MontanaHawk05 wrote:You're merely buying into the usual cliche that offensive line is everything in the NFL. Fact is, it's massively overrated as a factor amongst journeyman analysts. Super Bowls have recently been won by teams with both excellent and perfectly average offensive lines. Quarterback is generally the consistent factor, and quarterbacks are arguably enhanced by wide receiver skill.
I will throw something if they spend yet another first-rounder on a guard, especially with Michael Bowie looking very promising and our stable of red-zone targets being lacking.
Apologies up front. This reply kind of got away from me.
I'm similarly dubious of the idea that a red zone big target is the panacea of this offense.
Is it lacking? It is now. But Sidney Rice was that player for us and we didn't make use of him to a measurable degree in that fashion. Rice is faster than Benjamin or Evans. He's definitely got better hands and ball skills than either of those two.
Seattle, whether by design or by QB choice, doesn't really attempt these 'jump ball' kinds of plays. We don't do it in the red zone and we don't do it between the 20s. It seems to me a classic case of transferring what we see as missing versus how this offense WANTS to operate.
This offense is about ball control. It's about limiting the opponents' ability to score. Good defense, good running, lack of turnovers and efficiency are the mother's milk of that strategy.
We have not wanted to or tried to use a big red zone target. Recall the ONE time we did that against Jacksonville. Wilson admitted it was an ad lib play where he didn't really want to throw it but -- well it was Jacksonville and we were curb stomping them and he said, "Ok I'll trust you". I don't think Wilson wants to throw jump balls. He doesn't do it. I don't think it fits with our blueprint for winning. It's risky and that goes against what we're about.
Even if we got a Benjamin or a Coleman, I don't see Wilson trusting them to a degree that the big red zone target even manifests itself. Coleman or Benjamin are going to have to get open. Not just be taller. That's something other teams and QBs do. It's not our thing and I don't think adding more will make it our thing.
Looking at the difference between last year and this year, it's obvious to me that the indicators would suggest we go a different route.
Our rushing dropped by almost 20% per game over last years' production. Was some of that due to injuries on the line? Sure. But even at full strength, our rushing attack has been considerably less effective this year.
Despite having the #1 defense in terms of turnovers forced, yards allowed and points allowed, our TOP ranked in the bottom third of the NFL. Even a no huddle pass happy offense should be in the top half of the league in TOP with a defense that dominant. If our defense was merely good in the 8-10th overall range our TOP would probably be in the bottom 3 of the entire NFL.
This offense is predicated on a stout rushing attack, and we've not been achieving that. Regularly. Even at full strength. We dropped from 5th in yards per attempt down to 12th this year.
The TOP difference is a big indicator for me. Because our efficiency overall for the year was fairly consistent. Our 3rd down conversions dropped significantly, our sacks allowed went from 23rd in Wilson's rookie year to dead last in the NFL this year. Our red zone TD scoring barely dropped at all over last year and was still in the top third of the NFL at 11th (down from 10th last year).
I don't see red zone scoring (or the lack of it) as being an issue for us at all. Our scoring and our efficiency in scoring TDs when we get there remain virtually unchanged. In fact, our points per play and points per game increased over last year.
What has changed, is our ability to move the ball in between the 20s to even get to the red zone in the first place. Our TOP and conversion rates are poor. And outside of scoring, that affects our primary goals of limiting the opponents' ability to score. It is one of the fundamental components of our overall strategy and it's floundering.
We need chain movers. Pure and simple. If we're talking WR, then we need options that Wilson will actually pull the trigger on passes for. Not add options that Wilson is going to avoid due to our tenet of take care of the ball. Jump balls is NOT taking care of the ball. It's going to have virtually no impact for Seattle. For other NFL teams who are less risk averse, a big target is more appealing. But we simply don't call those passes and we don't throw them when the opportunity presents itself. Even when we have Rice on the field who is excellent at that kind of pass. Wilson is not Favre or Cutler and isn't willing to throw it up for grabs like that.
It's easy to think that all we need is just one piece to score points and change everything. But the fact is, we have those pieces to score points and when we get into scoring position, we are scoring at a top five clip. Our problem is uglier and not as sexy and not a one player fix. We have to get into scoring position more frequently. We need to string first down conversions together at a better rate. We do more than fine when we get to where we need to be. We just don't get there enough.
Even though I will concede that we aren't the 32nd rated pass pro line when assuming an average degree of attrition on the OL -- we are also very clearly in the bottom 5 of the league in that category. Which is doubly poor since we do possess a potent rushing attack and we use play action regularly which limits a pass rush by design. We should be immeasurably better at protecting Russell.
But if we aren't going that route, then we need to get receiving options for Russell that he will actually throw to. Guys who can get open and be trusted to catch the ball. Guys that will fight for 50-50 balls. Quite honestly, other than Evans, I don't see that in Coleman's or Benjamin's repertoire. They are passive WRs that just don't attack the ball. And I think that will doom them when we grade them.
I'm very skeptical that getting a big red zone target will have any effect for this offense. It's just that it goes against everything we know this team wants to do to win. And, I have to admit, that I don't see Coleman or Benjamin as being capable of being as good as Rice is. He brings so much more to the table than those two in receiving skills. He has the hops, the skills, the speed, the size. Rice is still the complete package outside of availability. And despite that, we don't do the jump ball thing when he's starting.
The one thing I would concede, is Coleman looks like a red line target we'd use. His size and more importantly, his ramp up speed -- really looks like attributes that Russell can identify and make use of. Coleman has that extra gear when he gets 5-8 yards downfield where he can shake free of corners when he forces them to flip their hips. He has that ability to separate and shake free on a go route.
But his other routes look awkward and he doesn't show really any quickness out of breaks. That limits about 2/3 of the route tree unless he can get better at that.