Sports Out West

Seattle Seahawks look to improve offensive line during long break

Seahawks' offensive lineman Breno Giacomini may return when the team plays the St. Louis Rams (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

The Seattle Seahawks wont have their bye week until Nov. 24, four games from now. But with the way the schedule is currently set up, the break is almost as long.

Last Thursday’s 34-22 road win over the Arizona Cardinals is now followed by a Monday night matchup in St.Louis against the Rams, giving the Seahawks 10 full days without a game. That will give Seattle some critical time to heal up some injured players.

If you’ve watched the Seahawks the last month or so, the one weakness that clearly stands out and has to get better is the offensive line. Football Outsiders had the Seahawks at 20th best in the NFL in run blocking, and 26th in pass protection through Week 6, and things didn’t get a whole lot better against the Cardinals. It’s pretty impressive that the Seahawks have gone 6-1 and averaged 154.4 yards per game on the ground with those numbers, but the offensive line hasn’t exactly passed the eye test the past few games.

The Seahawks have already given up 20 sacks, and it would be many more if not for Russell Wilson’s mobility. Wilson has had to scramble for his life too often this year. He can obviously make plays doing that – the opening touchdown to Sidney Rice against the Cardinals was a thing of beauty – but Seattle’s offense would be that much more efficient if he got some protection. The pressure on Wilson has also led to a fumble problem, as he has put the ball on the ground six times already. That is, believe it or not, on pace to be the third most fumbles ever by a player in a season.

Injuries have been a big part of the reason for the struggles, and this time off will help them heal. Center Max Unger returned from an arm injury for the game two weeks ago against the Tennessee Titans and has made a noticeable improvement as he approaches full health. Breno Giacomini might be able to take the field against the Rams, but even if he doesn’t, it just gives rookie Michael Bowie more reps in practice. If Giacomini does play, that will leave the Seahawks only one starter down as left tackle Russell Okung is definitely out for a few more weeks.

Continuity makes a bigger difference on the offensive line than anywhere. The Seahawks figure to be changing lineups around in the next couple of games, just as they have been forced to the previous few. No matter who plays, ten days to prepare will certainly make a difference from the usual six.

Seattle has a dominant defense and an offense that soon going to get a star receiver back and is starting to figure out an identity. But tough games are won in the trenches, which is the Seahawks one big question mark right now. With a few extra days off, we should get a better idea of where the unit is at against the Rams, who absolutely demolished the Seahawks up front in the final game last season. 

Photo Credit: Paul Connors / Associated Press 


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Nathaniel Reeves

Nathaniel Reeves is a journalism student at the University of Washington, currently covering sports for The UW Daily in addition to Sports Out West. He has been closely following Seattle sports his entire life.