Seahawks offensive line: A smashing debut

Tim Weaver
Cover32
Seahawks offensive line
Seahawks offensive line

What makes the NFL so tough to predict is sample size. There are only 20 games each year to learn from, plus a few playoff games in the bargain. That means no one performance should define a particular team, unit, or individual player. For what it’s worth though the new starting Seahawks offensive line looked excellent in their first preseason game.

Tom Cable shuffled the deck yet again this week and started this lineup:

LT: Bradley Sowell
LG: Mark Glowinski
C: Justin Britt
RG: Germain Ifedi
RT: Garry Gilliam

This first string Seahawks offensive line was on the field 23 snaps over two drives and the team gained 96 yards.

Good line play is always a team effort, but what’s really remarkable is how well all five played. It’s a rare thing for a group with this little experience playing together and showing strong the first time they’re on the field. The switch at tackle was the most intriguing development.

In our season profile of Garry Gilliam the concern was about his lack of experience at left tackle. Bradley Sowell may not have looked great in Arizona, but he did start 12 games on the blindside in 2013, and that’s 12 more than Gilliam. Sowell has the edge in size too, as he’s listed a full inch taller and almost 15 pounds heavier than Gilliam.

On the right side, Gilliam looked strong too. This newfound combination may solve the unit’s most pressing challenge (protecting Russell Wilson’s backside) if they can continue playing well.

It’s possible that J’Marcus Webb’s leg injury was the impetus for the switch. It’s also not hard to imagine that Webb has disappointed and Gilliam is the only logical replacement at RT. In any case, Tom Cable may have struck oil here. This particular front five configuration deserves another long look. Webb should start polishing his resume.

Inside, the combination of Mark Glowinski and Germain Ifedi were creating some big running lanes for Christine Michael, who had his best game yet as a Seahawk. Even Justin Britt was on point, getting deep into the second level on several run blocks.

Here’s some of the highlights.

Seahawks offensive line highlights vs. Chiefs





Together, the starting Seahawks offensive line did not give up a sack on nine pass plays. On his one drive Russell Wilson had clean pockets and time to work. If he gets that all season long then you’re looking at the league MVP.

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As for the subs, the results were more mixed. Recently signed veteran Jahri Evans appeared rusty, George Fant’s inexperience showed and the run game fell off a lot. Part of that may have been the absence of Michael, but Seattle’s subs definitely were not as impressive as the starters, which should not be much of a surprise.

It’s only one game and there’s still a long way to go but overall this was a positive step in the right direction.

Next up the Seahawks’ front five will get an interesting challenge from the Minnesota Vikings, who tallied 43 sacks and only gave up seven rushing touchdowns in 2015.

The experiment continues…

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