By Brady Henderson
The Seahawks’ offensive line had its issues last season while dealing with injuries and inexperience.
Two rookie starters, right guard John Moffitt and right tackle James Carpenter, didn’t have a normal offseason due to the lockout. Carpenter, Moffitt and left tackle Russell Okung finished the season on injured reserve, while left guard Robert Gallery never seemed to be fully healthy.
That all contributed to issues with pass protection and in the running game, especially in the first half of the season.
Seattle’s offensive line has been considerably better this season, so much so that it will send two members to the Pro Bowl. Okung and center Max Unger were named starters Wednesday for the NFC team, becoming the first Seahawks offensive linemen to play in the Pro Bowl since Walter Jones following the 2008 season. It is the first Pro Bowl selection for each player.
The 49ers, with tackle Joe Staley and guard Mike Iupati, are the only other team sending two offensive linemen to the Pro Bowl as starters.
“Having two guys being able to start for the NFC just really kind of shows where our line has gone,” Unger told “The Huddle” on Thursday.
The Seahawks have allowed 27 sacks with one game remaining. That number was 50 last season, which was the fourth-most in the NFL. Seattle has the league’s second-leading rusher in Marshawn Lynch, whose 1,490 yards are by far a career high.
Continuity has been one key. Injuries forced the Seahawks to use several difference offensive line combinations last season. While J.R. Sweezy, Carpenter, and Moffitt have split time at right guard this season, the rest of the line has mostly stayed intact. Unger, Okung, left guard Paul McQuistan and right tackle Breno Giacomini have missed just one game combined.
“This is the first time since I’ve been here that we’ve had for the most part four of the five guys start almost every game, and we really have been able to build a little bit of chemistry,” Unger said. “That really does help. You can see that.”