Heaps: Why Seahawks have a ‘glaring weakness’ on offensive line

Oct 27, 2021, 10:07 AM
Seahawks Kyle Fuller...
Kyle Fuller and Jamarco Jones of the Seahawks in action against the Saints during the third quarter Monday. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seahawks have had offensive line issues for a number of years now, and while some areas of the line like left tackle are pretty stable, the center position is not, which has been the case for a few seasons now.

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Since Justin Britt tore his ACL in 2019, the Seahawks have used a few different players at center such as Joey Hunt and Ethan Pocic. In 2021, it’s Kyle Fuller who’s started for Seattle in the middle of the offensive line.

Fuller beat out Pocic, who was banged up in training camp, for the job this season despite the latter starting 14 games a year ago.

On Monday against the Saints, Fuller and the rest of Seattle’s line struggled to generate holes for the running game against a tough New Orleans defensive line, and quarterback Geno Smith was under pressure on many of his dropbacks.

On Tuesday, former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps explained why Fuller’s play is such a problem for the Seahawks.

“A glaring weakness on offense that really gets under my skin is seeing Kyle Fuller struggle on the offensive line,” Heaps said during Monday’s edition of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy. “And it has nothing to do with Kyle Fuller.”

The issue, Heaps said, is that the Seahawks only added one new contributor on the offensive line this offseason in right guard Gabe Jackson, leaving Pocic and Fuller to duke it out at center.

“They did not make any addition at the center position. They thought the competition between Kyle Fuller and Ethan Pocic was going to be the answer and it has not worked out for this group at all,” Heaps said. “That to me was truly a missed opportunity to improve this offensive line, to elevate it, and there were multiple times last night whether it was pass protection or run blocking where Kyle Fuller just got blown back and that really disrupted the running game, and it disrupted any opportunity for Geno Smith at times.”

Fuller’s play likely cost the Seahawks three points, Heaps said.

“People want to get mad at Geno Smith for taking that sack that led to the 53-yard field goal, but what is Geno Smith supposed to do?” Heaps asked. “Immediate pressure right out of the gate not from a linebacker, not from a safety, but from a defensive tackle that Kyle Fuller was 100% responsible for going out and blocking in that particular protection. It’s those types of mistakes that really kill the offense. You can talk about the scheme all you want, but the execution of it in the middle of that offensive line has not been stellar.”

You can hear Heaps’ full thoughts in the Four-Down Territory segment of the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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