Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made it plain on Monday what he felt was the main issue facing the Seattle offense right now — a beat-up offensive line.
Seattle has played the last two games without three starters — left tackle Russell Okung, right tackle Breno Giacomini and center Max Unger.
Unger should be back this week, which will help.
Still, the tackle spots will remain manned by backups, and the play of guards J.R. Sweezy and James Carpenter has also come into question.
But just how much has the offensive line struggled so far?
Quite a bit, according to the latest offensive line ratings of Pro Football Focus, which determines that only the Baltimore Ravens have had worse play up front so far (and yes, that means even winless Jacksonville has been better).
PFF says in its summary of the Seahawks:
They lost Russell Okung and are currently without Max Unger. Two men who just happen to be their best linemen. That has hurt, but the J.R. Sweezy experiment isn’t working out and they’re just not executing right now.
Here’s another metric, from AdvancedNFLStats, that is slightly kinder to the Seattle line, if only a little, ranking the Seahawks at 23rd.
Each, essentially, gives some statistical evidence to what has been obvious simply watching the games — the OL has struggled in its remade form, in particular in pass protection, leaving QB Russell Wilson under constant pressure.
As PFF also wrote this week “Wilson faced pressure on 22 of 42 dropbacks.”
He ultimately attempted 31 passes, being sacked twice.
On the other nine pass attempts, Wilson demonstrated his rather immense value to the team in its current state, scrambling nine times for 91 yards.
As PFF also detailed, Wilson threw just fine when he had time, going 11-of-17 for 150 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a QB rating of 132.0 on passes when he was deemed not under pressure.
The good news is that Unger’s return should help solidify things, and that Giacomini should be back in a few weeks and Okung by mid-to-late-November.
Until then, Wilson will probably needs to use his running shoes quite a bit.