Heaps: Pocic has chance to ‘keep progressing’ in Seahawks’ new offense
It wasn’t All-Pro Corey Linsley, it wasn’t Pro Bowler Rodney Hudson, nor was it veteran starter David Andrews. But the Seahawks did go out and reportedly sign their likely starter at center, and it’s the man who started 14 games for them last year.
On Thursday, multiple reports surfaced that the Seahawks will be signing Ethan Pocic to a one-year deal worth up to $3 million. After starting 11 games as a rookie in 2017 at guard, Pocic was a backup up until this past season, when he beat out free-agent signing B.J. Finney for the starting center position.
Now, the Seahawks bring back four of their five 2020 starters on the offensive line, and they also reportedly traded for veteran starter Gabe Jackson, who would slot in at one of the two guard positions while 2020 rookie standout Damien Lewis would fill in at the other.
Some thought the Seahawks would bring in a new face at center this offseason, especially after quarterback Russell Wilson voiced his displeasure with the team’s pass protection earlier this offseason. But instead, Pocic returns and will likely be Seattle’s starting center come Week 1.
“This really comes (down) to the coaches’ evaluation, in my opinion,” Heaps said. “(Offensive coordinator) Shane Waldron, (running game coordinator) Andy Dickerson, (offensive line coach) Mike Solari, if they look at the second half of the year where Ethan Pocic struggled, and they look at it and say, ‘We think this guy can improve in his second year at center and he’s an athletic guy in our system and we feel like we can get the best out of him,’ I’m going to trust them in that decision.”
Heaps admitted he would have rather seen the Seahawks get a veteran player who is more of an upgrade over Pocic, but that he’s not disappointed nor “overly excited” that Pocic is back in the mix for one more season.
” I think this is a fine move and if you have an upgrade with Gabe Jackson and he’s going to be as good of a player as I hope he is, I think you have four players who are pretty good and Ethan Pocic has the chance to keep progressing,” Heaps said. “Overall I think they’ll be in an OK position (at center).”
And by signing Pocic and bringing back four of the 2020 starters on the offensive line, Heaps thinks that shows the amount of pressure on Waldron to implement a scheme that will limit how often Wilson is sacked and hit in 2021.
“They are really pinning their hopes on Shane Waldron’s offensive philosophy really changing the game for this team,” he said.
Listen to Heaps’ thoughts at this link or in the player below.