The Seattle Seahawks opened the 2017 NFL season after a off-season of drama and hype with a weak showing against their rival Green Bay Packers. Seattle struggled to do much of anything on the offensive side of the ball and in turn forced the defense to make a few mistakes when tired to lead to a 17-9 win for the Packers. The team’s week one showing has experts and fans asking the same questions they have the past couple years that have held the Seahawks back from being legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
It was the same story, different verse for Seattle on Sunday as it was in 2015 and 2016. The offensive line simply cannot protect star quarterback Russell Wilson. While Wilson is much more mobile than most quarterbacks, he still cannot do everything himself to move the ball. Wilson gets no time to step into the pocket and air the ball out downfield. He looks like he is running for his life on most drives. The run game never gets an opportunity to get going to open up the offensive attack because Seattle cannot get any initial push off the line to form running holes for the backs. The Seahawks only recorded 90 rushing yards as a team Sunday including only 3 yards for starter Eddie Lacy. Seattle’s defense had control of the game until the line again could not protect Wilson when he was strip sacked near his own endzone by Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels, which swung the momentum of the game to the Packers for the rest of the day. Daniels had Seattle guards Mark Glowinski, Luke Joeckel, and center Justin Britt on the ground most of the day and recorded one and a half sacks, which disrupted any rhythm Seattle could gain on offense. Left tackle Rees Odhiambo struggled with Green Bay linebacker Nick Perry on the outside, who also had one and a half sacks. Right tackle Germain Ifedi had his own problems with Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews and Perry on the other side as well. Seattle never really tried any different lineman combinations to try to correct their mistakes either.
Seattle can take away some positives from this loss though. The defense proved that they are back to being the dominant force that has terrified offensive attacks around the league for the past half decade. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was under pressure and was not playing his usual dominant style for most of the game. Rookie defensive lineman Nazair Jones had an interception in the first half, which should have been a pick six if it were not for a horrible penalty call by the referees. The Seahawks pass rush and front seven made life rough for the Packers offensive line and run game, with Rodgers being sacked four times and rushing for only 84 yards as a team. The Legion of Boom made it impossible for the Packers to air the ball out downfield besides Jordy Nelson‘s touchdown catch in the third quarter where Rodgers quick-snapped the ball to draw the Seahawks offsides. Holding one of the best offenses in football scoreless in the first half and only to 17 points total for the game provides great signs for the Seahawks to have a top defense once again in 2017.
It’s no secret that head coach Pete Carroll has to try something different to correct these offensive issues. Carroll was angry most of Sunday on the sidelines with the referees and his team’s performance. Carroll has now been trying for three years to fix the Seahawks issues up front to get them back to a Super Bowl. The Seahawks could look to try some new faces to find some improvement. New free agent acquisition Oday Aboushi has experience at interior line positions that could benefit the Seahawks. The team acquired tackles Matt Tobin and Isaiah Battle during the preseason to help with depth, but both could be tried at either tackle position. Rookie Ethan Pocic was a second round pick in 2017 with potential. The Seahawks do have options, but need to find what unit of five guys work best together. Seattle’s defense is too talented to waste another season of offensive struggles when they could be contending. The Seahawks have plenty of work to do before they can view themselves as a realistic contender for Super Bowl LII.
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