This is what I like to do. It pulls terrible readership numbers, but this is what I like to do: watch the tape, report the facts, show the evidence and make a well-researched argument.
I will save most of my commentary for the conclusion. Ethan Pocic is a free agent. He gets hurt a ton. But in 10 starts to end the season Pocic played 100% of the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive snaps 9 times, and 98% once. His tendency toward injury is surely priced into whatever contract he signs. A one-year deal is likely. He played on a one-year deal last year. That, in part, led to 7 disastrous weeks of Kyle Fuller starting. But we shouldn’t forget the other two parts: signing Fuller in the first place, and B.J. Finney’s million dollars of dead cap.
Time limits me to evaluating only one game, but this method has never steered me wrong. Let’s get to it.
(15:00) R.Wilson pass incomplete deep left to D.Metcalf.
I love run blocking as pass blocking.
Pocic is matched against Rashard Lawrence. Lawrence was considered a decent run stuffing tackle coming out of LSU. He’s adequate in size but with long arms and big hands. He slipped into the 4th in part because of injury concerns. He’s been injured as a pro. Funny life’s little symmetries.
Pocic controls him snap to pass. He’s under him, pushes him back and he keeps him square. The blocking overall is mostly effective. Damien Lewis loses his man pretty quickly. Colby guts it out. Jake Curhan is left chasing his defender. And Mr Execution himself (in the same way Don Rickles was Mr Warmth), Gerald Everett, does whatever we’d call that. Wildin? Admittedly, it’s a tough assignment, but holy smokes.
The blown block forces the rushed pass. But it’s errant because 2021 Wilson, right?
Wilson’s completion percentage over expected:
5.9% (best in the NFL over that span and a full 1.4% higher than second place, Peyton Manning)
Wilson also finished 9th in bad pass percentage after finishing 23rd in 2020. He was less accurate overall and much more prone to flinging it wildly.
(14:55) (Shotgun) R.Wilson sacked at SEA 16 for -9 yards (C.Jones). FUMBLES (C.Jones) [C.Jones], RECOVERED by ARI-Z.Allen at SEA 16. Z.Allen for 16 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
This is a clusterf—k. Pocic plays a part in said clusterf—k.
Lewis oversets to the left. He’s pretty much instantly beat by Lawrence. Pocic is late to pick up his teammate but he gets there. For a second crisis is averted. But then Penny like a damn n00b smashes into Pocic causing Pocic to fall and Lewis to lose the block. Lawrence breaking free panics Wilson. Just as he’s mounting his rickety nag to relive his glory days of scrambling, Chandler Jones, yes Chandler freakin’ Jones, arrives unblocked from the right. Strip. Sack. Touchdown.
The sideline camera reveals nothing. Let’s look at it.
Someone deserves blame for Jones flying in untouched. Maybe Pocic. Tyler Lockett is open. Quick pass and that’s a good gain. Wilson looks off Lockett to look at Metcalf. After that, bedlam.
Penny fells Pocic. He also doesn’t have the sense to run away from coverage. Seattle would’ve been better off if Penny Jim Marshall’d this one from the snap. (and, incidentally, if Metcalf stopped throwing a fit when he’s not targeted.)
Wilson should’ve eaten it. He should’ve trusted his first read. Instead Arizona scores six on a strip sack sadly characteristic of Russell Wilson.
(14:48) R.Penny up the middle to SEA 29 for 4 yards (I.Simmons).
Pocic combines with Gabe Jackson to put Leki Fotu on skates. Po’ peels off and blocks inside linebacker Jordan Hicks keeping him out of the play. Duane Brown and Lewis bore a hole for Penny with an awesome combo block on the left.
(14:24) (No Huddle) R.Penny left tackle to SEA 49 for 20 yards (K.Peterson, J.Thompson).
Kinda perfect. Pocic doubles Fotu and skillfully pivots to wall him out of the left B gap while Lewis releases. Check out Jackson battering two guys. Lewis gets lost looking for someone to block. DK is able to achieve the barest of blocks through sheer athleticism. Kind of looks like an aborted swipe.
I’m thrilled to report that this is yet another zone run working really well.
(13:47) (Shotgun) R.Penny up the middle to ARI 45 for 6 yards (C.Peters).
Pocic initially wins and gets good lateral movement of Corey Peters but Peters separates enough to arm tackle Penny into Curhan’s back. Jackson lands a solid second-level block on Hicks.
(13:14) (No Huddle) R.Wilson pass short left to C.Parkinson to ARI 43 for 2 yards (J.Thompson).
Pocic plays well enough in the big scrum in the middle. Curhan’s beat by Jones. Isaiah Simmons squirms past Duane Brown. Zach Allen pressures from the left. Maybe Everett’s supposed to chip him there, but I think this is just a well defended play. Wilson smartly targets Parkinson in the flat but he underthrows it. That makes Jalen Thompson’s tackle in the open field much easier.
(12:34) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass deep right to T.Lockett for 43 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
This is Pocic’s worst play so far. Pivoting to pick up the stunting defender, Pocic gets too high. Lawrence walks him back right into Wilson’s lap, but it doesn’t matter a bit. Decisively surveying the field Wilson sees Lockett break free deep. The pass is modestly underthrown, but Lockett’s feel for navigating zones, Wilson’s read and timing, and Waldron’s play design combine for a score.