Houston – They have failed him.
After weeks of inconsistent play, Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim Mora finally placed the blame squarely on the team’s offensive line for not protecting veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
In Seattle’s eight losses this season, the offensive line has allowed 26 sacks.
Mora said there will be changes with the front five next week, with no player certain of a starting job.
“I’m not happy with our offensive line,” Mora said. “I’m not happy at all with them. And if we can make moves to make them better up there, we’re going to make them because it’s unacceptable for our quarterback to stand back there and get hit the way he’s getting hit.”
Hasselbeck was under siege on Sunday, getting sacked three times and hit another six times as the Texans took a page from other defenses that had success against Seattle by constantly blitzing.
Injuries were an issue for the offensive line early in the season, as projected starters have missed 23 games this year. However, the Seahawks have had the same starting five up front for the last five games.
Offensive guard Rob Sims understands that with his unit’s poor performance and the franchise under evaluation with a new general manager eventually coming on board, the offensive line in its current makeup might not be back next season.
“It’s frustrating because the writing’s on the wall,” Sims said. “We all know. We’re trying to stay together, but it’s not going to happen with the situation with the GM stuff that’s going on right now.
“There’s a business side to this, and bottom line Matt was on the ground too much. … It’s garbage. I take pride in keeping Matt off the ground. Unfortunately, today he was down there too much.”
Mora specifically pointed to the struggles of center Chris Spencer, and seemed to question the legitimacy of his injury. Spencer has played with an injured right thumb for the last month, snapping left-handed. The Seahawks had three fumbled snaps on Sunday.
“We’ve got a center that’s trying to snap with his left hand because he’s got a cast on his right hand,” Mora said. “He’s had that on for what seems like forever. I’m not quite sure why he still has a cast on his hand – but he does. That is a factor.
“We see it affecting our shotgun snaps, affecting a lot of our running plays – the timing on offense has to be crisp, and when you can’t get the snap to the quarterback you’ve got no chance in getting a successful play.”
Spencer said he still can’t squeeze the ball with his right hand and that’s why he’s snapping with his left hand.
“If they make changes that’s their decision,” Spencer said. “All we can do is go to work and try to get better.”
Another lineman who struggled is right tackle and offensive captain Ray Willis, who had three false starts on the day, trying to get an extra step in pass blocking on the edge.
“We didn’t play nowhere near of what we’re capable of,” Willis said. “We let the team down. ... We’ve got to fix this.”
However, Hasselbeck said the team’s struggles on offense are not just on the offensive line. The offense as a unit has to do a better job in passing situations.
“The guys up front, they’ve been working hard,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of pride. We’ve just got to play better as a unit. We’ve got to play together, and for sure we’ve got to play better on the road.”