In one swell foop Thursday, the Seahawks reset their offensive line for 2019 — bringing back D.J. Fluker and swapping in Mike Iupati for J.R. Sweezy (basically a trade with Arizona).
The Hawks now have four former first-round picks and one second-rounder as their line starters. You can hardly get better draft pedigree than that.
They also will return four starters to the line that led the league’s top rushing attack in 2018. They just have to hope Fluker and Iupati can stay healthy for Mike Solari — or at least combine with Jordan Simmons to put together 32 man-games at the guard spots in 2019.
Then John Schneider needs to work up a plan for beyond next season.
Continue reading 2019 line set, but what about the future?
Tom Cable won’t recognize the offensive line on the other side of the field in London — because it is playing better than any unit he coached in Seattle since 2012.
Mike Solari replaced Cable (who ended up back in Oakland) this year and has tailored his hybrid scheme to fit the talents and aggressive nature of a line that now includes former first-round picks Duane Brown, D.J. Fluker and Germain Ifedi; second-rounder Justin Britt, and Cable’s one-time conversion project, J.R. Sweezy.
Since Fluker and Sweezy took over at the guard spots in Week 3, the Seahawks have led the NFL in rushing (474 yards on 105 runs) and are now in the top 10 overall — like they used to be when Marshawn Lynch was Beast Moding to bail out Cable’s poorly schemed and oft-injured lines.
If they keep going like this, the Hawks should try to keep this group together for a couple more years.
Continue reading This O-line group looks worth keeping
It sounds like Duane Brown will be the Seahawks’ only preseason contract extension this year, with Frank Clark and K.J. Wright having to wait until after the season to see where their futures lie.
A day after we talked about Duane Brown’s possible extension with the Seahawks, they finished it off, adding $36.5 million and three years to this year’s $9.75 million.
As Earl Thomas holds out, some wonder: Why will the Seahawks extend a 33-year-old Pro Bowl left tackle but not a 29-year-old Pro Bowl safety?
We’ve made it clear we’re in favor of paying Thomas, but the Hawks obviously think he is not worth top dollar because speed-based players can fall off the cliff quickly and Thomas has had injury issues in recent seasons.
Good linemen, meanwhile, can play into their mid-30s at a high level, and the Hawks clearly are banking on that with Brown. They figured he’s a good bet at $11 million APY over the next four years, while $14 million APY is too much for Thomas (even if they forgo the injury guarantees and can move on in a couple of years with little cap trouble).
So, if not Thomas, who’s next? Probably no one for now.
Continue reading Hawks keep Brown, but Clark & Wright wait
Duane Brown is in Seattle partly because he was holding out in Houston for a new deal last season.
He hasn’t made the same noise about a new contract in Seattle, probably because he is just happy to be on a team not run by a redneck like Bob McNair.
Brown is being paid $9.75 million this season and, as he gets set to turn 33 on Aug. 30, he’s not going to merit the kind of contracts Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan were given Friday. Matthews, Atlanta’s 26-year-old left tackle, got $15 million a year. Lewan, Tennessee’s 27-year-old star left tackle, got $16 million a year.
Continue reading Matthews & Lewan got huge deals; what is Brown worth?
When the Seahawks put together the best run in franchise history, winning 36 games and a Super Bowl from 2012 to 2014, they did it with about two dozen core players — a third of them named Pro Bowl players during that time.
After “resetting” the team this offseason, the Seahawks have just six players left from that Super Bowl core — and a couple of those guys might not be long for the roster.
That brings us to the No. 1 goal this year, aside from trying to contend for the Super Bowl (we put their O/U at 10 wins): John Schneider and Pete Carroll need to establish the new core for the next championship window. It all starts Thursday when they begin training camp.
Continue reading This camp is about finding next Super core
Some — maybe even many — people thought the Seahawks screwed up by not drafting an offensive lineman before the late fifth round last weekend.
Sure, they could have selected Austin Corbett or Will Hernandez instead of Rashaad Penny with their first pick (after trading down, of course). But the Seahawks have put a lot of resources into the line over the past couple of years, and Pete Carroll obviously is betting Mike Solari will do a much better job with that talent than Tom Cable did.
Carroll is expecting Solari to boost the Hawks out of a two-year funk that has seen them rank second only to Detroit in fewest rushing yards by non-quarterbacks. (Russell Wilson’s 845 yards raise Seattle to 11th worst.)
Continue reading Hawks should have what they need for the O-line
Duane Brown was pleasantly surprised by the supportive culture of the Seahawks when he arrived last November, and he said, “We’ve got a good thing going” — a reference to the club both on the field and off.
Speaking on former teammate Arian Foster’s podcast, Brown recounted the deterioration of his relationship with the Texans’ front office, the perceived racism of good ol’ boy owner Bob McNair over the years, Brown’s final-straw holdout and the trade the day after the Texans played in Seattle.
“It was too far gone, and the departure was needed,” Brown said. “It had nothing to do with me wanting to get out of Houston or leave my teammates. Not at all.
Continue reading Brown: ‘We’ve got a good thing going’
As former Seahawk Steve Hutchinson waits for the Hall of Fame to come knocking this weekend, it is a reminder of what the Seahawks once had — and what they need to build again.
The big question some fans have: Will John Schneider do what Tim Ruskell would not and pay an All-Pro guard?
As longtime fans (pre-“12s”) will recall, Ruskell (Seattle’s GM before Schneider) chose not to franchise the All-Pro Hutchinson in 2006 and ended up losing him to Minnesota.
Hutch and Hall of Famer Walter Jones keyed the best line in Seattle history in the early to mid-2000s, but Seattle has not been able to field a strong line since Ruskell’s huge mistake. We’ve called it the Curse of Hutch.
Continue reading Will Schneider pay to end Curse of Hutch?
Tom Cable’s offensive line failed because it was passive and predictable and did not use the players’ skills as well as it should have, and the lack of creativity by Cable and Darrell Bevell made it easy for defenses to beat Seattle — according to some great analysis by former Seattle first-round tackle Ray Roberts on 710 ESPN.
Roberts confirmed what we have said for a long time: Cable’s zone scheme has not worked partly because the Seahawks have not incorporated enough pre-snap motion. There has been almost no misdirection to make defenses wonder what is coming.
“There’s no other thing for linebackers or defenders to read,” Roberts said of the running game. “They know exactly where it’s going and they can come right downhill and defend it.”
Continue reading O-line expert: Cable & Bevell were passive, predictable
With playoff hopes slim for the Seahawks, and a Super Bowl hardly a consideration even if they do make the postseason, many people already are looking ahead to 2018.
Some overreactive fools are suggesting the Seahawks blow up the entire team, fire Pete Carroll, trade Russell Wilson and get rid of every defender over 30. That’s complete silliness, obviously.
Carroll and Wilson have presided over the greatest era of Seahawks football — a six-year run that has included 64 wins, five playoff appearances, two Super Bowls and one NFL title. Yeah, it has been a relative disappointment ever since Carroll’s botched XLIX decision — the potential dynasty fizzled out with that huge gaffe.
But these guys have plenty left.
Continue reading Looking ahead to 2018