It’s easy to see why so many people are scratching their heads over the Seahawks’ underwhelming offensive line moves this week, especially when everyone seems to have a different opinion of where J’Marcus Webb will play.
But there is a method to Seattle’s madness — even if we might not agree with it.
First of all, remember that the Seahawks run a zone blocking scheme, which emphasizes mobility and teamwork over talent. Like it or not, that is the approach the Seahawks have taken the last four years — and apparently the approach they continue to take.
John Schneider said it himself at the Combine: “In terms of our philosophy, we are going to keep attacking it the same way we always have.’’
The Seahawks love size and versatility — and they got both in Webb and Bradley Sowell, the guys who ostensibly replace J.R. Sweezy and Alvin Bailey. Both are huge (Webb is 6-7, 335; Sowell 6-7, 315) and have played every position but center. The problem is neither is that talented.
While Sowell appears to be a pure backup, Webb was paid starting guard money — reportedly $6 million for two years. Many fans decried that expenditure for a guy who has been almost universally panned — at least as a pass protector. Webb, who received $2.45 million guaranteed, sure seems like this year’s Cary Williams.
But perhaps the Seahawks can get more out of him than Chicago, Minnesota and Oakland did over the past six years. He played in power schemes under line coach Mike Tice in Chicago (2010-12) and Oakland (2015), and the Vikings used mostly power runs during his two years there as well. Tom Cable might think he can get more out of Webb in Seattle’s zone scheme.
But the $6 million question is: Where will he play? Right guard? Left guard? Right tackle?
A lot of it surely depends on what happens with Russell Okung, who reportedly is seeking more than $11 million a year. If he ends up with Detroit or the New York Giants and Seattle does not add another veteran tackle (e.g., Will Beatty), it is entirely possible the Hawks will move Garry Gilliam to the left side and have Webb or Justin Britt play on the right side, with the other playing left guard. We should know more about Seattle’s OL plans this weekend when Schneider and Pete Carroll speak at the owners’ meetings in Florida.
Seattle also figures to add at least one more veteran. The Seahawks already have hosted interior linemen Ted Larsen and Amini Silatolu, and they could look at guys such as Stefen Wisniewski, Jahri Evans and Zane Beadles. The Seahawks also are expected to add a couple of linemen through the draft (although it might not be as high as some would like).
If the season started today, Seattle likely would hit the field with this L-R alignment: Gilliam, Britt/Webb, Patrick Lewis, Mark Glowinski, Webb/Britt. That has most fans cringing and feeling sorry for Russell Wilson.
But, over the next six weeks, that lineup should get at least a little better. And we can only hope people aren’t scratching their heads as much as they are now.