DANNY ONEIL

Seahawks should join generation of cord cutters by switching from Cable

Jan 8, 2018, 8:32 AM | Updated: 12:20 pm
Tom Cable...
Tom Cable has overseen Seattle's ground game, which has sputtered the past two seasons. (AP)
(AP)

The offensive line has been rated the least satisfactory part of the Seattle Seahawks football operation for two years running (or not running as is often the case).

But some people still like Cable.

Just like some people like pre-shaken sodas. And having their seat kicked on an airplane. And being rammed by a shopping cart.

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If only there were an offensive-line provider out there like DirecTV.

Just kidding. I am a more-than-satisfied Comcast customer.

I am ready to cut the cord on Tom Cable, though.

Nothing personal. In fact, I really like him. But for two years now, this team that wants to run the ball more than anything else has ranked in the bottom half of the league in that category while the offensive line – which benefits from continuity as much as any position group in football – has operated more like a carousel with all the position switches and personnel changes.

Up until this season, you could have argued that Seattle’s difficulties up front were the result of flawed strategy and that the Seahawks simply hadn’t invested enough on the offensive line.

Now, that argument would have been wrong, overlooking both the number and significance of the draft picks that Seattle had invested along its line, but there was a time when it was debatable whether Cable had been given sufficient materials to work with.

At some point in the past year, it became eminently clear that this isn’t a question of resources. I’m not sure when that exact moment was. Could have been when Seattle paid market-rate for a free agent by signing Luke Joeckel in March. Or maybe it was when Seattle used a second-round pick on Ethan Pocic in May, making him the seventh offensive linemen the Seahawks had chosen in the first half of the draft in the last seven years. And if that didn’t do it, trading for Duane Brown certainly did, the Seahawks giving up a future draft pick and future salary-cap space to acquire the former Pro Bowler.

And in spite of all that, a running back the Seahawks cut in September finished with almost as many rushing yards as the combined total of all the backs the Seahawks kept.

The issues along Seattle’s offensive line can no longer be simplified into a question of resources. The Seahawks have invested in that position. They have invested draft picks. They have invested with a significant free-agent signing and via trade. And more than anything they have invested time.

Four seasons have now passed since 2013 when the Seahawks had the highest-paid offensive line in the league, and in all that time Seattle has developed one player it believed in enough to sign to a second contract: center Justin Britt. And even he switched positions twice in two years before settling down.

Britt has been the exception. Guys like Mark Glowinski have been the rule, who went from starting to the waiver wire in less than a calendar year. He was a fourth-round pick in 2015 and someone the Seahawks saw enough promise in to make a starter in his second season only to have Seattle pull the plug entirely this season, benching him in the first month and eventually waiving him in December. He was claimed by Indianapolis.

It’s a similar story to what happened with Michael Bowie, who started as a right tackle in 2013 but was waived the following year in training camp with a shoulder injury. And Garry Gilliam, who was not re-signed this offseason.

The point here isn’t that Seattle messed up by letting those guys go. The problem is that Seattle invested significant time – playing time – and didn’t develop any long-term solutions. In fact, the Seahawks wound up deciding to start over.

The final straw was Collins, a guy Seattle cut before the season. He ran for 973 yards in Baltimore, which almost matched the 994 yards that was the combined total of all the running backs Seattle did keep. And if your answer is that Baltimore’s offensive line is just that much better than Seattle’s, well, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of the guy in charge of the Seahawks’ offensive line.

The Seahawks are going to rebuild the run game this offseason. This time the turnover should include more than just the personnel on the roster.

Cable has coached seven seasons in Seattle. In four of them, Seattle has ranked among the five most prolific rushing teams in the league, but for the past two years the Seahawks have been unable to find their footing in the one thing this team wants to do more than anything else.

Then again, maybe some people like Cable just like some people like not having a single red-zone rushing touchdown by a running back.

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Seahawks should join generation of cord cutters by switching from Cable