Breaking news out of Seattle where several reports indicate that the Seahawks offensive line is not good.
The Seattle Seahawks are definitely in a spot of trouble with their offensive line as the playoffs approach, with many people saying that they simply can’t win a Super Bowl with these guys protecting Russell Wilson or Steven Terrell playing safety. My first response to that would be: Don’t be an irrational silly person. The Seahawks can win a Super Bowl, because of Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner, Cliff Avril and etc. and so forth and so on.
Not that it will be easy.
Consider this post to be more of a discussion series by you rather than me telling you what I think though. I was reading something interesting on PFF this morning (just skip the grades and you’ll be fine) as they evaluated all 31 first round rookies. The last of those rookies is Seattle guard Germain Ifedi. What they had to say about him:
Germain Ifedi has been one of the league’s worst offensive linemen in his rookie season, playing guard on a team that seems stacked with them. He has surrendered 38 total QB pressures (tied for fourth-most among guards), despite playing only 12 games, and been flagged eight times. His run blocking has at least been passable, but his pass protection needs to improve immeasurably for him to be a viable starter.
I’m not sure what they mean about the Seahawks being “stacked” with guards, other than to say that they don’t have any viable tackles. Mark Glowinski hasn’t played that great, Rees Odhiambo hasn’t been able to beat out anyone for a job, and they released Jahri Evans before the season. Unless they mean stacked with “worst offensive linemen in the league” in which case ... yeah.
PFF also marks Ifedi with eight penalties, whereas ProFootballReference says he has seven and NFLPenalties.com says he has five. I tend to believe PFR above all, and seven seems fair: Six false starts (one negated by a bigger penalty) and one Unsportsmanlike that came against the tie vs the Arizona Cardinals.
Either way, Ifedi (and Bradley Sowell and Mark Glowinski and George Fant) have been penalized far too often. Seattle is second in the NFL with 25 false starts, three fewer than the Kansas City Chiefs. They are middle of the road with 19 holding penalties, but perhaps they should try and get a few more in order to keep Wilson off the turf.
How many of the QB pressures come from Wilson holding onto the ball for too long or scrambling into a defender? I have no idea and neither does anyone reading this I assume, but I don’t think that it should have that dramatic of an effect on the results because every offensive lineman has a different set of obstacles with which to overcome. When a single offensive lineman allows three QB pressures per game and has a false start every other game, just imagine the impact that four offensive linemen of similar caliber have on an offense. It’s clear that there is Justin Britt and then everyone else at this point.
But is Ifedi the worst guard in the entire league? I don’t think I have enough information to give a right answer to that, but concerns are warranted. It’s perhaps even tougher to swallow knowing that Ronnie Stanley, Taylor Decker, Laremy Tunsil, and especially Jack Conklin are playing so well. These players may have been drafted outside of the Seahawks’ range but it was a great year for offensive tackles and so far Seattle has wound up with a bad guard.
Is there hope for Ifedi in the future? (Of course there has to be some, right? Offensive line is usually difficult to adjust to as a rookie.) Is it time to scrap his run at guard and see if there’s something salvageable at tackle? (Not immediately, since that would be too dramatic just before the playoffs start.) How does Seattle begin to fix their offensive line in 2017 without hurting any progress they may have made chemistry-wise this season?
I open the floor to you.