As the 2020 season drew to a close, the Seahawks offensive line was an area of concern on the minds of 12s all around. The worries were amplified in early March when Russell Wilson stepped into the spotlight and asked for more help than he has had in the past. Rumors, of course, swirled. Would Russell Wilson be traded?
There came a flurry of jersey swaps across social media platforms, and the buzz continued until Russell Wilson showed off his approval of the Seahawks offseason moves via Twitter. At this point, fans of rival teams finally began to give up hope of a Wilson trade in 2020.
Even though we know now that Wilson won’t be moved (at least this offseason), we should still be paying very close attention to the offensive line as a unit in 2021. It will be on their shoulders to deliver the help that Russell Wilson came out and asked for, and I believe they can successfully deliver that help. Here’s why.
3 reasons the Seahawks offensive line will improve in 2021
Improvement in the play of Damien Lewis
In 2020, we saw how much talent Damien Lewis had and his strong potential. This was after an offseason where the team couldn’t practice together. After spending this summer working with the other members of the line, Lewis will step out as a top-5 second-year guard. I’m curious to watch his transition to left guard, and I hope that Duane Brown is able to help him on that side. I am confident, though, that Lewis will step up big time in his play this year, strengthening the line as a whole.
Addition of Gabe Jackson
Gabe Jackson will be the biggest change in the offensive line in 2021. In fact, the other 4 linemen will be returning from 2020. Jackson certainly has the potential to play very strongly, the same way he did in 2015-2016. The Seahawks sure think the same way, since they gave him a three-year extension after acquiring him.
Because Jackson will play right guard (and Lewis will move to left guard), the line will be more consistent than it was last year. Left guard was played often by Mike Iupati or Jordan Simmons in 2020, but Damien Lewis should be injury-free, and he will fill the spot because of the signing of Gabe Jackson.
Shane Waldron Offensive Scheme
Thirdly, and I believe most importantly, the Seahawks brought Shane Waldron in to coordinate the offense. In 2020, Russell Wilson had the 5th-longest time to throw in 2020, at 2.97 seconds. In Waldron’s scheme, plays should be drawn up to get receivers open quickly, meaning the time to throw should be driven down. I expect Wilson to be a top-10 quarterback in this metric in 2021.
This means, obviously, the line will have to hold up for less time on each play, making them more successful in preventing QB hits and sacks. As far as run-blocking goes, I am excited to see the Seahawks’ run scheme, as it is a part of Waldron’s playbook we haven’t been exposed to yet. The addition of Waldron will make the offense more efficient in 2021.
Seattle’s offensive line will be better in 2021. The improvement will come in a variety of ways, but these are the 3 that will make the most impact. Damien Lewis will step up in a big way and be this team’s second-best offensive lineman. Gabe Jackson will bring continuity to the line it didn’t have in 2020.
And Shane Waldron will design the offense so that the line will be more efficient in protecting the passer. With these improvements, the hate for the line will finally end and this offense should remain at dangerous levels of production.