The two best post-Zimmerman NFL writers have both devoted columns in whole or in part to what a mess the Seahawks are, yay. Barnwell:
The Seahawks were FPI’s preseason favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl; now, they’re fourth in their own conference. Seattle’s biggest problem, of course, is the same as it has been for years: Its offensive line is truly atrocious. I can prove this to you with statistics, but sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words:
[Gif of the Titans getting near-instantaneous penetration of most of their front 7 with a 3-man rush. And you thought I was joking!]
It’s one thing when the Seahawks were throwing out undrafted free agents and expecting them to contribute, but this is worse. General manager John Schneider has used high draft picks and spent money in free agency on linemen and this unit might actually be worse. Tom Cable described Luke Joeckel as one of the best left guards in football before suffering an injury last year after the Seahawks gave him a one-year, $8 million deal. Joeckel has been every bit as bad as he was in Jacksonville. Right tackle Germain Ifedi, the team’s 2016 first-round pick, looks like he’s playing the position for the first time a half-dozen times per game. The Seahawks already made a change at right guard in replacing Mark Glowinski with Oday Aboushi. Left tackle Rees Odhiambo hasn’t been good in replacing George Fant, who was supposed to be the team’s breakout lineman, but when your offensive line is irreparably broken because you lost a guy who was one of the league’s worst left tackles last season, you didn’t have a line to begin with.
I’m grateful for the pushback against the idea that the Fant injury was the bad luck that caused the line to disravel this year, given that Fant was 1)a college basketball player who 2)was predictably rather awful last year. It’s kind of amazing how Carroll and Cable are still able to sell the local media on the idea that Cable can turn anyone into a competent lineman despite the conclusive counter-evidence. It’s also worth noting that the scouting consensus was that Ifedi was a massive reach at #31 overall and was the run-blocking specialist the Seahawks didn’t need, and this has proven accurate except that he doesn’t seem to be able to run block at the NFL level either.
Early in the Titans loss, two Seahawks linemen were called for three different penalties on one play—and Russell Wilson still had to scramble to avoid a sack. Later, a line-wide attempt at cut blocking resulted in multiple Seahawks lying on the turf while the entire line converged on Wilson, who fumbled the snap and dove forward for a loss of yardage.
The Seahawks line’s Pro Football Focus grades are so low they look like gymnastics scores. The line ranks 24th in run blocking, according to Football Outsiders, and a surprising 14th in Adjusted Sack Rate, with the caveats that a) Wilson’s mobility skews their sack totals, and b) there are so many putrid lines in the NFL that the Seahawks don’t really stand out like they used to. According to Sports Info Solutions (via Football Outsiders Premium), Wilson has been pressured on 42.3 percent of drops, the highest rate in the NFL.
The rearrangement of the Titanic deck chairs has already begun, with Oday Aboushi swapping in for Mark Glowinski at right guard, to little avail. The line has gone from cracked foundation in 2014 to sinkhole this year; history tells us this problem won’t be solved by shuffling the depth chart.
As both gentlemen discuss, the Seahawks defense has also been disappointing, although much of this comes back to the offense — in both the Packers and Titans games the defense started out very strong against tough competition on the road and wore down, which isn’t surprising given that they’re on the field roughly 27 minutes a half. Anyway, a game against the Colts can’t show that they’re back but it could prove that it’s over. And while I like making Tom Cable jokes more than the next guy it ultimately hangs on Carroll and Schneider, who keep giving egregiously substandard personnel to a generic-at-best offensive line coach and hoping he’ll turn into Dante Scarnecchia. Amazing that it’s not working!
While I’m here, how about a shoutout to Mr. Adam Gase? It’s pretty hard to top getting the crap beaten out of you by the Jets, but I’d say somehow getting shut out by the perennial worst defense in the league does it. I’ve made fun of Bill O’Brien getting the reputation as a QUARTERBACK GURU because an already-established inner-circle Hall of Fame QB played well when he was in Foxborough, but I’m even more mystified by how Gase became a red-hot head coaching prospect by 1)holding a tablet while Peyton Manning ran the offense in Denver and 2)getting a 104 relative QB rating about of Jay Cutler, who was coming off seasons of 103, 100 and 103. After lucking into the playoffs with a below-average team last year, this seems to be turning into a pumpkin really quickly — the Fish are a serious threat to finish last in a division with the Jets and Bills, which is impressive in its own way.