Are Russell Wilson’s feelings about Seahawks’ offensive line justified?
With the Super Bowl wrapped up it’s officially the offseason, and the rumors are flying in regards to the Seahawks’ best player.
It was reported over the weekend that teams reached out to the Seahawks about quarterback Russell Wilson’s availability, but that Seattle wasn’t considering a trade. On Monday, Jason La Confora of CBS Sports reported that Wilson’s camp was upset at the number of sacks and hits he’s taken in his nine NFL seasons.
I’m hearing Russell Wilson’s camp has grown increasingly frustrated by the Seahawks inability to protect the 8 time Pro Bowler. He has been sacked 394 times in 9 seasons. This situation warrants serious monitoring.
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 9, 2021
That’s caused some to speculate he may be seeking a trade.
Former NFL quarterback Brock Huard, who is also an NFL on FOX color commentator, said Monday morning he doesn’t see the Seahawks trading Wilson this offseason. The conversation about Wilson continued on Tuesday, with Danny O’Neil of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant asking Huard whether Wilson reportedly being upset with his pass protection.
While O’Neil felt like the offensive line was better than people think in 2020, Huard said he saw the unit’s play take a dive late in the season.
“It did dip pretty significantly I think in the second half of the year,” he said. “Be it (rookie right guard) Damien Lewis in pass protection a little bit hitting a wall, be it (right tackle) Brandon Shell getting injured and a revolving door at right tackle with guys that couldn’t necessarily play, with a left guard (Mike Iupati) that of course breaks down and gets hurt and multiple guys (that have to step in) at left guard.”
Huard said part of why he thinks the Seahawks’ offensive line was viewed as an improvement in 2020 versus previous years is how the offense as a whole started the season. For the first half, the Seahawks were one of the best offenses in football and putting up a ton of points. Most of that was through the air with Wilson playing lights out.
“The offense was unbelievably explosive as they’re just hitting people with haymaker after haymaker and shot after shot and slowing people down that it made (the offensive line) look really good,” Huard said.
When the Seahawks dropped three of four in the middle of the season, though, the direction of the offense changed and those big plays vanished as defenses adjusted to Seattle’s aerial attack.
“Then all of a sudden you take it off the accelerator and it gets a lot more difficult to play and the aforementioned injuries and the rotations and everything else,” Huard said.
Huard said there’s multiple ways to “spin that story” of the offensive line’s play and the offense’s regression, but he thinks the injuries as well as the level of competition may play a role in Wilson’s thinking.
“I think if you sit back and look at it in totality, it was a group that wore down, it was a group that got a little bit beat up and it was a group that frankly couldn’t block (Rams edge rusher) Leonard Floyd, who had seven sacks (in three games against the Seahawks) or (Rams defensive tackle) Aaron Donald consistently,” he said. “And that’s the crew that was a nightmare to them and for Russell and knocked them out of the playoffs and is probably a big reason why we’re having lots and lots of his conversation and his camp is having these kinds of feelings.”
Along with facing the Rams three times in their last nine games, the Seahawks also played against good defensive fronts like the New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles.
Now going forward, it remains to be seen whether or not the Seahawks add to the offensive line or if players already in the building for Seattle will improve in a big way. Huard noted that new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, who coached with the Rams the last four years, comes from a system “that tries to make the job easier for the guys up front,” and that Waldron’s new scheme could help improve the protection and lessen the amount of times Wilson is hit or sacked in 2021.
Listen to the conversation at this link or in the player below.