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Seahawks near the top for allowing instant pressure

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Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

As we’ve noted here at Field Gulls multiple times in recent months, the fanfare surrounding the offensive line of the Seattle Seahawks heading into the 2019 season was great. Earlier in the offseason left tackle Duane Brown had opined that the Seattle line had the potential to possibly be the best in the NFL, however, that has not exactly worked out.

Between injuries that led to missed time for every starter not named Germain Ifedi, a schedule that has included several of the best pass rushing defensive fronts in football and predictable playcalling, the Seahawks find themselves near the bottom of the league in one offensive line metric that is less than flattering.

Entering Week 15 Russell Wilson is tied with Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Miami Dolphins for the most dropbacks on which they have faced pressure in two seconds or less. It is, of course, noteworthy that Fitzpatrick has only started ten of the Dolphins thirteen games, as Josh Rosen started a handful of games as well. Thus, looking at these numbers as a percentage of dropbacks (pass attempts + sacks + scrambles) yields a picture that is not quite as ugly for the Seahawks line.

Instant pressure percentage for QBs in 2019

Quarterback Instant Pressures (2.0s or less) Dropbacks (Pass Attempts + Sacks + Scrambles) Instant pressure percentage
Quarterback Instant Pressures (2.0s or less) Dropbacks (Pass Attempts + Sacks + Scrambles) Instant pressure percentage
Ryan Fitzpatrick 79 430 18.37%
Russell Wilson 79 496 15.93%
Matt Ryan 69 536 12.87%
Philip Rivers 54 500 10.80%
Josh Allen 56 479 11.69%
Jameis Winston 54 581 9.29%
Tom Brady 53 548 9.67%
Fewest Instant Pressures N/A N/A N/A
Dak Prescott 32 531 6.03%
Aaron Rodgers 32 496 6.45%
Derek Carr 30 434 6.91%

Now, Russell is no stranger to instant pressure, as the young and inexperienced lines behind which he played from 2015 through 2017 often allowed significant instant pressure. However, at least there was hope with those lines, as they were younger players still learning how to play. Nobody expected George Fant to step in as a rookie and be an All Pro, and he was certainly far from it. However, the 2019 Seahawks are allowing this amount of instant pressure behind one of the most experienced offensive lines in the league.

The current starting group of linemen - Duane Brown, Mike Iupati, Joey Hunt, D.J. Fluker and Germain Ifedi - represent the third most experienced group of starting offensive linemen for any team in the NFL, as measured by games started. Prior to Justin Britt going down it was the second most experienced unit, and yet it is allowing pressure at a rate that is second only to the fish tank of the Miami Dolphins, a team in the bottom five in terms of offensive line experience. (Author’s note: 37% of the Dolphins starting experience on the offensive line comes from Seahawks fan favorite, J’Marcus Webb, so take starting experience for what it’s worth. It’s a measure of time played, not a measure of player quality.)

So, while the Hawks would seem wise to prioritize protecting the quarterback who is the highest paid player in the NFL, at this point there doesn’t seem to be a lot of evidence that the team is doing that. Hopefully, that changes as things move forward.