By Brady Henderson
The headline to this post might have come as a surprise to anyone who has seen all the penalties committed this season by Russell Okung, the Seahawks’ left tackle.
It’s easy to turn to penalty totals in the absence of mainstream stats (other than sacks allowed) that quantify an individual offensive lineman’s performance.
An offensive lineman’s position coach might offer a more accurate assessment, even if it might come with some level of bias.
“If there’s a better left tackle right now, I’d like to see him,” Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable said of Okung during his visit with “The Huddle” on Thursday. “He’s playing at an exceptionally high level.”
Okung has been flagged for 10 penalties this season, by my count. That includes one that was declined. Okung’s nine accepted penalties are tied for fourth-most in the NFL, according to The Football Database, which lists six penalties for false starts and three for holding.
Okung, despite the penalties, has seemed to fare well in pass protection, especially against some of the NFL’s better pass rushers. The Seahawks as a team certainly have.
Updating a list from earlier in the season, Seattle has faced 11 pass rushers who had at least eight sacks last season. Among that group, only San Francisco’s Aldon Smith, Minnesota’s Brian Robison and Chicago’s Julius Peppers have recorded a sack against the Seahawks. All three had one apiece.
With four games remaining, the Seahawks have allowed 23 sacks in all, the 10th-fewest in the NFL. That represents significant improvement from last season’s total of 50, which was the fourth-most in the league.
Related: Russell Okung says the Seahawks are better prepared this time for Arizona.