The national media continues to pound the table saying that the Seattle Seahawks still have a terrible offensive line and that they didn’t do enough to address it in the offseason. That is all you will hear from now until it isn’t true. While this may be true from the national level, I don’t think it accurately depicts the changes that have occurred to the offense.
The two biggest changes, which will probably have the biggest effect on the success of the offense, are switching to Brian Schottenheimer as the offensive coordinator and Mike Solari as the offensive line coach. The Seahawks also swapped Luke Joeckel for DJ Fluker as a starting guard, Paul Richardson for Jaron Brown at receiver, and Jimmy Graham for Ed Dickson at TE1.
The rest of the offense remains mostly intact.
In an effort to look at the current roster with perspective, without focusing on who is gone, I thought I would look at each position group and compare them to the same groups from the team as they entered the 2013 season. Here’s the post I already wrote about the defense.
I don’t want to look at Russell Wilson “the All-Pro,” but the pre-2013 Wilson who was coming off his first full season.
Russell Wilson is still Russell Wilson, but better; he has had upgrades. Prior to 2013, Wilson was coming off of a great rookie year. Since then though he has grown in experience and so has his skill and production. Seattle can expect a better QB going into 2018 compared to going into 2013.
Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin
I’m not going to bother with stats -- 2012 was a monster year for Lynch and going into the 2013 season there was no reason to believe that it would be any different than the year prior. Turbin was a competent backup, but never much more than that, except for the fingertip tackles and fumbles.
Going into 2018 the running back room is full of unknowns: Will Rashaad Penny live up to the first round selection? Can Chris Carson get back to the back that he appeared to be in a very small sample size? Can CJ Prosise stay healthy and contribute to both the passing and run games? With a whole offseason at the position, will JD McKissic develop into more of a complete back? Until we know these answers, there is no way to predict what this running back group is capable of. The ceiling is very high, but you can’t say that the floor isn’t just as low as last year.
Michael Robinson was the full back going into 2013 and he was the consummate pro and good at what he did.
One of Tre Madden, Khalid Hill or fill in the blank, will make the team as a fullback and the new offensive coordinator will use them.
The fullback is an unsung position in the NFL these days, but in the past, fullbacks were an integral part of the offense.
2013 (stats for 2012)
Zach Miller – 54 DYAR, 15th in DVOA
Luke Willson – Rookie
2018 (stats for 2017)
Ed Dickson – 83 DYAR, 10th in DVOA (Jimmy Graham – 9 DYAR, 28th in DVOA and Ed Dickson can and will block)
Will Dissly - Rookie
The tight end room going into 2013 was an aging Zach Miller and a new rookie. Going into 2018 it is very similar. Dickson is a consistent pass catcher and excellent blocker much like Miller. Dissly is built in a similar mold, unlike Willson.
2013 (stats for 2012)
Sidney Rice – 271 DYAR, 7th in DVOA
Golden Tate – 250 DYAR, 4th in DVOA
Doug Baldwin – 47 DYAR, 47th in DVOA
Jermaine Kearse – 116 DYAR
2018 (stats for 2017)
Doug Baldwin – 200 DYAR, 28th in DVOA
Tyler Lockett – 99 DYAR, 39th in DVOA
Jaron Brown – 6 DYAR, 71st in DVOA
Amara Darboh - -6 DYAR, bad in DVOA
The wide receiver room going into the 2013 season was solid. Sidney Rice would end up hurt, but Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin developed into a solid group duo with Jermaine Kearse fighting off others to become the fourth and eventually third wide receiver. Going into 2018 the wide receiving room is a large question, other than Baldwin. Will Tyler Lockett develop another year removed from injury? Will Brown improve with consistent QB play? Will Amara Darboh develop past being a fringe starter? I would love to be as high on this group as I am the running backs, but I am not. Right now they look very pedestrian and I am hoping they defy that label.
Russell Okung – 11 penalties
James Carpenter/John Mofitt/JR Sweezy
Breno Giacomini – 12 penalties
I am not a fan of any of the individual line grades, so this will be a very opinion based look at the two lines. Going into 2013, Russell Okung was playing at a Pro Bowl level, but heavily penalized. Breno Giacomini was a mob enforcer at right tackle and got penalized as such, but was very good at what he did. The guard spots were filled with a mixed bag of players that played overall at a replacement level. Max Unger had developed into a Pro Bowl center the year before.
The line going into 2018 has just as much promise, but with a bigger question, can Mike Solari get them to perform to their abilities? Duane Brown is a Pro Bowl left tackle. Germain Ifedi is often penalized, but has the physical tools of a Giacomini, but hasn’t put together a replacement level season yet. Ethan Pocic had a reasonable rookie season and shows promise as a guard moving forward. Fluker is a minus in pass pro, but a plus in run blocking, which should work well at right guard. Justin Britt has developed into a Pro Bowl-type center.
On paper, it is very easy to argue that this line is just as good as the line going into 2013, with more ceiling. Until they actual perform remotely close to their ability though, that is all it is, an argument.
The offense this year has just as much potential and arguably a higher ceiling than the offense going into 2013. The QB and TEs are better. The running back and line have all the potential in the world, but health and coaching have not been their friends as of recently. The receiving room is the thinnest and one has to hope that someone steps up and contributes at a higher level than is easily projected.
With all that in mind, there is a lot more hope for me when looking at the offense now and comparing it to the offense going into a Super Bowl-winning season.