Former offensive line coach Tom Cable’s firing from the Seattle Seahawks last offseason was met with roaring approval. Over seven seasons, Cable proved himself to be one of the worst position coaches in the NFL, if not the worst.
Cable’s replacement in Seattle, Mike Solari, quickly became a favorite of Seahawks fans who were starved for competent line play. And to begin the season, Seattle received that level of play and more, at one point ranking as the most efficient offensive line in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.
However, in November, the Seahawks offensive line of old appeared to return. Russell Wilson was sacked 13 times in November, five more times than he was sacked in weeks 3-8. In December, Wilson was sacked 17 times, including six during Sunday’s victory over the Cardinals. In total, Wilson was sacked 51 times in 2018, topping his previous career high of 45, in 2015. The 51 times Wilson was sacked places him in a tie for third most in the NFL this season, alongside Derek Carr—who, that’s right, was playing behind a line coached by Cable.
(Some good news sprinkled into your Victory Monday: Wilson’s previous single season high was 45 sacks, which came in 2015. Wilson broke his single season high for touchdowns and passer rating this season, both of which were previously set in 2015.)
Now of course, it wasn’t all bad for Solari’s debut season as Seattle’s offensive line coach. While they entered Week 17 as the 29th ranked line in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate, they were 12th in run blocking. To Pete Carroll and a run first team, that’s likely viewed as a success.
The Seahawks will now turn their focus to the Dallas Cowboys, who, in a switch in identity in 2018, have been led by their defense all season. Wilson will need better protection against a defensive front led by DeMarcus Lawrence, if Seattle is to get back on track following Week 17’s mess, and advance to the divisional round.