Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, time is short for Seahawks Grades articles this week and next due to a long overdue vacation. If you missed last weeks posts, we graded the entire offensive line against the New England Patriots. Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2. Now for this weeks entry, we’re taking another look at the situation at left tackle.
The Seattle Seahawks have gone from starting journeyman Bradley Sowell at left tackle to undrafted free agent rookie George Fant, who we have covered extensively the past month. Sowell apparently was healthy enough to play a couple weeks ago, and just this last week Tom Cable said Fant is now the starter and Sowell is competing for snaps at right tackle. Well interestingly enough, Sowell and J’Marcus Webb were inactive against the Philadelphia Eagles, and the team released Webb on Tuesday. This left the Seahawks with only two offensive tackles on the roster with game experience, Fant and Garry Gilliam, and rookie Rees Odhiambo active for only the second time this year (he was also active Week 2 vs LA Rams) as the backup swing tackle.
This tells me a few things.
- Odhiambo has continued to make progress and the coaches are comfortable with him if he has to play.
- Webb was obviously in the dog house.
- Sowell didn’t lose his job, again, the rookies are just stepping up and taking it away from him.
Odhiambo was drafted in the third round this year out of Boise State and is originally from Kenya. (He actually has a pretty amazing back story.) At 6’4” and 315 pounds, he’s not the explosive athlete that Germain Ifedi is, but is the typical Seattle draft pick that has persevered through adversity and produced in college earning All-Conference honors twice.
Although he does have an injury history, it was a temporary injury to starter Fant that thrust Odhiambo into his first NFL action during the second quarter against the Eagles, which probably made every Seahawks fan worried for Russell Wilson’s life.
He only had a limited amount of snaps since Fant was able to return, but let’s see if we can get a glimpse into what Seattle has in their new swing tackle. Here’s the play breakdown.
Here’s the play by play.
Play 1: Thomas Rawls left tackle for three yards
First play of the game for Odhiambo and he starts off well. Gets good push and moves Connor Barwin back about five yards. Rawls misses it, but if he cuts back inside he just has to beat the safety for a touchdown.
Play 2: Rawls left guard for one yard
Second play, and its a designed cut back to the left side again. Odhiambo does a good job washing the DT down the line. Only thing he could have done better is gotten inside the DTs shoulder to be able to control him better.
Play 3: Pass to Tyler Lockett for 27 yards - OPI on Jermaine Kearse
Here Rees shows great technique and something I haven’t noticed in any other of our offensive lineman yet. Watch his feet (its not as noticeable in the gif as it is on film). Did you play basketball growing up? Remember the drill where the coach makes you move your feet while you’re in your defensive stance? Well that’s pretty much what he did right there and it is not common. Amazing job keeping his feet moving, keeps him patient while he’s waiting for Barwin to make a move so he’s able to easily counter it. It’s the little things.
Play 4: Pass incomplete to Doug Baldwin - defensive offsides
Here Odhiambo has a fail, but it’s something that Fant has just recently started to pick up and it isn’t easy. Barwin fakes the outside rush and then stunts over the top of the DT. Odhiambo doesn’t recognize it and chases Barwin. Luckily Mark Glowinski stays with the DT and CJ Prosise picks up Barwin. (Unluckily: The fate of CJ Prosise :( ) Good job keeping the RB on the left to help the rookie out.
Play 5: Pass deep left to Jimmy Graham - TD
This is the kind of play that Fant has had trouble with, but has consistently gotten better at it every week. When the defender gets the edge on the LT, the LT has to stay engaged with the hands on the inside shoulder, turn his hips upfield, and run the defender deep past the pocket. Odhiambo does exactly that. Only thing is that he didn’t get very wide on his kick slide, but his footwork is good. He almost stops his feet but keeps Barwin outside of the pocket, creating a lane for Wilson to utilize to find Graham.
Play 6: Pass deep left to Lockett for 30 yards
Play action, makes it easy for the entire offensive line as Wilson fakes the hand off and takes a deep drop. Odhiambo does a good job blocking down on the DT and then staying engaged. Lockett was lucky he stepped out of bounds, otherwise it would have been a touchback and Philly ball at the 20.
Play 7: Rawls up the middle for no gain
First of all, I’m fine with this play call. Jimmy Graham is split wide left, one on one vs. a defensive back. MISMATCH. The play is designed to either have seven in the box, or one on one isolation on Graham. Here I think Wilson just missed it, and should have audibled to a fade to Graham. The Eagles had eight in the box against six blockers. Odhiambo gets in good position, engages but doesn’t lock in. He just hits Barwin so it makes it easy for him to disengage.
Play 8: Pass incomplete - throw away
Play action on the goal line is tough to do, especially when it’s not even a well designed one, as you can see the backside DE not biting and putting immediate pressure on Wilson. I’m not against play action here, but I think a bootleg would be more effective or just go with a straight sprint out if you are trying to get Wilson outside of the pocket. Here Odhiambo does a good job and Glowinski helps him.
Play 9: Pass incomplete short middle to Kearse
I’m not against targeting Kearse in the redzone, I just don’t think he should be targeted before Graham or Baldwin. Why not run the slant to Graham? Anyone remember how many times the Hawks would run a slant to Zach Miller on the goal line? I do, and I’m surprised they don’t just try it once with Graham. Here Odhiambo gives up some ground and is a bit too upright as he lets Barwin get into his body. It’s a quick throw and there’s still a pocket so it’s inconsequential.
In Rees Odhiambo’s first NFL action, he earned a 67% Field Gulls grade. Which after starting to do a good number of these, is probably right around in the realm of average. The only problem is the small sample size. 78% of the time he did his job, as he only had one stalemate and one fail. That’s consistent and pretty impressive for a rookie getting his first playing time against one of the best defensive lines in the league.
- Right as soon as Odhiambo comes in, Darrell Bevell called plays to his side right away, not afraid of the rookie being at the point of attack. This shows confidence in him. Notice in Fant’s debut they mostly went away from him until he started getting comfortable.
- Comparing to Fant, Odhiambo clearly has much better technique, however, I don’t think he shows the big upside that Fant does, due to his athletic profile. I think he can easily become an average starter in the NFL, and I’m actually quite surprised he’s been so far down the depth chart until now. His development is a big reason why J’Marcus Webb was just released to make room for a running back, rather than a guy like Brandon Williams who is the fourth tight end.
- I’d like to take a closer look at how Gilliam performed against the Eagles. Last week Cable said Sowell is now competing with him at right tackle. I’d like to see Odhiambo in that competition instead of Sowell. I honestly think Odhiambo would provide at least the same level of play as Sowell, and since he’s under club control, get him the experience.
Odhiambo is clearly in the future plans and it appears that he has already leapfrogged the two veteran free agent additions on the depth chart. He’ll likely remain as the backup swing tackle for the rest of this season. However, going forward it’s a bit more difficult trying to figure out where the team thinks he could find a starting role.
There are the four main players (not including next year’s draft picks) that can play tackle.
- George Fant - 6’5” 296 lb, 34.5” arms
- Germain Ifedi - 6’6” 324 lb, 36” arms
- Garry Gilliam - 6’6” 305 lb, 34.5” arms
- Rees Odhiambo - 6’4” 314 lb, 33.25” arms
I think Fant is now the cornerstone left tackle. I think Gilliam needs to turn it around and be more consistent the rest of the year to have a legit shot at keeping his spot at right tackle next year. If he continues to struggle, I can definitely see the coaches opening up competition at right tackle between Ifedi, Gilliam and Odhiambo. The coaches probably want to keep Ifedi at right guard, but he has the best frame for right tackle and the athleticism to match. If Odhiambo is going to start next year, I think his best bet is at right guard, meaning Ifedi takes over at right tackle. Here his arms won’t be an issue, whereas at tackle, they’re a little short but not by much.
Some people will think that Odhiambo could slide in at left guard, and move Mark Glowinski back to right guard, where he played in 2015. Yes, that’s a possibility, but I think the team would prefer to keep Glowinski at left guard. Something special is starting to develop on the left side of line, with Fant, Glowinski and Britt starting to develop chemistry with each other. Glowinski with Britt is a great combo, and with Fant being so new to the position of left tackle, it’s in his best interest to keep Glowinski next to him so they can grow together. The right side of the line has tremendous upside, but needs a long term answer at right tackle, and sliding Odhiambo at right guard might be the best opportunity to provide that answer.
What I’d like to see next year: Seattle drafts Garett Bolles out of Utah in the first round (6’5” 300 lbs, with length). Rob Staton has in-depth analysis on him here. If they draft him, the nasty offensive line would be complete, and they would be back to being bullies again. This would leave Odhiambo to be the backup swing tackle, which he can do and spot start in a pinch. Although, if the team sees him as a starter moving forward, that would free up their pick in the first round to trade down or do whatever they want with it. The development of him and Fant are going to do wonders for the possibilities of what John Schneider can do in next year’s draft.
A penny for my thoughts...
Do you want to know what John Schneider, Pete Carroll and Tom Cable were thinking by signing two of the worst offensive line free agents in Sowell and Webb? They were adding a low cost insurance plan to be a stop gap while they got the rookies (Ifedi/Odhiambo/Fant) to a place that they were comfortable with to play them. It was a GIANT gamble, but it’s one that is paying off huge dividends. Schneider swings for the fences, and it looks like he may have hit a few more home runs, and for once it’s along the offensive line.
You can’t not be pleased with where Ifedi, Odhiambo, and Fant are at given their experience level and draft status.
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See Hawks Run See Hawks Fly See Hawks PlayNai-post ni Field Gulls: For Seattle Seahawks News and Analysis noong Miyerkules, Nobyembre 23, 2016