Week Two Position Spotlight: Offensive Line


The Seattle Seahawks offensive line is bad. What else is new? The unit must improve in order for Seattle’s offense to succeed on Sunday. 

Our preseason euphoria about the offensive line quickly disappeared as the Dolphin’s defensive line reaffirmed our worst fears. We knew that this would be a tough matchup for the inexperienced offensive line, but no one expected them to be this bad.

Russell Wilson was running for his life all day long, especially after an ankle injury limited his mobility. They failed to control the line of scrimmage and generate any push, which is usually the strength of a Tom Cable offensive line. Luckily, there is definitely potential for improvement after the lackluster performance.

The interior line wasn’t terrible. Center Justin Britt has been exceptional at his new position. He was the best of Seattle’s five offensive linemen. Aside from some miscues, Mark Glowinski was fantastic; the second-year left guard delivered an encouraging performance.

On the other side, J’Marcus Webb was brought to Seattle to start at right tackle, but he lost the competition to Garry Gilliam. Instead, he became the starter at right guard after 1st round pick Germain Ifedi was scratched with an ankle injury. While it is a difficult task to stop Ndamukong Suh, one of the NFL’s premier interior pass rushers, Webb struggled. He was constantly pushed back and even allowed the sack that injured Wilson’s ankle. Germain Ifedi can’t get healthy soon enough.

The tackles, on the other hand, were absolutely atrocious. LT Bradley Sowell was awful. His current claim to fame is being the worst left tackle in the NFL in 2013, according to Pro Football Focus. Despite somehow winning the left tackle job out of camp, he seems on that track again this season. He was beaten by a Miami defensive lineman on almost every single play.

To add insult to injury, It seemed he’s learned a thing or two about drive killing penalties from his predecessor, Russell Okung. Sowell killed several promising drives with false starts and holding penalties. On the right side, trendy breakout candidate Garry Gilliam wasn’t much better.

After receiving a fair amount of hype based on his performance at the end of last year, he has regressed so far this season. While Denver and Carolina proved that you can go far with subpar offensive tackles, Russell Wilson might not last long against the elite defensive lines in the NFL.

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Speaking of elite defensive lines, Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn and Co are probably licking their chops watching that film, as they welcome the Seahawks to the Colosseum this Sunday. With J’Marcus Webb’s status in doubt, this spells disaster for Seattle, even without any shuffling.

If Webb is unable to go, Seattle will be faced with a difficult conundrum. Before Webb got the starting job, there were rumors of sliding center Justin Britt to right guard, while Joey Hunt takes over at center. Seattle could try that, or start Rees Odhiambo. Rumor has it that Seattle might go with Odhiambo anyway. Regardless, the right guard position is a massive liability for Seattle. 

The aforementioned Donald is a top three defensive player in the NFL. Despite his career renaissance, it’s doubtful that new center Justin Britt will be able to contain him. If they have to put a rookie center making his NFL debut in Donald’s path, and Russell Wilson’s day could get ugly fast. 

A major part of offensive line play is chemistry, especially in a zone blocking scheme. With all of Seattle’s offensive linemen being relatively young, it could be rough on their development if they were suddenly playing next to a new player next week.

Over the course of last season, the offensive line continually improved as the season moved forward. Hopefully, a similar result happens this season. For now, Seattle needs to put less pressure on the unit, especially with a banged up Russell Wilson. Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell can’t expect the group to be able to protect for more than 2-4 seconds, no matter how much they trust Tom Cable’s “magic touch”.  

Next: Random thoughts for Week 2 vs Rams

For now, the remedy lies in a quick passing game and help from other positions in pass protection. Russell Wilson’s production skyrocketed after Seattle implemented a quick passing approach last season to compensate for their underperforming offensive line. They may need to utilize a similar approach in order to protect Wilson and ensure offensive success on Sunday.