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The 5 O’Clock Club: Questions with the enemy #2 - Explaining Seattle’s trade for OT Duane Brown

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It’s 5 o’clock somewhere...

NFL: Houston Texans at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

I had a chance to ask Kenneth Arthur, managing editor of the Field Gulls fan blog, five questions about his favorite team, Seattle, whom the Redskins will face off against at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday. This is the second of the five questions & answers. The others will follow between now and Sunday’s kickoff.

I answered five questions asked by Kenneth, and my answers to his questions are posted on Field Gulls.

2. I see that Seattle was active ahead of the trade deadline this week. Can you tell us what happened and how it affects your favorite team?

Details of the trade

The Seahawks traded oft-injured, oft-overrated cornerback Jeremy Lane, plus a 2019 2nd round pick to the Texans for Pro Bowl tackle Duane Brown.

The trade was conditional on Lane passing his physical, but he failed, so Seattle instead swapped their 2018 third round pick for Houston's 2018 pick in the 5th round and kept Lane.

At the time of writing, Lane remains a Seahawk. But so does Brown, and that's the major change of course in Seattle's 2017 season that matters.

Background

Since losing Russell Okung in the 2016 offseason, the Seahawks offensive line situation has come under heavy fire of criticism for being the worst in the league.

Truthfully the problems started a year earlier, though, when they traded Max Unger to the Saints for Jimmy Graham (and draft picks involved there too). The result was that Russell Wilson didn't have an NFL-caliber center snapping him the ball.

The center issue was solved when they moved Justin Britt to that spot prior to the 2016 season, but it only exacerbated their problems at tackle.

I don't think they should have re-signed Okung, who is now the highest-paid lineman in the league (he's a good-not-great tackle to begin with), but their skimping on tackle acquisitions, while defensible, did make it very hard to run the ball successfully or to protect Wilson.

George Fant was the guy who famously hadn't played college football and was starting for the Seahawks at left tackle most of last season, but then he tore his ACL in the summer (when we had high hopes for him because he just looks like a Sasquatch) and the team turned to Rees Odhiambo.

Odhiambo was just a third round guard in 2016 though, and not a good one yet it turned out, but suddenly he's starting for the team at one of the most important positions in football? It was a problem, and Odhiambo was getting embarrassed at best, and putting Wilson in danger at worst.

Wilson has managed to escape countless sacks but the running backs are also getting killed behind the line time and time again.

The acquisition of Brown changes their offensive outlook immensely.

What Duane Brown brings to Seattle

Brown was one of the top left tackles in the NFL last season.

From BattleRedBlog, he should also really help in the run game:

"Houston’s adjusted line yards on left edge rushes was 4.14 (14th) and 4.85 (5th) on left tackle rushes.

With Brown out, Houston was 31st in adjusted line yards on left edge runs and 17th in adjusted line yards on runs over the left tackle. That’s a drop-off of 3.11 and 0.83 from last season.

In his first game back, the Texans averaged six yards a carry on left edge runs and 3.4 yards a carry on left tackle and left guard runs.

Without Brown this season, Houston averaged 2.79 yards and 4.4 yards a carry in the same directions."

What it means for the rest of the roster in coming weeks

On Sunday, Seattle's best offensive lineman was Justin Britt, who was battling a sore ankle.

Their second-best lineman was probably Germain Ifedi, who leads the NFL in penalties.

So now consider how things could look in 2-3 weeks when Luke Joeckel (left guard) returns from injury:

  • their best lineman will be Brown, a three-time Pro Bowler,
  • next will be Britt,
  • third will be Joeckel, who was having a fine season and provides a key veteran presence that they've lacked since losing Okung (and now they've got more of with Brown),
  • followed by Ifedi in fourth place,
  • and they might keep rookie Ethan Pocic (2nd round pick out of LSU) in the lineup too. That's a huge damn difference from where they were on Sunday.

Brown should make everyone at least a little bit better and Russell Wilson with an offensive line -- now that's a fun idea for us here in Seattle.

No guarantees

Could it also just fall apart? I mean yeah, it’s not an overstatement to say that the line has been a disaster so far.

Bill-in-Bangkok: I don’t know about everyone else, but I hadn’t realized the extent of Seattle’s offensive line issues before reading this analysis. It seems as though the injury status of the two teams might be a little more even than I had previously thought.