Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable says there was obvious improvement for his players in the win over the 49ers Sunday but more is needed going forward.
After scoring 15 points combined in the first two games of the season, the Seahawks had 14 on the first two drives Sunday on their way to 37 in a rout of the 49ers.
So what changed for an offensive line that took the brunt of the criticism for the first two games?
Not all that much, according to line coach Tom Cable.
Cable said the outburst was due largely to some gradual improvement, as well as executing well on some specific plays, all of which will be needed to continue going forward.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Despite report he's transferring back to Washington, Fresno State QB Jake Haener says he remains uncommitted
- With Robbie Ray, Adam Frazier on board and more moves expected, Mariners are primed for Seattle takeover
- UW men's basketball game Thursday vs. No. 11 Arizona postponed due to COVID-19
- New UW Huskies football coach Kalen DeBoer has already earned his first win
- Report: Cade, Jack Beresford plan to transfer from Washington State football
“Well we made some improvement,” Cable said Wednesday during his regular weekly meeting with the media. “You’ve been hearing me say that each week and I’m really stuck on that right now. You don’t want to get too high and not too low when you have your failures. But grow. We just need to continue to grow and we’re doing that. I thought it was a clean first half and then in the second half some inconsistency. I thought our pad level got up and some things like that. Being able to maintain it for the long haul will be the next step for them.”
As Cable acknowledged, the New York Jets will provide another stiff test for the Seahawks this week, featuring one of the better defensive lines in the NFL, a challenge enhanced by making the trip three time zones east to play on the road.
Cable, though, said the 49ers’ game marked a definite step in the right direction particularly in the mental aspects for a line featuring new starters at all but one position, and only one player who has been a starter with the Seahawks for more than a year.
“Understanding protection,” Cable said of the biggest improvement the line has made this year. “From week one, understanding the system with new guys and people in different spots. But going back a year now, just wanting to be better and connected to our quarterback in terms of how we target the protections. And we’re on it. We want to continue to keep doing it and grow that way.”
One of those new players is left tackle Bradley Sowell, who signed in the off-season as a free agent after playing with Arizona, where he was a reserve the last two seasons.
Coaches have cited Sowell as a player who has improved markedly as he has begun to understand the system.
“I think that he’s about 80 percent in adapting to us in our system and how we do things,” Cable said. “I would think he’d be the first to tell you that he missed two cut blocks in that game that were big runs. So there’s a step that he hasn’t taken yet to clean it up all the run. But then in the long run, he punches that guy’s ticket, knocks him out and there’s a big lane in there. So there’s good news and then there’s still some things that we’re working on. Still trying to improve. What I’m fired up for Brad is that he continues to grow with us. I think that’s the important thing. Sometimes it’s hard when guys come from the outside or they’re young.”
Asked how much growth is still left for Sowell, Cable said: “Oh there’s a ton. Can’t see the ceiling still.”
Sowell didn’t disagree, saying that a review of the film showed that the offense could have been more productive than it was.
“It could’ve been a really dominant day,” he said. “It ended up being a good day but it could’ve been a really dominant day. There were some yards out there that we left and it could’ve been a special day. We’re going to keep getting better it was nice to run for quite a few yards but with a few things cleaned up it could be special eventually.”
Sowell, though, said he also felt the challenges of the Dolphins and Rams the first two weeks paid off in showing the Seahawks where they needed to get better.
“It was kind of crazy, after the first two weeks, getting out there last week, we felt really prepared,” he said. “You kind of get your mindset when you face those two good D-lines back-to-back then you go out there versus the Niners. It’s a more normal D-line, you don’t have the [Robert] Quinn’s and the [Aaron] Donald’s, so you’re extremely prepared. I feel like we’ve been against two really good ones and we’re going against another good one this week that we should be ready for.”