To see the full list of the 30 most important Seahawks in 2013, click here.
Last year, I made some fatal mistakes with this list. Primary among them: not including enough offensive linemen. In fact, I only had ONE – Russell Okung – who sort of represented a catch-all for the entire offensive line. That’s a shame. I mean, one of my founding beliefs when it comes to football is: you’ve got to have a dominant offensive line. You can have the best quarterback in the world, but he can only make up for a deficient O-Line so much before he gets injured or a case of the yips. Your offense simply won’t work if you’re being protected by tackling dummies.
Last year is an interesting case study in an offensive line. Russell Okung was a Pro Bowler. Max Unger was an All Pro. Surrounded by them were quietly effective linemen who – when combined as a unit – represented one of the best lines in football. The Seahawks have proven that you can get by with journeymen at the guard position, as long as you’ve got a superior left tackle and one of the best centers in the game. Max Unger in particular helps this line in ways the average fan will never realize. He elevates the game of the guards around him.
Of course, that doesn’t mean he can do everything. It would be nice to have these guard positions hold their own. At the moment, John Moffitt is in a battle to win the starting Right Guard spot with J.R. Sweezy. By all accounts, Sweezy is the superior run blocker, but he’s still getting beat on occasion in pass protection. You’ll notice there were a few key moments late last season – and in the playoffs – where Wilson was harassed by an inside rush too early, killing a few drives. John Moffitt might not have the ability to bulldoze opposing tackles, but it seems like he’s better suited to keep Wilson from being destroyed.
I know this team is all about running the football. That’s an identity I can get behind, for sure. But, when push comes to shove and we’re in a two-minute situation (or, God-forbid, a come-from-behind-down-multiple-scores situation), and this team absolutely NEEDS to throw the ball and get yards in chunks, I feel much more comfortable right now with Moffitt’s abilities.
I doubt that Moffitt will win the starting job, but that doesn’t mean he won’t play. Last year, he seemed to be part of a guard rotation, and I don’t see any reason why we won’t see more of that this year. Obviously, you can’t just put Moffitt in when you want to throw; the defense will key in on that and expose you. So, it’s my hope that the high draft pick figures out a way to put the whole package together and win that starting job.
At the very least, it’s nice to know we have options. Injuries strike all the time. Having four starting-calibre guards for two positions is pretty outstanding.