Every conversation about the Seattle Seahawks in the offseason seemed to involve the offensive line. The drama around T.J. Lang, the strong push from fans to use any and all picks on offensive linemen, the signing of a high-profile free agent with a lot left to prove, the potential of the young guys who would be returning, the impending deal expiration for the center, the only guy who was a lock to come back to his job and start — the terms “Seahawks” and “offensive line” have been inseparable over the last few years and never for the good reasons.
On Sunday, the Seahawks defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 48-17, giving fans their first look at what could be the starting offensive line unit for 2017. The line from left to right was George Fant, Luke Joeckel, Justin Britt, Oday Aboushi, and Germain Ifedi. Seattle is hoping this is the best line the team has fielded in Wilson’s time with the Hawks, good enough to help bring them to Super Bowl LII.
In this week’s “Inside the Film” review, I took a closer look at how the Seahawks line did in protecting Wilson and opening lanes against the Chargers not-bad front seven in the opening drive.
Joeckel, formerly a number two overall pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, had never lived up to expectations but is looking to jump-start his career with the Hawks. Aboushi had started for both the Jets and Texans at times but had primarily been a backup that could play either guard spot in a pinch or potentially tackle if asked too.
Fant, an undrafted free agent in 2016, had secured a starting spot last season after Bradley Sowell got injured against the Cardinals. Ifedi was a first round draft pick who had played right guard as a rookie, without much praise for his results. Both players need to make big strides this year to give Russell Wilson a chance in the pocket, but first they need to win their respective jobs and Ifedi seems to be the one who is most in danger.
At center, Justin Britt is returning after a season in which he made the transition to center and seemed to have finally found his fit on the line, but he is set to be a free agent in 2018 and second round pick Ethan Pocic got some snaps there late on Sunday.
Who’d be pushing Ifedi for a job? Well, just about anyone. There’s always the possibility that Joeckel could swing out to tackle again, giving Mark Glowinski or Rees Odhiambo an opportunity to start at guard, or just switching with Ifedi. Pocic could also play tackle. And undrafted free agent Jordan Roos could be this year’s Fant.
We’ll just have to wait and see what happens this Friday against the Minnesota Vikings.