Seahawks OT Brandon Shell Hopes Offensive Line Builds Off Early Season Success
After quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked a league-leading 48 times in 2019, the Seahawks needed to retool their offensive line over the offseason and that hard work from the team's front office has definitely paid off through three games this season.
While Wilson has been brought down nine different times in 2020, those sacks don’t reflect how well the team’s offensive line has performed, as they’ve provided their signal caller with plenty of time in the pocket during crucial situations. Making an impact in the trenches, they’ve also enjoyed plenty of success creating running lanes as well.
In particular, right tackle Brandon Shell has produced three quality performances during his inaugural season in Seattle. Considering the entire offensive line has enjoyed a ton of success so far, the 28-year old detailed how pleased he’s been with his team’s performance and admitted he’s hoping they can continue building off their unexpected early success.
“It’s been a huge building block I would say, it’s a team effort, it’s all 11 guys,” Shell explained. “When all the 11 guys are clicking, we have good things happen and I think that this is just the beginning because we still have things to work on as well. So we just got to keep building on this.”
Coming over from the Jets in the offseason, Shell signed a two-year, $9 million deal with the Seahawks and hasn’t endured any major issues buying into the team’s program and scheme. As a result, the 6-foot-5, 324-pound offensive tackle was able to make a strong impression during training camp as the undisputed replacement for Germain Ifedi heading into Week 1.
Though he’s committed penalties (false start and a holding infraction) in the last two games, the former fifth-round pick is focusing on Seattle’s mentality of “do right longer” and is confident he’ll be able to clean up the majority of his issues. But considering OTAs and minicamp were canceled, the South Carolina product believes the team’s offensive line will continue improving from week-to-week as the season moves along.
“It’s hard not having that OTA time and offseason time, but I think that we’re still gelling together, we’re still working together, and every week is just a building block for us,” Shell explained.
Even though the offensive line has made notable strides in pass protection this season, they’ve remained very successful in the running game. While the Seahawks haven’t run the ball as much as they’ve wanted to, their front five has still performed extremely well during those limited opportunities, as they’ve been able to keep their defenders in front of them.
Among all 32 teams in the league, Seattle’s offensive line is currently tied for the fourth-best stuffed percentage (13 percent) according to FootballOutsiders.com, meaning Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde, and Travis Homer were stopped at the line of scrimmage or for a loss on less than 15 percent of the team's runs.
Coming over to a new team and learning a different system is never an easy task for any player, especially this season, and it usually makes things even more challenging when you’re paired with a first-year center. But thanks to Ethan Pocic’s stellar work ethic, Shell and the rest of the offensive line has been put in a position to succeed and haven’t faced many communication issues so far.
“I think Ethan [Pocic] is a very smart guy, he puts us in the right position to pick up the blitzes, he puts us in the right protection calls. I think it’s just us kind of gelling together and him putting us in the right spot so we can just go out there and just do our job with less thinking.”