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Eddie Lacy’s bad day in New York

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

So far this offseason we’ve looked at every carry Seattle Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy had in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers, Week 4 against the Indianapolis Colts and Week 5 against the Los Angeles Rams.

In this piece I’m going to go through the carries he had in Week 7 against the New York Giants.

Carry 1: Week 7 against the New York Giants; 1st & 10 at the 49 with 13:39 to go in the 1st Quarter

The line blocks beautifully, and in spite of dancing hesitantly in the backfield Lacy gains five yards.

Carry 2: Week 7 against the New York Giants; 1st & 10 at the 10 with 8:39 to go in the 1st Quarter

How much bigger of a hole does Lacy need to run for more than three yards?

Carry 3: Week 7 against the New York Giants; 2nd & 7 at the 13 with 8:26 to go in the 1st Quarter

The blame for this play falls on Justin Britt. He was unable to control 98, who forced Lacy outside, otherwise there would have been a very nice running lane for Lacy between Britt and Oday Aboushi.

Carry 4: Week 7 against the New York Giants; 1st & 10 at the 26 with 7:04 to go in the 1st Quarter

The blocking by the front is very good here, and Lacy has stayed patient enough that he is able to side step the defender closest to him. After sidestepping, Lacy splits the defensive backs and goes for a gain of 12.

Carry 5: Week 7 against the New York Giants; 1st & 10 at the 30 with 6:05 to go in the 1st Quarter

This play perfectly illustrates the pitfall of inexperienced linemen. The player circled in red is second year lineman, first year starter Rees Odhiambo who is right behind Mark Glowinski just after the snap. The Odhiambo is blocking no one, while Glow is doing the exact opposite of what he should be doing. The knock on Glow was his lack of lateral mobility, which made him a liability in pass protection, as well as created bad matchups for him in run blocking. On this play Odhiambo appears to be doing what he is supposed to while Glow does not, and it leads to the ruin of the entire play.

This is why the team benched and then moved on from Glow. He was given a full season as a starter and then the following offseason to work on his issues, and he did not adequately address them. Thus, he found himself on the bench and then on the waiver wire. Unfortunately, now that the Hawks are set to go with more power blocking and less zone per John Schneider at the NFL Owners meeting in Orlando, Glow would have been a much better fit for the new scheme.

Carry 6: Week 7 against the New York Giants; 1st & 5 at the 5 with 2:59 to go in the 1st Quarter

After too much push from Glowinski on the last rushing attempt by Lacy, Glow fails to get any push on this attempt. Lacy still has a small crease, and he squeezes through for a gain of three yards.

Carry 7: Week 7 against the New York Giants; 2nd & 2 at the 2 with 2:43 to go in the 1st Quarter

This play is a disaster from the get go. Britt is out after suffering an ankle injury, so Ethan Pocic is at center and Glowinski is at left guard. The entire left side of the line is out of sorts, though that’s rendered irrelevant by the fact that Aboushi gets absolutely clowned and his man wraps up Lacy and takes him down for a three yard loss.

Carry 8: Week 7 against the New York Giants; 1st & 10 at the 30 with 2:39 to go in the 2nd Quarter

The blame for this one again falls on the line. It looks like there was either a communication error of some kind, as Odhiambo, Glow and Britt are triple teaming one guy, while Aboushi and the entire right side of the line are taking off in the other direction. This was shortly after Britt returned to the field after injuring his ankle, so maybe he was distracted by the pain or he was high on painkillers or something, but this certainly looks like an error by Britt to me. In any case, Lacy sidesteps the unblocked defender and gains three yards on the play.

Carry 9: Week 7 against the New York Giants; 2nd & 7 at the 33 with 2:25 to go in the 2nd Quarter

The playside blocking on this play is good, but that’s Aboushi on the backside not exactly doing his job. Lacy carries the ball outside off Odhiambo’s hip for a gain of three.

Carry 10: Week 7 against the New York Giants; 1st & 10 at the 50 with 11:34 to go in the 3rd Quarter

The blocking on this play is decent. Ifedi and Nick Vannett have double teamed Jason Pierre-Paul five yards into the defensive backfield and Luke Willson has Eli Apple (24) sealed off at the edge. Unfortunately, Aboushi got destroyed at the point of attack, and that’s him circled and on his butt in the middle of the mess or players at midfield.

Carry 11: Week 7 against the New York Giants; 1st & 10 at the 33 with 5:17 to go in the 3rd Quarter

This is two separate angles of roughly the same point of the play. The line blocks well and Lacy has two different lanes to choose from. He takes the outside lane to his right, and slides inside Apple (24) for a gain of four. What I want to highlight here, however, is that both pictures are of Lacy at the point of his third step. As I’ve noted here several times, in a zone scheme, the third step is when a running back should commit and go. On this play, Lacy’s third step is a complete jump stop, followed by a change in direction. This simply is not the way a running back should run within the system the Hawks were running in 2017, and helps explain why the Hawks largely went away from Lacy following this game.

In this game we saw how injuries hurt the offensive line and its performance, and also how Aboushi had a rough homecoming. Aboushi was born in Brooklyn and played his high school football at Xaverian High School in Bay Ridge, for those who are familiar with the area. For anyone who had doubts about what in season continuity means for an offensive line, of the games reviewed to this point, this was by far the worst in terms of assignment execution by the offensive line, and not coincidentally it would seem, also happened to be the first game Seattle played after Luke Joeckel’s follow up operation on his knee. Add in Britt missing a half dozen snaps after spraining his ankle, and it’s easy to see how quickly things deteriorated.

In any case, this game was a harsh reminder of what an extremely inexperienced line looks like because for the few plays where Britt was out Glowinski was the lineman on the field who had the most experience within the Seattle system and the most playing time for the Seahawks. (Author’s note: Aboushi had more overall game experience, but most of his experience came during his years with the New York Jets and the Houston Texans.)

So, another year of experience and more practice reps for Seattle’s young line will hopefully lead to a better on field performance in 2018.