Dave Boling

Dave Boling: How long until Seahawks learn how to protect Wilson?

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson fumbles after being sacked by Detroit lineman Ezekiel Ansah in the second half. Photo taken in Seattle on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson fumbles after being sacked by Detroit lineman Ezekiel Ansah in the second half. Photo taken in Seattle on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. Staff photographer

Russell Wilson should be the guy demanding to renegotiate his contract with the Seahawks.

Yes, he just signed a deal for $87.6 million. But what’s that going to be over the length of the contract, only about a dollar per bruise? Five bucks per sack?

He either needs to get a lot more money for the beating he’s taking, or give about half of it back so the Seahawks can go out and buy some new offensive linemen.

Because the guys who are blocking for him now are going to make him old before his time.

In the Seahawks’ 13-10 win over Detroit on Monday night, Wilson was brilliant under unrelenting pressure, putting together a 125.0 passer rating despite being sacked six times and harried on almost every other of his 26 attempts.

Even in touch football, rushers have to count one Mississippi, two Mississippi before getting a free rush at the quarterback. Wilson rarely got past one Mississippi before he was surrounded by Lions rushers.

With 18 sacks in four games, Wilson is on pace to be sacked 72 times this season — second most all-time. For context, Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles led the NFL with 55 last season.

The glass-half-fullers will not like the critical analysis after this win. Hey, Dave, they’ve won two consecutive games — quit complaining. They’re back in the division race now at 2-2.

Well, there are two prime reasons.

One, the offense will never be anywhere near effective enough to allow this team to reach the competitive level it needs to contend in the conference at this rate.

Yes, the defense is still spectacular. But the offense at this point is mostly just Wilson. Wilson on the run. Wilson avoiding the sack.

With that in mind, you have to ask the question: How long can Wilson take this beating? How long can a human body take this?

Wilson lost two fumbles, which can happen when he’s involved in so many collisions. And he needs to do a better job just chucking it away some times. Some of those sacks are on Wilson, trying to buy too much time, not getting rid of it in the face of imminent doom.

But he makes something out of pure imagination and finely honed survival instincts enough times that he has been conditioned to believe the rewards are worth the risks.

What’s going on in front of him? Not much. Many plays look like the offensive line is setting up a screen pass, intentionally allowing the defenders past them. But they’re not doing it on purpose; they’re just missing their men, or getting shoved back.

At some points in the first four games, every lineman was getting beaten by his man on the same play. It’s not just Wilson and the Seahawks dealing with the paucity of first-rate offensive linemen. There aren’t enough to fill the 32 teams.

Fans are questioning Hawks line coach and run-game coordinator Tom Cable.

My opinion: Cable is an excellent teacher. But they’ve missed on too many draft picks, certainly players he’s suggested they take.

Even when they have expended recent draft picks on the linemen, they’ve missed on too many. James Carpenter was a first-rounder who couldn’t earn a second contract.

John Moffitt was a third-round bust. Second-rounder Justin Britt was moved from right tackle to right guard and is struggling there, too.

Left tackle Russell Okung was a first-rounder, too, who should be the anchor of the line, but seems unlikely to earn a second contract himself.

It’s left them with undrafted free agents at center and right tackle, and a seventh-round converted defensive tackle at right guard.

The Hawks are committed to spending their money on their defensive studs and offensive stars.

That leaves little money for the acquisition of the drones up front. They’ve been able to stay competitive because Wilson is so elusive — and thus far indestructible — and tailback Marshawn Lynch doesn’t need blocking to gain yards.

Well, Lynch was sidelined from getting so banged up. And Wilson, well, he was still ambulatory afterward.

The Seahawks won again. But the last two wins have been over a pair of then-winless teams — the Bears and Lions.

And Sunday they’ve got to face the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals on the road.

They’re going to have to find a way to protect Wilson, their most valuable asset.

Dave Boling: 253-597-8440



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