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Hawk Talk highlights: Offensive-line issues

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The Seahawks are 7-1 despite having to play backups along their offensive line for most of the season. (AP)

By Brady Henderson

The Seahawks have a division- and conference-leading 7-1 record at the mid-point of the season.

It doesn't quite feel that way based on concerns about an offensive line that allowed a season-high seven sacks against St. Louis, bringing the total to 19 over the last five games.

Questions about Seattle's offensive line dominated the latest edition of "Hawk Talk" with Danny O'Neil. The chat transcript can be found here. Highlights are below.

Just Flynn Baby was in disbelief that the Seahawks did not acquire an offensive lineman before the trade deadline.

Danny O'Neil: So here's the thing: You believe that this front office – which made 200-some roster moves in its first year – was afraid to make a move that it thought would upgrade its position? You think that this front office – which has turned the Seahawks franchise around, found a franchise quarterback in the third round and drafted Pro Bowlers at free safety, strong safety and signed a Pro Bowl cornerback out of the CFL – is now bad at evaluating talent?

Just Flynn Baby responded by saying Seattle could have found a starting guard or tackle by giving up a second- or third-round pick.

Danny O'Neil: Because that works in the NFL? To just "go get" a starting guard or tackle at the deadline?

Just Flynn Baby said the Seahawks are "horrible" at evaluating offensive-line talent.

Danny O'Neil: They are horrible because they took a defensive lineman in the seventh round and converted him to guard? James Carpenter looks like a bad pick. John Moffitt obviously washed out. But Russell Okung is a Pro Bowler, Max Unger became a Pro Bowler under their regime and they're currently missing two starting offensive tackles, and you see that as evidence of incompetence.

Just Flynn Baby said the Seahawks' front office hasn't moved on from its mistakes on the offensive line.

Danny O'Neil: I'm pretty sure, if we go back 12 months ago, you were swearing that this team was incompetent at evaluating quarterbacks. Or maybe you still think that. It's fair to criticize the decisions that have been made along the offensive line, especially with regard to James Carpenter. It's also fair to question the rationale that led to sticking with Sweezy ahead of Moffitt. That's proof that this front office and scouting department is not perfect. It doesn't demonstrate incompetence.

Russell asked about the level of concern regarding Seattle's offensive line.

Danny O'Neil: One being it's of no concern, five being it's an area that requires considerable improvement to advance in the playoffs and 10 being panicked insistence that this will absolutely submarine the team to a 10-win season? I'm about a five. It's an area of extreme concern, and if the level of play there doesn't improve, it will prevent this team from making a deep postseason run.

sandhu_10 asked whether Russell Wilson would be better served quarterbacking an offense that places a bigger priority on protecting him.

Danny O'Neil: He's at his best when he has the freedom to improvise, as he's currently doing. I think this kind of offense is what suits him best. It features the play-action pass, allows him to roll out and has a coach that doesn't mind him improvising. The issue is that he's under such pressure that he's in danger of being hurt.

Tony asked whether receiver Ricardo Lockette is a candidate to be signed off the practice squad with Sidney Rice out and Percy Harvin's status up in the air.

Danny O'Neil: Sure. Definitely a candidate. That said, I've seen enough of Ricardo Lockette over his time here to say that it would be too much to expect him to single-handedly improve the offense. Or do it with both hands, for that matter. But sure, he could help.

These arent the Hawks youre looking for asked what Seattle's biggest strength and weakness is.

Danny O'Neil: Greatest strength: The play at the back end with the man-coverage ability on the outside and Earl Thomas' range. Biggest weakness: The offensive line, specifically pass protection. Biggest long-term concern: This team is losing its offensive identity. They want to run the ball first and Marshawn Lynch had three carries.

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