The San Francisco 49ers are long-shots at best to upset the Seattle Seahawks, but they do have one area where they might be able make some noise on Sunday. The Seahawks offensive line was particularly bad against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, and it is unlikely to see much improvement in Week 2. I don’t know if that will be enough to make this game competitive, but it’s one of the few areas where the 49ers have a chance to attempt to impose their will.
I sat down with Kenneth Arthur over at Field Gulls to discuss this weekend’s matchup, and naturally I asked about the line. The Seahawks offensive line is bad, and it does not seem like the team is doing nearly enough to address it. Kenneth offered a correct in that regard, but he understands why people see such a poor offensive line in Seattle. Here’s what he had to say. I’ll have more from Kenneth today and tomorrow, and I’ll get a link to my answers over at FG later today.
I don't think you're misreading the situation in terms of how bad it is, but I do think you're underestimating how much they've done to try and fix it. The Seahawks had perhaps the worst line in the NFL last year (some places just flat-out say it's the worst and I think that overall line evaluation is far too nuanced and unknown for anyone to make that claim with any form of substance beyond knowing it was bad and that the rest of the team is good so it stands out even more) and they did a lot to try and change that.
Seattle signed Luke Joeckel to a one-year, $8 million deal, which is more than they spent on the entire line in 2016. He is the left guard and in Week 1 he struggled mightily against Mike Daniels and company. It was gross. But they did double their spending on one player alone. They also tried to sign T.J. Lang, who is much better and more expensive but signed with his hometown Lions for basically the same amount of money that the Seahawks offered him. So they did try.
They spent a third round pick on Rees Odhiambo last year and he's now the left tackle, though it was supposed to be George Fant before he tore his ACL. So that's not even really the Seahawks fault that their left tackle is Odhiambo and that he's playing poorly; I mean, it is, but also it wasn't meant to be this way, so I can't call it a total lack of effort. Fant was looking pretty good.
They signed Justin Britt to a three-year extension, so clearly they want to keep the good players on the line around. He's developing into a top-10 center, so I think that's also something to consider.
They also spent a 2016 first round pick on Germain Ifedi, who is the right tackle now. He seems to be getting a little bit better each week, though he's still one of the lesser right tackles in the NFL. But they spent a first on him and also spent a second rounder this year on Ethan Pocic, who backs up Ifedi, as well as Britt, Joeckel, and right guard Mark Glowinski.
So I think that they've done a lot to try and fix it. I also think they probably won't appear to be doing much in 2018 to change things either, but rather hope that continuity will have a more positive effect than throwing a bunch of money at it. I mean, look around the NFL, Fooch. It's easier to find the teams that have a great offensive line (there are maybe five of them?) than it is to find the ones that have a bad offensive line (half of the league?) and the Seahawks are among the ones that have a terrible line. But the inexperience (the five starters have 23 combined career starts at their current positions with Seattle) and lack of chemistry because of how unfamiliar everyone is with one another, will continue to sink their chances of giving Russell Wilson time and the running backs lanes to cut through. That probably won't improve much against the 49ers, but I think Seattle's defense and Wilson's mobility/creativity/ability will still make them a division winner, and it's the fact that a division winner is so awful at a certain position that makes the Seahawks line stand out more than most.... I think.