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Are the Seahawks playing their guards on the wrong side of the offensive line?

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Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

On paper, the Seahawks’ decision to move Damien Lewis to left guard so they could play recently-acquired Gabe Jackson at Right Guard made a certain amount of sense.

Sure, there was some concern about taking a second-year player and moving him to the other side of the line, but that was largely offset by the fact that Jackson hadn’t played left guard since 2015 (his second year in the league) and the idea that Lewis would benefit from having the ageless Duane Brown flanking him at left tackle.

Nine games into the 2021 season, the decision regarding Seattle’s starting guards is perhaps deserving of another look.


The season as a whole

Because I know everyone loves them (wink), here are the PFF rankings for Lewis and Jackson through Week 10:

  • Run blocking: Lewis, 69 | Jackson, T-70
  • Pass blocking: Jackson 34 | Lewis 92
  • Overall: Jackson 46 | Lewis 83

And here are their pressure stats:

  • Lewis: 1 sack; 5 hits; 10 hurries; 16 total pressures on 421 offensive snaps
  • Jackson: 0 sacks; 0 hits; 18 hurries; 18 total pressures on 520 offensive snaps

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For comparison, here are each player’s rankings and pressure stats last year:

Lewis: #8 run-blocking; #95 pass-blocking; T-22 overall ... 3 sacks; 2 hits; 23 hurries; 28 total pressures on 967 offensive snaps

Jackson: #81 run-blocking; #31 pass-blocking; #52 overall ... 0 sacks; 2 hits; 24 hurries; 26 total pressures on 1,062 offensive snaps

__________

Normally, I am not a fan of comparing league rankings between different seasons, but I am going to make an exception in this case because .... well ... take a look.

Damien Lewis

  • Run-blocking: Down 61 spots
  • Pass-blocking: Up 3
  • Overall: Down 61

Gabe Jackson

  • Run-blocking: Up 11 spots
  • Pass-blocking: Down 3
  • Overall: Up 6

__________

Pressure stats, on the other hand .... I don’t mind comparing those season-over-season. In fact, I usually enjoy it.

Damien Lewis

2020: 322.3 snaps per sack | 483.5 snaps per hit | 42.0 snaps per hurry | 34.5 snaps per pressure

2021: 1 sack on 421 snaps | 84.2 snaps per hit | 42.1 snaps per hurry | 26.3 snaps per pressure

Gabe Jackson

2020: 0 sacks on 1,062 snaps (wow!) | 531 snaps per hit | 44.3 snaps per hurry | 40.8 snaps per pressure

2021: 0 sacks and 0 hits on 520 snaps (wow! squared) | 28.9 snaps per hurry (and per pressure)


Recency bias

Everything up to this point has been season-as-a-whole. Now we’ll dig into the individual games a little bit.

Damien Lewis

Game Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures
Game Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures
IND 0 2 1 3
TEN 0 0 0 0
MIN 0 1 1 2
SF 0 1 0 1
LAR 0 0 1 1
PIT 1 0 0 1
NO DNP DNP DNP DNP
JAX 0 0 2 2
GB 0 1 5 6

Gabe Jackson

Game Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures
Game Sacks Hits Hurries Pressures
IND 0 0 2 2
TEN 0 0 3 3
MIN 0 0 1 1
SF 0 0 0 0
LAR 0 0 4 4
PIT 0 0 0 0
NO 0 0 1 1
JAX 0 0 0 0
GB 0 0 7 7

What stands out to you?

To me, it’s the fact that both of Seattle’s guards had their worst game of the season last Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Through the first 8 games, Gabe Jackson had given up 11 total pressures. Against the Packers, he surrendered 7.

And Damien Lewis ... poor, poor Damien Lewis ...

Before Sunday, Lewis had allowed 1 sack, 4 hits, 5 hurries, and 10 total pressures. On the frozen tundra, he surrendered 1 hit, 5 hurries, and 6 total pressures.

Technically, he might have had a better game than Jackson.

Were it not for one play ...

And the ridiculousness that followed it.


Final thoughts

It would be rash (and short-sighted) to make a change on the O-line based on one really, really, really bad game by Seattle’s guards.

And it’s hard to argue for moving Gabe Jackson from right guard to left Guard when he’s been a bona fide stud (except for last Sunday) and has yet to give up a sack or a quarterback hit this season.

And yet ...

I can’t help but wonder what the o-line would look like with Lewis back on the right side and Jackson on the left.