Schlereth: What Seahawks OL is doing with backups is ‘amazing’

Oct 4, 2023, 3:13 PM

Seattle Seahawks Stone Forsythe...

Seattle Seahawks tackle Stone Forsythe in action against the New York Giants. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks have a lot of momentum right now, sitting at 3-1 thanks to a trio of wins after dropping their season opener.

Sounds like a bad time for a bye week, right?

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Well, not exactly. The Hawks have been plenty banged up early on this season, and there’s no position group that’s been hammered with injuries more than Seattle’s offensive line. Not that you’d know it just by looking at how well the offense has played thus far.

In Monday’s 24-3 win over the New York Giants, the Seahawks played most of the game without a single starter on the O-line playing in their usual spot. In fact, only one starter period was healthy by the end of the contest: Evan Brown, who usually plays center but was moved to guard as rookie Olu Oluwatimi took over due to the group’s overall health.

Starting tackles Charles Cross (toe) and Abraham Lucas (knee) have both been out the past three games, and Lucas is on injured reserve. Then on Monday, guards Phil Haynes (calf) and Damien Lewis (ankle) both had to exit the game. That left Seattle with a line made up of Brown and Anthony Bradford at guard, Stone Forsythe and Jake Curhan at tackle, and Oluwatimi at center.

Even with all that shuffling, the Seahawks allowed just two sacks on the night and helped Seattle rush for 121 yards on 23 carries, which amounts to 5.3 yards per attempt.

“It’s amazing what Seattle has been able to do,” said Mark Schlereth, an NFL on FOX analyst and former pro lineman, on Tuesday when he joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob.

Why is Schlereth amazed by by Seattle’s O-line? Because it’s hard to field a starting five in the NFL, let alone find backups who can step in without being overmatched.

“I mean, I think they had all five guys (playing on the offensive line who) were essentially backups. In this day and age in the National Football League, you don’t have backups that can play. Let’s face it, they just can’t,” he said. “You lose one or two starters on your offensive line and you’re in deep trouble, and to be able to have both your backup tackles in and backup center and guards, it’s incredible what they’re doing right now.”

Schlereth, who is also a morning radio host for Denver Sports, a sister station of Seattle Sports, made sure to give credit to the Seahawks’ front office and coaching staff.

“Tip of the cap to (head coach) Pete Carroll and (general manager) John Schneider and their ability to create guys – and not only create guys that can play, but also call a game,” he said.

The man responsible for the offensive playcalling is offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, who is in his third year in the position with Seattle.

“Shane Waldron (can) call a game where the ball gets out of your hand quickly, where you’re still running the ball, where you’re not having those guys play on the high dive for 50, 60, 70 plays as opposed to what the Giants did,” Schlereth said.

That’s an important comparison, because the Giants’ O-line was also banged up on Monday, though not as much as Seattle’s. New York had a pretty tough time making due, allowing 11 sacks, which tied a single-game record for the Seahawks.

“I always say this about offensive line play and playcallers: if you allow your guys to give up seven to eight sacks, you (stink) as a playcaller,” Schlereth said. “Forget the guys up front, you’re a horrible playcaller.”

Listen to the full Wyman and Bob conversation with Mark Schlereth in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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Schlereth: What Seahawks OL is doing with backups is ‘amazing’