Britt or bust at center?

Why do the Seahawks never seem to have a clue about what to do with their offensive line?

After the 2019 season ended, Pete Carroll said he wanted to keep his line together – “I don’t want to see a big change there.’’ But then, in a pandemic year, Carroll let John Schneider convince him to save money by parting with three starters and a key reserve.

As B.J. Finney gets bumped from starting center by career underachiever Ethan Pocic, Carroll is still talking about continuity. Where? The entire right side, from center out, will be new — Pocic, a little-used backup guard, does not count as continuity. Aged left-side vets Duane Brown, 35, and Mike Iupati, 33, are the only returning starters, but do you think they will stay healthy all season?

At some point the line could look something like this: Cedric Ogbuehi, Finney, Pocic, Damien Lewis, Brandon Shell. Four of those guys were not on the team in 2019. That’s some real continuity, Pete.

That’s why Carroll already is looking at bringing back Justin Britt. If his ACL is healthy, his return would help immensely. A veteran center is a key to any playoff team. Pocic certainly does not qualify; he has played mostly backup guard in his three seasons. And Finney now looks like he will be a $4.5 million interior backup. So is it Britt or bust at center?

After picking off two passes in the mock game Wednesday, albeit against UDFA quarterback Anthony Gordon, Marquise Blair drew praise from Shaquill Griffin for “shining so far in this camp.”

The Seahawks apparently are planning a lot of big nickel this season, with Blair joining Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs. Assuming Blair continues to show playmaking ability, it is easy to see Carroll going with him over Bruce Irvin even in base defense. Adams, after all, is a great blitzer who had 6.5 sacks last season and, per Irvin, could end up with even more this season.  

While defensive end still looks like a negative (even if rookie Alton Robinson has looked good), those safeties could help make up for it – especially if they turn the ball over as much as it seems like they might.

No surprise that Paul Richardson could return. Injuries predictably made him a bust signing in Washington, and it always seemed like he might make his way back to Seattle.

Throw him in with Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf and Phillip Dorsett and you would have the fastest quartet in the NFL (perhaps outside Kansas City).

Carlos Hyde reportedly has looked very good in camp, especially in the mock game, after which Carroll said he will be a “big factor for us.”

That’s good news for the Hawks, who likely won’t have Rashaad Penny for the first six games as he recovers from a bad ACL injury.

That’s also bad news contractually for Chris Carson. But his inability to stay healthy, along with Penny’s injury, meant the Hawks had to add a veteran back. So Carson likely will split time with Hyde and see what offers other teams make in 2021, when he is a free agent. The Hawks are unlikely to want to pay him top RB rate (over $6 million), especially if Hyde (playing for $2.75 million) is a cheaper option to re-sign or if Penny is healthy heading into his contract year or if Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas are good enough to bump Carson to another team.

One thought on “Britt or bust at center?”

  1. From the outside, it looks as they have lost confidence in their ability to build an OL through the draft. Since their approach to free agency is to give long-term contracts only to their own players, they are stuck in a cycle of assembling an OL with short-term, (hopefully) value talent and hoping that Solari can bring it up to speed quickly. Which leaves the deepest group of skill players ever dependent on a perpetually makeshift OL.

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