A Look at the Film: The Seahawks Should Be Excited About Luke Joeckel

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For the past two years, the Seattle Seahawks have had relatively lackluster free agency periods. In 2016 Seattle needed an offensive lineman, so they bought some in J’Marcus Webb and Bradley Sowell. Neither of whom will be returning for 2017, this year the Seahawks faced the same need for lineman and brought in the former number two overall pick, Luke JoeckelJoeckel has been billed as a major disappointment in Jacksonville, the team that drafted him, to the point where they didn’t pick up the fifth-year option on their 2013 first rounder. On March 9th, 2017 Joeckel signed an $8 million contract with the Seahawks, seven of which is guaranteed. Joeckel and former Packers running back Eddie Lacy consist of the big names signed by Seattle during the 2017 free agency period.

After taking a look at Joeckel in Jacksonville it became clear that the talk of him being a major disappointment needed to be put into perspective. While he may not have lived up to expectations of the number two overall pick, Joeckel is a competent lineman who will bring an instant upgrade to this struggling Seattle line. His addition, along with that of guard Oday Aboushi, will allow Seattle to get their five best players on the line to protect their star quarterback Russell Wilson.

A Look at the Film: The Seahawks should be Excited about Luke Joeckel

Even with the relatively large one year contract for Joeckel, it’s a great signing by the Seattle front office to attempt to shore up their line.  Due to injury the veteran lineman only played three complete games in 2016, despite that he demonstrated good technique, talent, athleticism and strength through those games. With his large contract, Joeckel is almost guaranteed to start, although that won’t be an issue, he is leaps and bounds ahead of almost all the Seattle lineman except center Justin Britt, who may give him a run for his money.

A Look at the Film: Seattle Seahawks Opening Drive Against the Atlanta Falcons

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After trouncing the Detroit Lions in the Wildcard round of the playoffs the Seahawks were set to make a trip to the Georgia Dome and face the red hot Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons opened as three-point favorites over the team they had taken down to the wire in a week six loss. Throughout the season they Seahawks had proved inconsistent on offense. Seattle made a point to march down the field and score on the opening drive but throughout the game again proved inconsistent.

 

A Look at the Film: Seattle Seahawks Opening Drive Against the Atlanta Falcons

On multiple occasions throughout the opening drive, Seattle’s young offensive line was put to the test, from stunting defensive tackles to the “wide 9” front which puts the tackles on an island. Both Garry Gilliam and George Fant struggle but Fant has the hardest time by far dealing with Adrian Clayborn. An interesting wrinkle to the blocking schemes on much of the first drive is a few times tight end Luke Willson is tasked with blocking Vic Beasley, He does an admirable job but is beaten a few times.

For the most part, Seattle was able to move the ball at will whether it be with handoffs to Thomas Rawls, scrambles from Russell Wilson or well-designed route combinations. Rawls was averaging almost 5 yards per carry on the opening drive and looked like the running back that wowed fans in 2015. Doug Baldwin was toasting defensive backs and making athletic grabs to keep the drive alive.  Seattle’s use of stacked formations, play action passing and excellent execution.

The Seattle offensive unit looked as good as it would all day on the opening drive, giving fans a glimmer of hope that Seattle would pull off another underdog win. That wouldn’t last long as mistakes started to pile up on the second drive of the game which resulted in a Seattle safety. The loss of guard Germain Ifedi on the opening drive cannot be understated as replacement Rees Odhiambo was directly responsible for the safety on the next drive.  The Seahawks would fail to score another touchdown until the fourth quarter down by a couple scores.

What Seattle showed on the first drive is promising going into 2017 as the only missing link seems to be a consistent offensive line. With the playmakers for Seattle signed through 2017 and a young offensive line that can only get better, fans should be optimistic going forward that what they saw on the opening drive can be a consistent theme offensively for Seattle going forward.