea, that should net 9-12 drafted starters on the roster (in their first rookie contract), minus injuries. I’m not counting special teams, but that is another area that needs players.

        If they can find more in the draft, then they can spend more money in other areas of importance. This has to be balanced with finding a veteran that can fill a position at a cost under 2 million.

  10. SpringsCoHawk

    I would hope offensive line coach gets to pick his players or indicate which players in draft at offensive line positions he likes best.

    I would think no position coach would dictate draft board and decide if they pick an offensive lineman over a LB in round one…an offensive lineman over a DE in round 2 etc.

    Solari, what do you think about replacing Fluker with Damien Lewis if he falls to use in round 3 on our draft board? I think this would be a question they would definitely ask and not go direction Solari is against.

    • Rob Staton

      Sure, but that’s what I’m saying. You get input from all of your position coaches. They are all part of the process.

      But at the end of the day — your front office are making personnel decisions. A coaches input is just that — input. In some cases that input might be stronger than others. But we shouldn’t view it as Cable signings vs Solari signings. They are all Schneider signings.

  11. SpringsCoHawk

    Schneider to Solari: What do you think about Brandon Shell? What do you think about replacing Ifedi with Brandon Shell at this price versus replacing Ifedi with Conklin at this price?

    • Jeff108

      Too much credit to Solari.Doubt it goes that far.

  12. Hoggs41

    It’s really tough evaluating the offensive line here in Seattle. You have a QB who somtimes likes to hold onto it to take deep shots, he also scrambles around a lot which creates great plays but it will also create sacks. I truly believe we could have 5 all pros onthe line and still give up 40+ sacks. Its sometimes feels like that middle value of offensive lineman we have is the best option.

  13. Martin

    Barring several key injuries, PC will coax this team to 10 wins,maybe 11 with some luck. Another wild card, another wild card win, then another divisional round loss. Coaches and players again saying it feels like 2012. Franchise QB but only 1 SB in PC/JS era. Hate to say it but this franchise is stuck in that pretty good but not good enough zone with no clear direction on how to move forward. Maybe the PC/JS tandem isn’t so magical anymore. Hate saying that but…..

  14. Malc from PO

    Always a balanced analysis, Rob – thank you.
    In my years of watching football, I’ve always felt you have to start with the QB – we’ve got that and can set it aside. After that you need a good O line and D line. A good O line and D line allows you to make mistakes and endure off-days. A weak unit on either side means you have to execute a flawless game, which is just not realistic, even for the best players. Every year it feels like the Seahawks margins for error get tighter and tighter because we don’t have an O line that can reliably churn out a long drive to chew up some time when we need it to, or a D line that forces the opposition into mistakes or gives any confidence that they can get a quick stop. Last year’s points differential might have been the turning point – the margins can’t get any thinner and still enable us to win most of our games. Good lines make average players in the other positions look like world beaters, bad lines make every opponent look like a pro-bowler, a phenomenon we saw with every QB or DE we played last year. Last year’s 11-5 with a playoff win was as good as could be done with that team, and I just don’t like the answer to the question “is the 2020 offering any better?’

  15. Stevo

    Much of this thinking about the O line is using the assumptions left over from Tom Cable’s reign as O line and Asst Head Coach. Some things have changed since Mike Solari joined the team, and more will change. I don’t think we can assume that this line will remind us of 2016, etc.

    Will they have growing pains, oh yes, I agree with that. But I don’t assume we even know who the starters are. Finney has been crowned the “starting center” for no good reason. I believe that Mike Solari won’t be making his decision on that for a couple of months yet.

    Also, let’s stop and consider that perhaps they feel this is the perfect time to have massive turnover on the O line, and the perfect time to bring in youngsters at other positions including DE. After all, truth is this whole season might be a wash, it might be just an asterisk in the record books. It might be a disaster or incomplete teams and sick players and cancelled games.

    So perhaps its best to just treat the next year as an extended 12-month pre-season. Let the young kids compete to find out who starts in the 2022 season.

    • Rob Staton

      Assumptions from Cable?

      What are you talking about?

      • Stevo

        Just this:

        “ It’s also understandable if fans sense a little bit of déjà vu. In 2016 the Seahawks tried to fill holes on the O-line by adding cost-effective starters Bradley Sowell and J’Marcus Webb. Then in 2017 they spent money on a reclamation project in Luke Joeckel and added Oday Obushi, before using a high pick on Ethan Pocic. Finney, Shell, Ogbuehi and Lewis feels, unfortunately, like an eerily similar plan.”

        My point being that no one should assume Mike Solari’s newly-assembled line in 2020 has any similarities to Coach Cable’s lines in 2016 and 2017. Little basis for any comparison.

        The only likely similarity will be that this new O line’s job protecting Wilson will difficult (as it was in 16 and 17) because Wilson leaves the pocket and moved himself into danger often. Otherwise, the o line play we’ve seen the past two years doesn’t give me any deja-vu for 2016.

        • Rob Staton

          I’ll just repeat what I’ve already said then.

          It isn’t Mike Solari’s ‘newly assembled line’. It wasn’t Tom Cable’s assembled lines.

          They were John Schneider’s assembled lines.

          • Stevo

            Well, sure, as GM, Schneider gets ultimate credit or blame, I guess. But I don’t buy that Tom Cable dudnt scout and recruit players, he certainly did. And I assume Solari does as well, but I know less about how Solari operates. That said, the o line players brought in since 2018 bear little resemblance to the linemen brought in during 2016-17.


            • Rob Staton

              Tom Cable wasn’t a scout for the Seahawks.

              He was a position coach.

              His input will have been sought on the players the front office targeted, just like any other experienced position coach.

              Nothing more, nothing less.

              This has already been spelled out by both Cable and Schneider when they worked together.

              • Stevo

                Not trying to be argumentative, but you may have missed a bit of how the coaching staff operated when Cable was here, especially since you weren’t in Seattle. Tom Cable most certainly personally scouted and personally recruited a number of players on his rosters while he was here. Gallery and Webb were here because Cable asked them to join his squad. Sweezy and Seymour were both scouted and worked-out by Cable before he asked Schneider to draft them as conversion projects. Cable had input to the drafting of Carpenter and Moffitt as well. No matter really, its old history. And Solari’s approach is different, the players brought in to play on his squad are notable different from Cable’s guys.

                I’m optimistic that Solari has an approach to both player selection and coaching that better suits today’s needs. And I hope he has better luck than Cable as well.

                Its a great blog, Rob. Thanks for the offseason content. cheers.

                • Rob Staton

                  This is an often assumed truth that is incorrect.

                  Cable and Schneider were both asked about this during interviews. The front office did their job of identifying targets and then sought Cable’s input. Which is no different than any other arrangement.

                  Cable didn’t ‘recruit’ players or scout. Do you realise how little time for that a coach actually has?

                  The front office signs all players and of course seek the input of their most experienced coaches who make recommendations — such as Cable suggesting Sweezy, a seventh round flier, could make a good offensive lineman based on his physical profile. But that’s it.

                  • Stevo

                    Okay. I’ve heard them say those things in front of the microphone too. That’s what one would expect professionals to say about each other when in front of the press. Yet it doesn’t really match what I was hearing at the time from friends who worked in and around the team.

                    • Rob Staton

                      ‘Friends who worked in and around the team’

      • Stevo

        Lol. Please excuse my jumbled wording.

        I only meant to comment on this:

        “ It’s also understandable if fans sense a little bit of déjà vu. In 2016 the Seahawks tried to fill holes on the O-line by adding cost-effective starters Bradley Sowell and J’Marcus Webb. Then in 2017 they spent money on a reclamation project in Luke Joeckel and added Oday Obushi, before using a high pick on Ethan Pocic. Finney, Shell, Ogbuehi and Lewis feels, unfortunately, like an eerily similar plan.”

        My point being that no one should assume Mike Solari’s newly-assembled line in 2020 has any similarities to Coach Cable’s lines in 2016 and 2017. Little basis for any comparison.

        The only likely similarity will be that this new O line’s job protecting Wilson will difficult (as it was in 16 and 17) because Wilson leaves the pocket and moved himself into danger often. Otherwise, the o line play we’ve seen the past two years doesn’t give me any deja-vu for 2016.

        • mishima

          “…no one should assume Mike Solari’s newly-assembled line in 2020 has any similarities to Coach Cable’s lines in 2016 and 2017. Little basis for any comparison.”

          Both lines feature and depend on players that have had little/no success in the NFL.

          Fear Carroll’s magical thinking will waste another year of Wilson’s prime.

  16. Pran

    JS misjudged Ifedi’s FA contract and took a similar profile Shell what then seem to be a value Shell is overpaid and Ifedi is on vet minimum. Waste of resources..

    • Scot04

      Or they just liked Shell better and felt he warranted the contract they gave him.

  17. UkAlex6674

    A piece about the o-line with no reference to Mike Solari (unless I totally missed it). What impact will he on the development of the new line? How much influence does/did he have in getting the new players? We were all singing his praises in his first year, and while performance on the line dropped off last season, Solari is still a top level line coach and for me, with the players currently on the roster for o line, that means that the line will be ok this year. Not good, certainly not great, but we only need it to be an average or slightly above average line.

    • Rob Staton

      Mentioning Solari was unnecessary for the topics I discussed. Assuming it’ll all be OK because of a position coach wouldn’t have added much.

  18. EranUngar

    As things stand right now, the offense will have to carry this team next year.

    The good news (IMO) is that they have improved significantly at all skill positions over what they started last year with – WR (2nd year DK, Dorssett), TE (Olsen + 3rd round rookie), RB (Hyde). Considering this was a top 10 offense already, it counts.

    However, as explained above, the bad news are the questionable OL. None of the classic attributes – continuity, synergy etc. will apply to this unit starting at least 3 new men up front. As for quality – Finney is a promising addition at center since his strength (per PFF) is pass protection, something both Britt and Hunt did not excel at. However, he does not bring ample experience starting less than 10 games at that position.

    Shell is a Right Tackle (I.E. – a player who could not hack it at left tackle). Those are rarely a pillar of strength but you can scheme around them by using bear fronts or adding TE help on the line (which the Seahawks has).

    Lewis is all great promises but a rookie that will not have two quality veterans around him (playing between Finney and Shell). That usually hinders rookie offensive linemen.

    I just hope this line holds well enough for this offense to be able to take over games early and help the defense.

    • mishima

      Only familiar with a ‘Bear’ front on defense.

      • Rob Staton

        I think it’ll be more ‘bare’ front on defense this year…. 👀

        • Sea Mode

          💯 points for that one

          • mishima

            Like a bad dad joke. I gave him 80.

    • Georgia Hawk

      I dont want to be the Negative Nancy here, but I disagree with almost everything. Your last sentence is good.

      I don’t see significant improvement to skill positions by any means…unless you are strictly talking about from a depth/numbers standpoint.

      We HOPE DK is better in year two. that remains to be seen. For every player that jumps in year two I can show you two that don’t or even fall back. Dorssett isn’t an improvement to me. He hasn’t shown anything anywhere else, why does coming to Seattle (a run focused team) make him automatically better than either what he has shown or what we had before? Olsen had both feet in the broadcast booth last season (where he arguably got better reviews than he did for any recent play), and Sullivan has to compete to even see the field in an already crowded TE room. Hyde is 32 and literally nothing more than a depth option with Penny still out. FA RB pickups haven’t been great to Seattle in recent years…

      I will give you Finney should be an upgrade at C. As you pointed out though, not much sample size to work with there though.

      I think a lot of RTs would take exception to saying they just couldn’t cut it at LT. There are dozens of reasons why one might be better suited to be a RT. One of the first that comes to mind is which foot you are stronger/quicker posting on. I don’t disagree that we shouldn’t expect much if anything from Shell….just the characterization.

      • mishima


        Also, too much depends on a core of Brown, Carson, Lockett, Metcalf, Olsen that has struggled with injuries / availability.

        • Rob Staton

          I also agree.

          The skill positions are not ‘significantly’ improved. They have greater depth at tight end, which is a plus. But Carlos Hyde and Philip Dorsett doesn’t constitute a major swing towards significant improvement. Especially when you consider the skill position players they had to pass on in the draft in order to fix the defense (which they should’ve sorted in free agency).

          • mishima

            An example (not suggestion): Cut Wright, sign Cory Littleton, draft CE-H or Taylor at #27.

            New core at LB (3 years) and RB (4 + 1 years) and upgrade at 2 positions.

            Could have done similar/same at DL and/or LEO by aggressively targeting Clowney, Armstead, Fowler, Quinn, Ngakoue, etc., freeing them up to take BPA at 59 and 64 and 101.

            Because they chose to patch instead of fix, they’ll have same challenges at LT, LB, CB, RB, TE next offseason. No plan, no direction.

            • cha

              I too really wanted some of the skill players in this draft.

              However, this was a pretty good depth draft for OT, I could envision them taking bookend tackles if they’d been more aggressive on D in free agency.

              So at the worst you’ve got backups at both tackle spots, at best you’ve got a starting RT and a promising understudy to Brown at LT and not being the same position of having to trade for a LT to keep the offense from imploding in a year or two.

              • mishima


                IMO, I like Brooks, Lewis and Parkinson, but they could easily have addressed WILL, OG, TE in free agency, allowing them to address and take BPA at OL, DL, skill positions in the draft.

                Just taking Isaiah Wilson and Damien Lewis would have locked down the right side for 4+ years. Could still have added Darrell Taylor, Alton Robinson, Leki Fotu and/or Rashard Lawrence.

                Bungled opportunities.

      • Ewokk

        Hyde is 29, not 32.

    • cha

      Sorry to be Captain Bringdown but this post just made me think of our pre-offseason discussions. $60m and a healthy dollop of draft picks, we were licking our chops. We talked about Jack Conklin, signing Austin Hooper, or trading for a Diggs or an OBJ.

      And now here we are 3 months later, talking about how both OL and DL still have huge question marks and we can’t lean on “at least we acquired star player X” to explain a short-spend in those areas.

    • McZ

      If you scheme around a bad RT, you basically keep a WR off the field.

  19. Georgia Hawk

    I just keep coming back to the question of “What exactly ws the plan going into the off season?” Do you really need 17 O Line? I mean, yeah more competition and all that but, really? They are literally throwing S#!t on the wall to see what sticks.

    They went into the season wqith $60m to spend. Spent much of that space on O Line retool and depth, but paradoxically, it feels like they didnt spend anything on O Line.

    Come Jan 2021 we are either going to look back at this off season and have a “Those guys are geniuses” reaction….or a “WTF Pete.” reaction. I don’t think there will be an in between.

    • mishima

      The only real commitments (dead cap) are to Shell and Finney.

      IMO, they wasted cap space and draft picks to temporarily fix positions other than DL.

      Examples: Paying Wright 1 year / $10 million, after drafting Barton, then Brooks; paying Olsen $7 million, tendering Hollister, then drafting Parkinson; keeping McDougald, trading for Diggs after missing on Thompson, Hill, maybe Blair; overpaying Irvin by a couple million. Redundancies, overpays, etc. add up fast.

      Signing a few journeymen / retread camp bodies didn’t prevent them from addressing the lack of pass rush.

    • Volume12

      IDK. I feel like it when it comes to the O-line it’ll be a “WTF Pete.”

      I agree w/ Rob though. I think Seattle got themselves a rock solid starter in Damien Lewis.

  20. it's pug

    In the words of the stones; :”you can’t always get what you want.”
    The off-season and draft aren’t done in a vacuum.
    Seahawks different from this blog, got to deal with reality, and never in hindsight.
    Shell over priced only cause Ifedi signed for min, cause on paper Shell is Ifedi without penalties.
    Britt is hurt not ready to start season at 10 mil, we added a better 3rd option at C.
    Fluker also a costly injury concern, so the middle of our OL was already revolving door.
    Last yrs OL was “going” to best all time, NOT! I’d bet this yrs is better than last.
    Rob can say not evidence to support that, but evidence supports what we had was fools gold.
    Complaining about cost after the fact, is like a redo of past years drafts, and a waste of time.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m confused. You seem to be suggesting no criticism is valid because we’re not running a NFL franchise. You say I can’t say there’s no evidence to suggest the line will be improved — yet the only case you present is… last years O-line was fools gold (which is an awful strawman, given nobody was arguing the line would be that good a year ago).

      I think people can clearly see whose words are a waste of time… and it wasn’t the article.

  21. Denver Hawker

    What’s the plan?

    I’ve been trying to answer this question and struggling to find common linkage from season to season or matching rhetoric with actions.

    The only conclusion I have right now is the loading up of short term contracts last two seasons and filling roster with a bunch of depth pieces. They don’t want to pay anyone big or long for some reason.

    Perhaps They think competition will bring out the best in someone looked over by other teams? Yet I dont see that as a strategy, more like a lottery ticket.

    • McZ

      Perhaps they think that PC is in the midst of his last contract. And that a new coach would instantly need to clean house.

      • Rob Staton

        Nothing they’ve done is with Carroll’s future in mind. You don’t hinder the team in the short term because one day the coach will leave.

        Whether people agree or disagree with what they’ve done, we can judge it based on them thinking trying to build a championship roster.

  22. It's Pug

    We do have a very talented Offense at skill positions.
    There are few if any NFL offenses that have RW, Carson, Lockett, Metcalf, Olsen, Dissly, let alone also have the depth of smith/gordon, Dorsett/moore, Hyde/penny, holister/parkinson, and I’ve not even gotten to younger depth.
    The salary cap makes it all a package deal, and while games need to be played this offense might be even better than last, which was one the best scoring offenses in NFL last year.
    For those still complaining, easy solution; trade wilson and then fill your wish list everywhere else.
    For me, Sign Gordon and this “might” be one of the seahawks most talented skills position “group” ever.

    • Rob Staton

      Please, I want this to be my last warning on this.

      Your arguments are so silly it runs the risk of turning the discussion into a load of nonsense. The counter to raising legitimate concerns is not: ‘well trade Wilson and you’ll get what you want’.

      I wouldn’t even expect such a low grade debate on twitter.

    • It's Pug

      Rob you’re putting words in my mouth.
      my post never said; “no criticism is valid because we’re not running a NFL franchise.”
      I also didn’t say; “can’t say there’s no evidence to suggest the line will be improved”
      I said; “Rob can say not evidence to support that, but evidence supports what we had was fools gold.”
      I listened to all last yrs OL hype and it was fools gold, it was OK, Brown was the GOOD player rest OK.
      And yes last year both brown and fluker were touting it as best ever kind of stuff.
      You’re being defensive Rob, I never criticized your article or called it a waste of time.
      I said going back to previous years drafts after seeing who succeeded and who didn’t for a re-do is a waste of time.
      I enjoy your articles- I just think the cap and other players like Clowneys free agency make offseason plans crash and burn. My expectation is never to have the best and be the best, but to give me hope for a successful season to compete for division championship and SB.
      I think Pete and John have given that to us.
      It’s fun to speculate but games got to be played and I for one feel we are ready with just 2 offseason adds- Harrison on D andf gordon on offense.
      Is it the best team ever nope, but we will compete for divison and SB

      • Rob Staton

        “my post never said; “no criticism is valid because we’re not running a NFL franchise.”

        “Seahawks different from this blog, got to deal with reality, and never in hindsight.”

        I listened to all last yrs OL hype

        It didn’t exist.

  23. Volume12

    Rob, has anyone jumped out at ya recently? In terms of potential ’21 prospects. Or have you not had much of a chance to watch yet? I’m asking because there’s a couple names I’m very interested in checking out.

    • Rob Staton

      Sadly nobody has jumped out. I’ve watched most of the names you’d expect. Now I’m going to start the laborious task of looking for diamonds in the rough. But this feels like a very top heavy class to me.

      • Volume12

        I wanna see:

        W. Virginia DT Darius Stills
        Auburn EDGE Big Kat Bryant
        UL-Monroe HB Josh Johnson

        The little clips of I’ve seen of Johnson are sit up in your seat good. Might be the best small school prospect this year.

        • McZ

          Micah Parsons, LB, Penn St
          Zane Zandier, LB, UVA y
          Abraham Lucas, LT, WSU
          Daniel Faalele, T, Minnesota (a 6’9 400 lbs moving mountain)
          Tyler Vaughns, WR, USC (think he is the better overall player compared to Amon-ra)
          TJ Vasher, WR, Texas Tech (insane catch radius, strict role player at 6’6)
          Charlie Brewer, QB, Baylor
          Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia (will finally show how he can do in a pro style offense and will lead UGA to a championship)

    • dcd2

      Have you looked at Pitt yet? Jones II & Twyman on the DL and Ford in the secondary. Here are some other names that I’ve put on my early list.

      DE – Basham: Wake Forrest
      CB – Farley: Va Tech (6’2 former WR)
      S – Nasirildeen: FSU (he’s got some Kam to his game)
      DE – Roche: Miami (transfer from Temple)
      DE – Rousseau: Miami
      DT – Wilson: FSU

      These are just ACC defensive guys.

      • Volume12

        I liked Ford quite a bit. He’s just so slight. Hoping he’s added some mass.
        Twyman is intriguing. He’s got sky high potential. Wished his pad level was better. Moves extremely well, good quickness, at his best looping and shooting gaps.

        I’m super, super high on Caleb Farley. Marvin Wilson IMO will go in the top half of round 1. And Basham impressed me last year. He’s one of those guys who can line up in a few different spots.

        The ACC is a good place start. Especially on the D-line. Duke has a couple EDGE rushers I haven’t seen yet and Cory Durden, Florida St DT, is someone I wanna evaluate. Of course, there’s more than just names.

        • Volume12

          * more than just those names

        • dcd2

          Ya, I thought about even including Wilson, as I don’t think we’ll have a shot at him. He’s a beast. Similar story with Rousseau.

          I’ve been working my way from top to bottom (saving Clemson for last) in the ACC. Haven’t quite made it to Duke, Cuse, GaTech & NC State.

  24. Jeremy

    Rob, I read an article recently that suggested the seahawks are minimizing contracts beyond 2021 because that may be a head coach transition if Pete Carroll retires? Do you think this is possible or logical?

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t. Whoever wrote that is talking rubbish.

    • mishima

      Why do I do it?

      Like sniffing off milk.

    • cha

      No I don’t, but this year’s offseason moves have been so bewildering, that people are scratching for answers.

  25. RWIII

    Something interesting. John Clayton said that Seattle at one time made a 16mil offer for Clowney.

    • Jace

      Sadly I’m not sure I believe half the stuff John Clayton says anymore.

    • dcd2


      information received from other people that one cannot adequately substantiate; rumor.

  26. Frank

    The entire offseason has seemed like a lateral step, and if you are already a Super Bowl ready rooster it’s fine to aim at just not slipping (such as the 49ers moves with Buckner), but if you are a couple quality pieces away from being a contender not nearly enough. The only thing I like about the personal decisions on the offensive line, is that there’s room for young players to win there position battle this year and a couple years down the road might be okay.

    I’d like to see Jones transition to center where his lack of athleticism can be less of an issue. I think the position battle between Haynes and Warmack could be intriguing, as is seeing where Knox and Simmons can stay healthy enough to contribute. Tackle is still a massive question mark, Jones and Ogbuehi probably aren’t long term solutions, Brown is 103 years old. I realize you can’t address every need in the draft, but if you find the market for positions to expense in free agency DE, or Tackle you have to spend some draft picks addressing those positions and hope your scouting department finds some gems.

    Trying to discern what the plan was this offseason has been perplexing to say the least, especially the free agents on the oline and TE, seems like a dumb use of resources without the benefit of potentially high upside.

    • cha

      already a Super Bowl ready rooster

      Well PC does start pretty early in the morning.

      He does like to strut around the sidelines like he’s the cock of the walk.

      And ask him what he likes best about his players and he’ll crow for days.

    • mishima

      We have a winner:

      Non-tendered Simmons signed a split contract while Knox was released.

  27. GoHawksDani

    I love Russ, but you all overvalue him a bit. If Carson goes down or Hyde cannot produce we’re in a really bad place. Russ can be amazing, but put him under constant pressure (no rungame, bad OL, weak defense) and sometimes he swims but other times he sinks and make bad decisions.
    I think the floor is 6-10, ceiling most likely 10-6.

    • Rob Staton

      Nobody is overvaluing Russ.

      • Marc Edge

        It is impossible to overvalue RW. He makes an 8-8 team into an 11-5 team. If you don’t understand his value, you don’t understand football.

        • GoHawksDani

          This is not a 8-8 team without him.This is a 3-13 or 6-10 tops team. So yeah, he singlehandedly can win 2-4 games, but that’s still not a massive winning record for this year. PCJS flopped big time…maybe things just didn’t aligned as they thought them, but this should’ve been one of the best offseason for them. Had money, had some flexibility, had solid picks. I think if you subtract every addition (Irvin, Mayowa, Shell, Obugehi, draft picks) the team is somewhat weaker, but not by much. That says a lot.
          If they get lucky and some OL outperforms themselves AND got lucky in the draft and the DEs will jump onto the scene AND RBs and CBs stay healthy they have the opportunity to go 10-6 maybe even 11-5. But that’s pretty optimistic scenario. If the OL crumbles and there won’t be some crazy magic with the D# this team can very well be 6-10 next year. I think the 10/11 win is a bit wishful thinking, and I hope 5/6/7 wins won’t happen, but 8-8 or 9-7 seems rather likely to me. This is probably the first offseason when I’m not crazy on-my-seat intrigued about our rookies and not pumped about the potential of the roster.
          I’m in total shock about how awful this offseason went…
          Take all the signings and just give me like Reed, Fowler (or some other bigger name passrusher), Conklin.
          Grab a WR, OG, TE, DT, CB, RB in the draft and I feel this team would be much-much better. Maybe even open to an SB run

  28. Max

    Hi Rob, long time reader, first time commenter. LOVE the blog.I apologize in advance for the following long winded question/rant/soliloquy:

    I pretty much share the exact same thoughts as you regarding this off season. Extremely frustrated/disappointed/confused with how free-agency and the draft went. There is one thought that gives me optimism for the next season, and its this…I think RW has gotten to a point where he is so good that, assuming his offensive playmakers are a bit more healthy this year and the new offensive line isn’t 2016-2017 levels, this will be a top 5 offense. And if its a top 5 offense, I don’t think the defense needs to be great, or even good, for us to make the jump from a 2nd tier team to the 49ers-saints-chiefs-ravens tier. I think all we need is an average defense. The big problem is, we weren’t even remotely close to average last year. I know there were probably statistically worse defenses but eye-test wise I didn’t see many worse. My question to you is, what is the minimum level the defense needs to reach for this team to make the jump into that tier 1? If they were the 32th D last year, and they made a jump to slightly below average (15-20) would that be good enough? All of this is assuming we resign clowney. If they don’t, then there is no chance this team does any better than 9-7 with a WC berth and maybe one playoff win.

    My thinking is, if they get clowney, and a decent DT, then the additions on the DL (taylor, robinson, mayowa, Irvin) have the potential to be a big enough improvement over the departures (Jackson, Ziggy, qjeff) that this Defense could in fact be league average next year.

    Thanks for the great content! Sidebar: Im from Victoria BC, did you ever come over here when you were living in BC? What brought you to BC?

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think they’ve done enough to reach that average level Max. And I’m not sure simply retaining Clowney will be enough now. The offense is certainly good enough to have a floor of 9-7 in my opinion. But In order to be a true contender you need to be able to rush the passer and have good line play. They simply don’t have it. They could easily win 10 or 11 games again and be a comfortable playoff team. But the next step, being on the level of the Niners a year ago or even the Saints, requires more. They’re too reliant on the offense.

      I did visit Victoria… in fact my inlaws came over to visit us and we all travelled there together and spent a few days out there. I love everything about BC. We just decided to move out there and give it a shot. I would’ve loved to have stayed to be honest.

    • GoHawksDani

      Sorry, offtopic: I was never in Victoria (only visited the nearby San Juan Island), but thought about moving there. Based on comments, pictures, everything I read it seems like a pretty awesome place. But it’s really far away (living in Hungary currently), so won’t happen (moving to Spain instead a couple of years from now), but I’m a fan of Victoria for sure 🙂

      • mishima

        If you don’t mind me asking, what part of Spain? Would like to move to Granada.

        • GoHawksDani

          Right now thinking about Valencia. Heard nice things about it, cheaper than other big cities (Madrid, Barcelona), still a relatively bigger city. I was only in Barcelona (twice) though, so first we need to check out a couple of cities. Granada seems nice, but it’s a bit down south and not sure how different the people there…maybe more “mediterranean” than in the middle or in the northern region. And while we love those attitude while on vacation not sure how we’d handle that in the long run 😀 Planned to go to an Andalucian trip before the pandemic hit (Sevilla, Granada, Malaga, Cordoba) but had to re-schedule 🙁

  29. Marc Edge

    I don’t know what everyone is freaking out about. I think we’re looking good on the interior. Instead of free agent guards every year, we now have Lewis and Haynes as our guards of the future. Finney should be good at C. At least he can’t be much worse than Joey. Pocic is the wild card depending on his health. He could even kick out to RT where he played some as a rookie. The LT position will need attention due to Brown’s age.

    • Rob Staton

      Why should Finney be good at center?

      • Marc Edge

        He scouted well coming out of KSU. Apparently he played pretty well for the Steelers but never really got the chance to start. I mean, they have lots of film on him, right? BTW, what do you think are the chances that Britt might come back on a veteran minimum deal once he’s healed?

        • TomLPDX

          Britt is worth more than a vet minimum deal. He’ll find a spot once he is healthy.

        • Rob Staton

          He didn’t scout well enough to be drafted.

          He hasn’t started consistently at center.

          He is a major question mark.

          Not sure on Britt. They don’t have cap room to spend any more.

          • Marc Edge

            He was ranked by most as a mid-round pick and obviously should have been drafted. The Hawks obviously see something in him. I’ll go with them.


            Finney has excellent hand usage to base his game around. He’s a high-Football IQ player who understands how to call out protections and has the voice to make sure that his guys around him understand what the calls are supposed to adjust to.

            He has solid lateral agility and is a very technical player up front. He hits the second level hard and plays with a ton of power. As a run blocker, he drives defenders back and wins right off the ball. As a pass protector, he understands who he needs to block and how to block them.


            Finney is a below-average athlete even for a center and likely won’t be a great fit in the zone schemes. He’s also not great at pulling or screen blocking and is best when he can stick in his little phone booth. He doesn’t always get the best leverage and needs to improve on keeping his pad level low.

            He’s not nasty or dirty in the scrum and doesn’t display the fire needed for interior line in the NFL. He’s got a lot of work to do technically and bends at the waist to much. His flexibility needs to be improved, but that’s not something easy to improve on.

            • Rob Staton

              He was still undrafted.

              I don’t mind people being positive about Finney. But let’s not assume he’ll be good based on pure wishful thinking.

              • RWIII

                In regards to Finney. March of 2019 the Steelers gave Finney a 2nd round tender. WHich means they like Finney good enough to pay him a 2nd round salary in 2019.

                • mishima

                  All a tender does is buy time. Cheap, non-guaranteed insurance.

                  Chump change.

                • Rob Staton

                  Yes I noted that in the article

    • GoHawksDani

      The issue is not 100% with the personel. I like Lewis much more than Fluker. I’d like Haynes more than Iupati. I’m not a fan of Ifedi and Hunt has serious limitations. So it could be an upgraded group based on the players. But OL is 70% communications, chemistry, knowing each other, playing well each other and 30% just talent.
      If all of our guys would be all pro OL whom got pulled together it would be completely fine (some initial pains maybe). The talent would shine through…but since these guys are OK not HoF candidates, the issues of not playing with each other could amplify. And without the usual training camp it could amplify even more

  30. Max

    Thanks Rob!I think you’re probably right.I was at the saints game last year,and the popular sentiment post game was “if Carson doesn’t fumble,if we don’t allow the punt return,if al woods doesn’t commit a penalty on the FG,etc we win” I came away thinking that both lines were sooooo over matched.

    Glad you liked B.C.If you ever come back for a holiday there’s a pint in Victoria with your name on it.

    • Rob Staton

      Thanks max 👍🏻 🍻

  31. EranUngar

    I guess I am totally outnumbered.

    I will try to wrap my head about it.

    A year ago we had Lockett, a rookie everybody said cant run routes and Dissley coming back from injury after 4 (great) games total in his NFL Career.

    And that’s pretty much the same amount and level of solid targets we have today.

    Even if DK does not a 2nd year leap, just the player he became late in the season and in the playoffs, that alone makes this offense totally different than it was starting 2019.

    And, we led the NFC before we lost all our top RBs. and adding Hyde does not help.

    I understand being upset with many things this team did or did not do but really?

    • Rob Staton

      Your problem Eran is you’re overstating things.

      It’s perfectly fine to say Philip Dorsett is better than Jaron Brown. That Greg Olsen is a nice addition. That you hope Metcalf can take a second year jump.

      Those things don’t constitute a ‘significant’ improvement.

      Neither will the offense be ‘totally different’ if Metcalf plays as well as he did in some games at the end of the season. He was consistently productive throughout the year.

    • cha

      I think there’s probably more flexibility available to the Hawks on offense this year. Things like…DK should have a much more varied route tree, they have 3 TEs they can consistently deploy, Ogbuehi allows them to continue their jumbo packages and they have a 1, 1A and 1B trio of RBs once Penny gets healthy and some young options behind them.

      But that is looking at it through the lens of having the entire roster available at any given time. The ever-present injury issues (let’s see how Ivan the Terrible fares in Year 2) are always looming to undo a lot of that flexibility.

      As well, the legit questions about the OL transition raised in the article, and the defense not being anywhere near to closing the loop presents the potential of negating any positive changes the offense may experience.

      And then you have Special Teams, which at this point is about middle of the pack. ST’s really needs to get back to being a top 10 unit.

  32. KennyBadger

    So in terms of OL ‘camp bodies’, do you think there’s enough money that could be shed to pick up a vet DL after final cuts to fill our DT need? I know that’s not the best way to construct your roster, but I’m looking for other possibilities to address a pretty critical need yet…

    • Rob Staton

      No — because the cap space currently is only predicated on your top-51 earners. The rest don’t count.

      • dcd2

        Depends on who the cut is though. If it’s Hunt, it free’s up some money. If it’s Roos or Simmons it wouldn’t.

        You could replace Hunt with an identical contract and not impact the cap.

        • Rob Staton

          I think it’s highly unlikely to be Hunt though. Pocic is more likely but that only creates $1m.

          • dcd2

            Unless Pocic shows out in camp, I’d think that is where things stand in terms of who they’d rather keep as well. If they need cap space, Hunt saves more than twice as much without any being wasted via dead money though.

            I’m not advocating for cutting Hunt per se, but if it’s a choice between Hunt and someone like Clinton McDonald, or Pocic and Snacks or Dareus, I’d rather they get the better DT than backup C.

            Not sure that extra $1M or so is going to be enough to move the needle though. The fact that we’re essentially out of cap space is so disappointing.

      • john_s

        That’s a really good point about the cap only counting the top 51 earners. If you cut a player from the top 51, your cap savings is actually the cut players cap savings minus the cap # for the player moving in to the top 51.

        For example, cutting Pocic, you save $1 million, but the 52nd cap # is 700k so you are really saving 300k

        • Rob Staton

          But when you sign someone like a Clowney, Griffen or defensive tackle — they replace Pocic’s salary and take a place among the top-51. So in the end, you save the $1m.

  33. Gaux Hawks

    how do we compare to the other nfcw offensive lines?

    (imagine how terrifying it would be if we had to put jimmy g or goff behind our line)

  34. James

    The Seahawks OL certainly falls into the “fingers-crossed” category. Vast good luck will be needed to keep Duane healthy, same with Iupati. Finney looks to be good at pass pro, and picking up stunts, just the opposite of Britt, but he doesn’t seem to anchor particularly well. Almost an anti-Solari player, strong blocking in the pass game, but not a mover in the run game. The stunts ate us alive last year, so Solari seems to be willing to compromise. Like you, I love Damien Lewis’ tape, he has pro bowl potential for a long time to come, the perfect physical package for a RG. Shell, who the hell knows? I have heard analysts who know far more about football than I do say that Shell just did not fit in the Jets zone blocking scheme, and he should do much better for Solari. He certainly looks quicker a-foot than Germain, though about the same size. A vast reservoir of luck will be needed to anoint him as well. Gosh, how good could Russell, Carson, Lockett, DK, Dissly and Olsen be if they had decent blocking?

    • Derek

      Seems like they wanted options and they have many on the OL at LG, C, RG, and RT.

      However, to reiterate what Rob says, how many of these “competitions” result in strong play at their positions?

      I like that we have depth but if Duane Brown gets injured, this line does not have a good option to replace him. At least with George Fant, I felt comfortable he could at least be average at LT.. can Jamarco Jones or Shell play average LT? I doubt it. Ogbuehi was run out of Cinci and couldn’t reclaim his career in Jax, so I don’t have a lot of expectations from him other than an average to below-average RT. Putting Ogbuehi at LT would be a nightmare, might as well bring Odhiambo back and play him at LT.

  35. Kenny Sloth

    The NFL is an overwritten opera and Kaepernick 2.0 is the climax

    • charlietheunicorn

      Dare I say…. the WWE / WWF…. from 1980s

      • Gohawks5151

        I am a real American… Fight for the rights of every man…

        • Justaguy

          I hold the same patriotism as Gohawks

        • dcd2

          I am a real Hungarian,
          Take a rest in Budapest
          It will be such fun.

          Feared and mighty, The Wolfman his name
          Constantly bringing Gorilla Monsoon to shame
          Deep from the heart of the Csarna Valley
          Scruffled and wild and certainly shaggy
          He fought like a beast and wouldn’t let go
          Lead to the ring by Lou Albano
          To the brave man-beast Farkas, we raise a toast
          Never a star, but better than most

  36. Largent80

    Even though Ifedi’s play was steady, the fact is that he had a lot of time with Solari and we never saw a first round RT play out of him. That being said here’s to hoping Solari can have a positive affect on all these new guys.

    Unfortunately, the off season and the virus will limit the time they can “gel”. I guess we get what we get and hope for the best, but I’m not expecting much.

  37. RWIII

    Cliff Avril said he has been working with the defensive line over the last month. He’s been working with players like Reed, Ford and Green. Avril says that he likes the defensive line a lot.

    Avril did say that the Hawks need Clowney because of his experience.

    When it comes to character Cliff Avril is at the head of the Class. Avril does a ton of work for the poor. There are not too many guys like Cliff Avril.

  38. Cortez Kennedy

    It was asinine to come out of this draft without at least a project tackle. Our left tackle is 35 and hurt most of last year so of course we passed on Isaiah Wilson to draft a guy who can maybe replace Bobby one day.

    I’m sick of veteran retread linemen, I’m sick of overpaying them, I’m sick of predictably watching them suck on gamedays. I’m sick of this team’s inability and/or unwillingness to identify and develop talent at offensive line.

    • Largent80

      There were at least 5 centers worth drafting. They passed on all of them to sign a guy that was basically a swing lineman. Hard to figure it out, now, the future is totally uncertain for every position except RT.

      The D-Line????……what a joke, they pay all these jabronies millions….7 million for a much injured 35 y.o. tight end?

      Hard to figure it out as a fan, but I guess thats why were fans and not F.O. material.

      • Darnell

        That’s certainly a lot more long -term confidence in Shell than many have.
        I think the most optimistic long-term projected answer is probably Damien Lewis at RG, but even then, he hasn’t played a down of NFL football yet.

      • BobbyK

        Tim Ruskell was F.O. material. Those guys have a way of being unemployed having too many off-seasons like that in a row. Unless you have one of the best QBs in the NFL to hide how bad the rest of the team is.

  39. Ryan Purcell

    Ok – Since Rob won’t write a rose colored glasses view of the Seahawks off season (It would be a worthy post if only to cut through the gloom of this blog!) I will give an attempt. (forgive the hyperbole!)

    Realizing the draft was full of offensive line talent, and knowing that the defense needed an infusion of talent, P&J decided to stock up on undervalued free agent offensive linemen. They added their top 4 free agent targets. (I think they said something like that in the news)

    They add Irwin and Mayowa, one a proven vet who can get to the quarterback, the other an undervalued talent just coming into their prime. Like with Avril and/or Bennett they get him for a fraction of his value. They also pick up a top corner for a song.

    They turn to the draft. An aging linebacker core and Cody Barton as a top reserve made the first choice an easy one. They pick the top linebacker in the draft, a tackling machine who instantly makes their defense faster and more aggressive. They pick up a top edge in the second round – one who was overlooked because of a late season injury but who has played at a high level throughout his college career. Then Lewis drops and they decide to go get him. He’s not in their plans but he’s too good to pass up. The rest of the draft fills holes and is pretty much a crap shoot anyhow.

    The Clowney standoff hurts no doubt, but he was the leader of one of the worst defensive lines in the NFL last season and has stubbornly overvalued his market. In any event he is still out there, and can be added by some restructuring of contracts as we get closer to the start of the season. We add a cheap run stuffing tackle who is released by someone for cap related reasons (Can you tell I’m getting tired of writing?) and they are set.

    So there it is: The Seahawks, a team that was a few plays away from playing for the right to go to the Super Bowl (!!) have made their team younger and more versatile while avoiding pricy vets who don’t fit their culture. WIN FOREVER!

    (Whew. That is a lot of work. Rob, I don’t know how you do it.)

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think I’m writing gloom.

      I’m just providing my honest view.

      And I will always think that’s more important than me writing positive stuff for the sake of it.

      I hope I’m wrong. I hope this is the best off-season they’ve ever had and I called everything so badly. But I don’t think I have.

      • dcd2

        We all hope we’re wrong on this off-season. It would be a welcome surprise to have misjudged these moves.

        What were your favorite moves in FA and the Draft Rob?

        For me, I’d say signing Olsen in FA. I think he’ll provide Will with some valuable tricks of the trade, and let them split some time to stay fresh & hopefully healthy. He also would not have counted against comp picks. In the end it didn’t matter, but it left the option tenable. A nice over the middle option for those tricky 3rd & medium downs.

        For the draft, I’ll go with Taylor. The fact that they moved up to get him shows the conviction that they’ve had with guys like Lockett, Reed, Metcalf in the past. The hits outweigh the misses when John goes for it like that. He was also a direct need and should help create some pressure’s.

        • Rob Staton

          I like their draft in isolation. I just don’t understand the overall plan. It doesn’t make sense.

        • dcd2

          Note: I’m just focusing on the bright side here. Whether Olsen still has juice or the contract was high, is certainly up fair concern.

    • cha

      P&J decided to stock up on undervalued overvalued free agent offensive linemen


    • Gaux Hawks

      pure magic. thank you ryan.

      • TomLPDX

        Totally agree! That was written with tongue firmly implanted in cheek and love every word of it! Now, back to reality…

  40. Hoggs41

    I’m guessing they have had talks with Brown and he said he has two years left in him. I’d imagine they for sure take one next year to sit behind Brown for a season.

    • Hoggs41

      This was supposed to be a reply to Cortez

  41. Bankhawk

    Is this move of Alonzo Highsmith from temporary draft consultant to a permanent front-office job in player personnel of any significance?

    • BobbyK

      I really like Alonzo Highsmith.

      • Gohawks5151

        Seconded. He has his ear to the ground and has found some players under unique circumstances

        • UkAlex6674

          Can you name a couple GoHawks – I haven’t got a clue!!

          • mishima

            Involved in player personnel for Green Bay (2012 – 2017) and Cleveland (2018 – 2019).

            Having anything to do with drafting Nick Chubb is good enough for me.

          • Gohawks5151

            Hard to say exactly who he is personally responsible for. But I remember a WR kid that was sleeping on the street and talked his way into a draft showing. Highsmith invited him to a tryout and he made the roster and scored a TD. More of a feelgood story than anything but turning over stones and finding gritty guys sounds very seahawky.

  42. Tree

    This is the position group I am most nervous about with all the changes and no minicamps, but I don’t get comments killing them for overspending on the OL. They signed a potential starting RT, C, and backup OT for modest amounts and it allowed us to be flexible in the draft. The other guys we signed could simply be cut if they don’t make it. They could have added an OT or C with the Lewis pick and would have been applauded by the national media but they took their guy. I like Jamarco as a swing tackle (he was our potential starter his rookie year at RT before he got hurt) even if he had one rough game against one of the best ends in the league where we couldn’t run the ball. Pocic is another flexible piece and I hope he makes it over Hunt (who knows maybe he wins the starting job if they let him play his natural position-Unger got tossed around his rookie year when he had to play guard). If this works out, we could potentially keep the starting OL together for this year and next assuming Brown doesn’t retire and I am excited about the power and athleticism at guard if Lewis and Haynes start. Plus not having giants (unless pocic wins the job) in the middle may allow RW to see and attack the middle of the field a little better.

    • cha

      I suppose in the overall picture of things, they did sign modest contracts. But given their track records, Ogbuehi and Shell in particular got significant raises, and were brought in early in free agency, when their play to date didn’t warrant much.

      As far as buying some flexibility for the draft, I’d argue prioritizing OL over DL in free agency actually gave them less flexibility. This draft class was pretty stout in tackles, which is not something you can say of drafts in the recent past. Locking in a couple pass rushers in free agency would have afforded them far more flexibility. They could have walked out of this draft with bookend tackles and be set for the next 4-5 years at a very expensive position. It wouldn’t bother me one bit to have rookies at RT and swing tackle in 2020, and maybe scour the 3rd wave of FA’s for a cheap veteran this summer.

      • Gaux Hawks

        what do people outside seattle feel about spending that much money on george fant?

        • AlaskaHawk

          It’s a good argument for developing rookies into starters. Much cheaper than paying for a good veteran tackle. My thoughts: who knew he was worth so much?

          • cha

            The Jets gave CJ Mosley something like 20% more money than the highest paid LB in the NFL. They’re not exactly a model to look at to correctly gauge a market.

  43. Bankhawk

    I reckon it’s well nigh impossible, but does anybody know his track record of personnel decions at GB (or wherever) well enough to detect his fingerprints on any of our newly acquired draftees? Even if only by hunch born out of similarity of styles?

    • Gohawks5151

      As a gut that has followed Miami Hurricane football since i was little, he is definitely a passionate alum like the rest. Took a couple guys from there in his Cleveland drafts. You can speculate on his influence in getting Deejay Dallas. South Florida ties so maybe Swain too. I think he also likes to dig for diamonds. Possibly some small school dudes. Valdez-Scantling in GB? A complete guess on that.

      • JimQ

        Gohawks5151: Since you appear to be a Miami fan, what do you think about this DL player? I’ll admit, I haven’t studied him much yet, but from what I have watched, he seems like a game wrecker/BAMF.

        DE/EDGE-Gregory Rousseau, Miami(Fla), 6-6/260 (he likely has some good length =?)
        2019: 13-games, 54-tkls, 34-solo, 19.5-TFL, 15.5-Sacks, 1-PBU, 7-QBH, 2-FF
        2018: 2-games, 6-tkls, 1-solo.
        Career: 15-games, 60-tkls, 35-solo, 19.5-TFL, 15.5-Sacks, 1-PBU, 7-QBH, 2-FF
        (Likely one of the top 10-20 picks, if he comes out, ideal size but only 1 season of production has to be
        of at least -some concern-, maybe he’s just a late bloomer? Not many DL’ers average over 1 TFL & 1 sack per game played, (although Rousseau basically played just the one year).
        Stats per

        • Gohawks5151

          Rousseau is a beast. I watch him and think he can be Jevon Kearse. He was a RS Freshman last year hence the only 1 year of full production and why he is eligible for next years draft. He has a lot going for him. His build is terrific and looks like he can add more. Great length and figuring out how to use it. Good speed down the line. Good quickness. Shows effort with late pursuit tackles and sacks. Back when reviewing some of the 2021 draftees Rob noted that he got many of his stats while on stunts from the interior and needs to work on his outside pass rush. I agree and think it will come. Again, last year was his first full season and you expect experience to accentuate his great talent. He could have an even better year with Quincy Roche transferring over. He is a beast too and maybe stand a better chance to be there when Seattle picks. Jalean Phillips could take a leap too. Former 5 star guy.

    • Logan Lynch

      Well, the most clear assumption I can make is with Demarious Randall. He was drafted by GB when Highsmith was there and traded to CLE after Alonzo took the job. John Dorsey was in KC when Randall was drafted by GB, so it seems Highsmith was the connection there.

      More assumptions here, but he was a senior personnel executive with GB 2012-2017. The later years he possibly had more influence due to experience. He might have had more influence on the pro side, but he was bought in as a draft consultant for SEA prior to the 2020 draft. Notable drafted names with GB his last few years.

      2017: Kevin King, Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones

      2016: Kenny Clark, Kyler Fackrell, Blake Martinez, Dean Lowry

      They also whiffed on some guys like Jason Spriggs, Josh Jones. He goes way back with Schneider and is part of the group with Dorsey, Reggie McKenzie, McCloughan, etc.

  44. JimQ

    A very tall, long, fast, quick, intense & a real ballhawk cornerback – should be of interest to JS/PC.

    CB-Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston State (FCS), 6-4/195, 4.40/40 (in High school).
    3-seasons, 9-INT, 2-pick-6’s, 1.5-sacks, 5.0-TFL, 4-FF & **39-PBU**.

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