Seahawks have top-5 Guard duo?
DK Metcalf talks to the refs, Devon Witherspoon is a beast, and The Shining fans are scary on Seaside Streams: Seaside Joe 1719
Many of us have watched every Seahawks game in the past “however-many”-years (stretching back decades for a lot of you), and that’s still not usually enough information to know if the team has a top-five guard, let alone a duo. We can debate quarterbacks and receivers until our WiFi goes out. It doesn’t even matter if we’re right or wrong, NFL fans can argue with more confidence that they know where their favorite QB ranks than they can speak on who the 34th President was or what they had for lunch last Thursday.
But is Damien Lewis a top-5 left guard?
If most people could answer that question, I honestly do not think that PFF would even exist. Fans are so reliant on getting outside help to know what to think of offensive linemen that often the only source that gets cited for quality assessment and ranking is ProFootballFocus. Readers of this newsletter already know that I would trust PFF as far as I could push Phil Haynes down a football field, but that’s a story for another episode.
I still do not know if I can trust YouTubers like The Football Scout, but at least he shows his work.
The Football Scout has been hyping up the Seahawks offensive line as a top-five unit for at least the past year and nothing about his tune has changed with his latest assessments of Damien Lewis, Phil Haynes, and the recently-added Jason Peters. The Football Scout talks about Lewis, Haynes, and Evan Brown (and Olu Oluwatimi when he’s playing) in ways that no other resource on the Internet does, as if they’re a top-three interior offensive line. Do I believe it?
Well, the good news is that I don’t have a good reason to believe anyone else either.
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Here’s a comment left by The Football Scout on the video in response to a question of why nobody else puts Seattle’s offensive line in the top-10:
It depends on who you trust. If you go to PFF for example and read there rankings. Do you think it's possible for PFF Jim to really watch every OL in the NFL every week. At the same time write other random articles on fantasy, QBs, college football, etc etc? My point is, Do you think the person who writes articles really watches the tape? I can tell you I do. I watch every single OL out there pretty much most weeks. And there are gems out there that people don't talk about because they don't watch OL. Tyler Smith, Damien Lewis, Nate Davis, Teven Jenkins, Chris Lindstrom, Matthew Bergeron, Landon Dickerson, Cam Jurgens.. the List goes on and on. A QB can throw for 5K yards and you can tell he's good based on stats. For OL, there are no stats. So you really have to follow the person who watches tape.
It’s a good answer and I can tell you there’s two sides to it:
In Football Scout’s defense, he’s 100% right about stats and trusting anonymous sources from PFF, who make claims about evaluating quality of play that couldn’t possibly be true.
On the other hand, I think it is smart for everyone to be distrusting of selective tape analysis. I’m not calling The Football Scout an intentionally biased narrator, I’m just saying that it is possible and we see it with other positions all the time, especially quarterback: Leaving Geno Smith out of it for now, anyone who follows the draft closely knows that you can make a highlight reel for the top-20 quarterback prospects that could make them seem like the next Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrow.
Do we get to see Haynes and Lewis’s bad plays? Do we talk about the killer penalties that happen every season? How does that stack up against other guards in the NFL?
My answer for whether or not the Seahawks have a top-5 guard duo or a top-8 interior offensive line is that I do not really know and I do not expect to find out. What’s important for the Seahawks to figure out between now and March is what they’re willing to pay to keep the interior offensive linemen that they have right now for the long-term future:
Lewis, Haynes, and Brown are all free agents.
If the NFL actually viewed Damien Lewis or Phil Haynes as GREAT—as in top-5—guards, they could make $16 million or more per season. On the other hand, if they’re viewed as really dependable but reasonably replaceable, they’d be getting paid closer to $5-$8 million per season.
Do you want to root for Lewis and Haynes to be hyped up as being so good that they’re not affordable? Or would you prefer that they’re good enough but not worth making a fuss about in free agency?
The Seahawks did draft Oluwatimi and Anthony Bradford in the hopes that both could become starters by 2024 and that would allow the team to potentially lose Haynes (who is at best not somebody who can trusted to play in more than half of your games) and try to re-sign Lewis. Brown, the most versatile of the bunch, could also be re-signed and that is adviseable given the number of injuries that do occur in the NFL and especially to the big men.
Here are a few more viewing recommendations from Week 11’s Seaside Streams.
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