NFL Wire News

Seahawks offensive line struggling after four games

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The Sports Xchange

RENTON, Wash. — In the aftermath of another crazy finish on Monday Night Football for the Seattle Seahawks, the biggest issue continuing to face the team is a struggling offensive line that isn’t learning quickly enough.

Seattle made the conscious decision to go younger and more inexperienced along the offensive line this season after trading center Max Unger to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for tight end Jimmy Graham. But with the season reaching the quarter pole, the Seahawks’ line is not performing well enough at the moment for Seattle to entertain the thought of a third straight Super Bowl appearance.

“It was not as good as we needed it to be,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “The protection. We didn’t run the ball as well as we wanted to tonight, and we obviously had trouble protecting. We just have to help those guys more.”

Carroll has frequently called the offensive line a work in progress this season with three new starters up front. Drew Nowak, a converted defensive lineman, is replacing Unger at center. Garry Gilliam, a tight end until his senior year of college, has started at right tackle while last year’s right tackle, Justin Britt, has moved inside to left guard.

Most of training camp was spent shuffling pieces around on the line to find the best five linemen to have in the lineup come the start of the season. They had four different players take first-team reps at left guard during training camp before moving Britt from right tackle.

Against the Detroit Lions, quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked six times and hit 10 times in the game. If not for his Houdini-like escapeability, it would have been even more than that.

“We have a lot of work to do,” left tackle Russell Okung said. “Got to be definitely cleaner. Got to find a way to protect the quarterback better as well too. I definitely take a lot of the blame and I definitely need to be better.”

Thomas Rawls, playing in place of an injured Marshawn Lynch, rushed for just 48 yards on 17 carries. While Seattle finished with 110 rushing yards overall, much of that came on scrambles as Wilson ran from pressure. In addition, Nowak was responsible for two false starts and had an errant shotgun snap fly off the fingers of Wilson for a sack.

Ultimately, Okung believes the group is physically talented enough to get things straightened out, but patience may be running out for the group to get things cleaned up.

“Physically, I definitely believe in our group and what we can do. Right now, we’re struggling. But we’ll get better,” Okung said.

REPORT CARD VS. LIONS

–PASSING OFFENSE: D. The offensive line was terrible. QB Russell Wilson was sacked six times in the game and has been sacked 18 times on the year, which is on pace for 72 sacks over the full season. When Wilson was protected or able to buy enough time to throw, he was good. Wilson completed 20-of-26 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown. He also fumbled twice.

–RUSHING OFFENSE: C-plus. Without Marshawn Lynch in the lineup, the Seahawks still rushed for over 100 yards in the game. However, a large chunk of those yards came from Wilson, who was scrambling to avoid pressure.

–PASS DEFENSE: B-plus. Matthew Stafford was held to just 130 yards passing prior to the Lions’ final possession of the game. He finished with 203 yards. Seattle didn’t cause a turnover and Stafford, though frequently pressured, wasn’t sacked.

–RUN DEFENSE: A. The Lions entered the game as the worst rushing offense in the league and did nothing to change that against the Seahawks. They rushed for just 53 yards in the game. Ameer Abdullah was limited to just 33 yards on 13 carries.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: B. Steven Hauschka had two field goals from beyond 50 yards. Jon Ryan had three of four punts inside Detroit’s 20-yard line. Tyler Lockett muffed a catch of a Lions punt that Detroit managed to recover.

–COACHING: B. Seattle’s defense looks to be back to the monster it’s been over the past three seasons. They’ve allowed just three points as a unit in the last two games. Offensively, the Seahawks were able to move the ball when the line performed. However, that was a highly infrequent occurrence against the Lions.


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