A post-season review of the Seahawks' offensive line, which was a lightning rod for criticism throughout the 2015 season.

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Maybe the one consensus opinion about the 2015 Seattle Seahawks was that the offensive line wasn’t very good.

Or, in some more kinder quarters, that it took a while to find its stride.

Pro Football Focus certainly agreed, rating the Seahawks 30th of the 32 offensive lines at the end of the season

But then, what to make of the fact that the 2015 Seahawks gained more yards than any team in franchise history (6,058), were fourth in the NFL in total offense and scored three more offensive touchdowns than the 2013 team that won the Super Bowl (45) and did so largely without Marshawn Lynch and for a third of the season without Jimmy Graham? Was it all Russell Wilson’s passing? Darrell Bevell’s play-calling?

As we continue our review of Seattle’s position groups, a look at the offensive line that was:

Starters: Left Tackle Russell Okung

Age: 27.

Snaps played: 849 (of 1,079 total).

Contract situation: Unrestricted free agent.

Left guard Justin Britt

Age: 24.

Snaps played: 1,078.

Contract situation: Contract runs through 2017.

Center Patrick Lewis

Age: 24.

Snaps played: 600.

Contract situation: Restricted free agent.

Right guard J.R. Sweezy

Age: 26.

Snaps played: 1,005.

Contract situation: Unrestricted free agent.

Right tackle Garry Gilliam

Age: 25.

Snaps played: 1,058.

Contract situation: Signed through 2016.


Alvin Bailey

Age: 24.

Snaps played: 272

Contract situation: Restricted free agent.

Mark Glowinski

Age: 23.

Snaps played: 73

Contract situation: Signed through 2018.

Lemuel Jeanpierre

Age: 28.

Snaps played: 25.

Contract situation: Unrestricted free agent.

Kristjan Sokoli

Age: 24.

Snaps played: None on offense but did appear on special teams against Arizona in the season finale.

Contract situation: Signed through 2018.

2015 review

Not mentioned above is Drew Nowak, who was the starting center for seven of the first eight games. Nowak started the first five games before giving way to Lewis, who then got hurt, putting Nowak back into the lineup for two more games.

The switch to Lewis was regarded as a key to stabilizing the line and leading to the second-half offensive surge that got the Seahawks into the playoffs. The most vivid statistical representation of the improvement of the offensive line in the second half of the season? After the Seahawks allowed 31 sacks in the first seven games of the season the Seaahwks gave up just 15 in the last nine. It wasn’t all as simple as saying the line played better — Wilson got rid of the ball more decisively in an offense that emphasized quick passes. But the line undoubtedly improved as the season wore on.

The first half of the season also saw the line still adjusting to a move made a week into pre-season when Gilliam was switched from backup left tackle to starting right tackle, moving Britt from starting right tackle to starting left guard, and making Bailey a reserve.

Gilliam, Britt and Bailey remained in those roles the rest of the season, as did mainstays Okung at left tackle and Sweezy at right guard, with the switch of Nowak and Lewis being the only time all season the team made a lineup change based on performance.

A potentially significant thing happened in the season finale when Sweezy missed the Arizona game and was replaced by Glowinski as the Seahawks went on to beat the NFC champs Cardinals 36-6. Seattle coaches could hardly have sounded more impressed with the play of Glowinski, who may move into a starting role in 2016 depending on how free agency shakes out.

Grade: C-minus. Simply blaming everything bad that happened to the offense in 2015 on the line is probably too simplistic of a way of looking at things. But there is still lots of room to grow, and moves to be made, on the offensive line.

Offseason objectives

Conventional wisdom is that Okung — who is representing himself in his negotiations — is probably gone. Sweezy is also an unrestricted free agent and the Seahawks will also have a decision to make there, as well.

One thought if Okung moves on is that the Seahawks could switch Gilliam to left tackle and Britt back to right tackle while installing Glowinski at one guard spot. Bailey, if he is re-signed, could contend for one of the other guard spots, with Lewis likely to return as center. Coach Pete Carroll also sounds pretty enamored of the potential of Sokoli at center.

Terry Poole, a fourth-round pick in 2014, also is still in the mix, finishing the year on the practice squad and recently re-signed to a futures contract. Coaches also seem to like Will Pericak, a guard/center who spent the season on the practice squad. Nowak also was re-signed to a futures deal.

The Seahawks could also venture into the free agent market, though that’s not something they have done a lot of on the offensive line in the last few years. And the comments of general manager John Schneider during a pair of radio interviews on Friday seemed to foreshadow not to expect the Seahawks to necessarily make a complete overhaul up front, saying that the line is an emphasis but that the team will stick with its philosophy of not drafting for need rather than the best player.

Still it won’t be a surprise if this is a season when the Seahawks exhaust every avenue to add to the line, via free agency and using a few of the 10 or so picks the team is likely to have in the draft.

Up next: Defensive line.