Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

01 Aug 2009

Seahawks Release Mike Wahle

In FOA 2009, we suggested that the Seahawks' offense was virtually guaranteed to be healthier this year. Perhaps we were wrong. After failing a physical, guard Mike Wahle was released by the Seattle Seahawks on the first day of training camp. Wahle has struggled to recover from arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder over the offseason, and will likely retire. The Seahawks will move right guard Rob Sims (who played only one game last year over to left guard, and Mansfield Wrotto (four starts last season) will battle second-round draft pick Max Unger for the right guard slot.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 01 Aug 2009

10 comments, Last at 03 Aug 2009, 12:31pm by Alljack


by JoeHova :: Sun, 08/02/2009 - 7:24am

It's a shame to see Wahle retire, I always liked him. He had a pretty good career.

by bremoboy :: Sun, 08/02/2009 - 8:25am

Does this temper the Julius Jones-gasm?

by Key19 :: Sun, 08/02/2009 - 12:59pm

That was my exact question. Minus the "-gasm."

by Jeff M. (not verified) :: Sun, 08/02/2009 - 6:45pm

Totally off the wall question:

Has any team ever rotated O-line players? I know that fatigue/fresh legs isn't as much of an issue with OL as DL, but it has to make some difference. To my mind, the Seahawks have Walter Jones plus a bunch of guys on similar levels (good potential, not a lot of proven performance): Sims, Spencer, Locklear, Willis, Wrotto, Unger, (plus didn't they just sign Ruegamer?). With some inter-changeability of the OL positions in a ZBS, couldn't you get some use out of doing a run-heavy no-huddle, rotating fresh guys in for each series? As long as you can keep moving the chains (and your defense can get off the field quickly), the defense's front seven gets more and more tired, while fresh guys keep coming in and running at them (I'm assuming rotation for RB/FB as well). I know line continuity is important (and particularly for pass-blocking, it would seem), but if you practiced with a third of the reps Jones-Sims-Spencer-Wrotto-Locklear, a third Jones-Sims-Unger-Wrotto-Willis, and a third Locklear-Ruegamer-Spencer-Unger-Willis, it seems like you could get enough familiarity (plus protect yourself against injuries...).

by Jerry :: Sun, 08/02/2009 - 7:24pm

In the early-to-mid seventies, the Steelers would move guys in and out by quarter. Ray Mansfield split time at center with Jim Clack, then Mike Webster.

by Vincent Verhei :: Sun, 08/02/2009 - 8:15pm

In the days before helmet radios, Paul Brown would rotate his guards on the Browns, and the guards would relay the play call to the quarterback.

by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Sun, 08/02/2009 - 10:49pm

Yes, Brown used guards as play-messengers, not just prior to helmet-radios but prior to the proliferation of color television. And several teams in the seventies rotated OL, mostly guards.

Now, the sanctity of the OL as a single organism is more valued, and especially for teams employing a zone-blocking scheme. The timing of "handing off" a DL from one blocker to the other is crucial to a)be effective and b)avoid a chop-block infraction. Also, in a zone scheme, fatigue is not much of an issue. Run-blocking, especially in a zone scheme, is far less fatiguing than pass-blocking.

by Kyle H-L (not verified) :: Mon, 08/03/2009 - 3:22am

As a high school offensive lineman I can tell that you are definitely not an offensive lineman. My team runs a zone blocking scheme and cohesion is probably one of the two or three most important elements of run blocking and pass blocking. A miscommunication can lead to a skill player getting hurt so it's really really crucial that the group works together well and I don't think one can get that with a constantly rotating line.

by MJK :: Mon, 08/03/2009 - 11:45am

Belichick, I think, talked about rotating O-lines in a recent press conference (or some other coach I listen to from time to time). Whoever it was said that there are advantages in rotating O-linemen from a freshness point of view, but that you lose a lot from a continuity point of view, and that most coaches/teams in the NFL have decided that you lose too much from a continuity point of view to make up for the freshness.

Just speculation on my part, but part of it could be that the offense controls the pace. So if your guys are getting tired, you can slow down the pace of plays, but if your guys are fresh, you can speed things up and force the defense to rotate or play tired. Another factor could be that, on most defenses, the defenders each have a gap assignment and work that gap pretty much independently from what their fellow defenders are doing in their gap. But the O-linemen regularly have to group together in different pairings to protect certain parts of the field, and so continuity is more important...

by Alljack (not verified) :: Mon, 08/03/2009 - 12:31pm

After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, Mike Wahl was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the second round of the supplemental draft in 1999. During his 10 year pro career, he played in 151 games. Good luck Mike, on what the future may hold, and thanks. Hope you don't have to serve your enlistment now.