How much better was the Seahawks’ offensive line in 2018?
With a major mid-season trade in 2017, and a coaching change and free agency moves in 2018, the Seahawks put together an offensive line that took a noticeable step forward last season.
The unit led the league in rushing yards and jumped to middle-of-the-pack in pass-blocking efficiency, according to Pro Football Focus. While some critics would argue that’s not much to write home about, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard points out that their progress is even more evident when pass-blocking, pressures, and run blocking are analyzed separately.
“They were much better, there’s no question about that,” Huard said of the offensive line during his Blue 42 segment of Brock and Salk. “Not only by the eye test, but according to our friends over there at Pro Football Focus. I got a Tweet yesterday talking about the Seahawks and how they ended the regular season the last few years with the number of pressures allowed: after averaging over 200 pressures allowed per season from 2014 to 2017, the 2018 Seahawks allowed just 132 pressures from their 502 passing plays. So after going a stretch there of four years with more than 200 pressures per season, you cut that way back.
“Now, as far as passing efficiency, they were still about 18th in the league. So, you’re not looking at a top-five front that can pass protect consistently. But they cut way back on pressures. Why? Because they ran effectively and they play-action passed. And when Russell Wilson had to throw, they were much more manageable situations. Duane Brown was excellent, Germain Ifedi took a step, and Mike Solari, there’s no question, improved some of their blocking schemes. It was a step in the right direction. And you’re not looking at a crew that just throws first anyway. This is a team that is best-equipped with the way that they are built to run play-pass. And if those pass attempts are around 500, they have a chance to cut back on their pressure and keep their quarterback healthy. Those are huge, positive steps in the right direction.”
Huard was also asked about the competition between UW Huskies’ Jake Haener and Jacob Eason. Listen to the entire Blue 42 segment in the audio clip embedded above, and hear Huard answer three football questions for Blue 42 every weekday morning at 7:45 on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk.