December 16th, 2017 - Seattle has just placed star safety Kam Chancellor on injured reserve after suffering a major neck injury. It seems all but certain his career is over. While the mainstream media focuses on the loss of the physical DB, Seahawks OG Mark Glowinski has also been released in a corresponding roster move. It’s the low point of his career and gets no more than a small blurb on NFL sites around the country. Thankfully, he won’t be stuck in the shadows for long.
Drafted 134th overall back in 2015 out of West Virginia, Glowinski played limited minutes in his rookie season - not something unexpected out of a 4th Round lineman. Posting a pedestrian 53.1 PFF grade on just 73 snaps, it was a learning year - and one that allowed him to grow into a starting role for the 2016 season. With the offensive line in shambles, Seattle needed Glowinski to step up in that upcoming year, and he hoped to do just that. Unfortunately, an expanded role came with disastrous results, which wasn’t something uncommon in the Pacific Northwest.
See, the Seahawks under OL Coach Tom Cable drafted 15 offensive linemen from 2010 to 2018 - the most of any team in that span. Yet, due to Cable’s incompetency, the line remained a crippling weakness on an otherwise stacked roster.
Under Cable, they experimented with the likes of James Carpenter, John Moffit, Terry Poole, Ethan Pocic, Justin Senior, Reese Odhiambo, Michael Bowie, Garrett Scott, Joey Hunt, Germaine Ifedi, and even converted defensive linemen Kristjan Sokoli and J.R. Sweezy among others. Most of those sound unfamiliar? That’s because they couldn’t keep Russell Wilson upright.
Ultimately, just one of those 15 linemen drafted ended up re-signing with the team (Justin Britt), which speaks to the lack of development that the organization was able to provide.
Despite all of this, however, Glowinski was able to manage a decent 2016 season as a full-time starter. Make no mistake - it wasn’t spectacular - but Glowinski served his role and did what he needed to do. Posting a 64.7 PFF offensive grade, Glowinski showed off the power and aggressiveness that made him a sought after target back in 2015, and was extremely efficient against the run as a result.
As is the typical case with Seahawk linemen though, he struggled severely in the passing game, allowing 29 hurries and a whopping 44 pressures. He needed to improve in 2017 or his starting spot was in danger. Long story short - he didn’t.
Posting an abysmal 23.9 pass-blocking grade in his first couple of games, Glowinski was benched in favor of Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi and never saw the field for the Seahawks again. He was released on December 16th and subsequently claimed by Indianapolis. It seemed like it may be the nail in the coffin for his NFL career, but getting away from Cable and his clunky zone scheme was a blessing in disguise for Glowinski’s game.
You know that meme where you see a picture, you put an Uno reverse card next to it, and then right beside it is the complete opposite of the original picture. That’s Mark Glowinski’s NFL career.
After a porous stint in Seattle, Glowinski latched on with the Colts, providing much-needed flexibility and depth on an overhauled 2018 unit. He ended up playing a way bigger role than expected, however, when starting RG Matt Slauson landed on injured reserve in Week 6. The hope was that once Glowinski was thrown to the wolves he would do enough to not be considered a liability - simply get the job done and nothing more. As it turned out, the former West Virginia guard would do a lot more than just that.
Posting a rock-solid 68.7 PFF overall grade, Glowinski’s ability against the pass improved night and day, allowing just 1 sack and 13 hurries in over 700 snaps played. Catering more towards his strengths, Indianapolis allowed him to be much more aggressive and simplistic in his pass sets, and Glowinski was much better off for it as a result. In his 10 games started, the team went 8-2, and ESPN’s Seth Walder even went as far to say that Glowinski had the highest pass block win rate among all guards with at least 250 pass blocks.
Mark Glowinski played really well for the Colts against the Texans. He's really put together a nice season for them. Impressive at how well that offensive line has looked pic.twitter.com/oE9ZfsE2Kx— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) January 9, 2019
After the season ended he would go on to sign a 3 year, 18 million dollar deal to stay with the Colts organization, and he comes into this upcoming season as a locked-in starter.
It may have surprised many when Colts’ offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo was fired this past off-season, given the unit’s spectacular play under his supervision. However, he wasn’t hired by the Frank Reich regime, and despite the success, he and Reich weren’t on the same page. Thus, enter Chris Strausser and the re-hiring of former OL coach Howard Mudd.
Mudd returns after an 11-year stint as the Colts’ OL coach (1998-2009) in a senior offensive assistant role. The 77-year old is known league-wide as a “coaching legend”, so his return means great things for Glowinski and the Colts’ line.
My colleague Zach Hicks wrote a great article breaking down what exactly to expect out of this new staff’s philosophy, but to sum it up - aggression will be key. In Mudd’s past, he’s used extremely aggressive pass sets, and kept things simple. As Cover 4’s Erik Turner noted, “He wants his linemen to be problem solvers, not robots.” Thankfully, Glowinski fits in perfectly with this style of play being implemented.
A strong-bodied, nasty player, Glowinski is at his best getting downhill and using that strength early and often. Topping the bench press testing back at the 2015 combine, he’s a straight-up mauler - which means the simpler the better.
For that reason (among many others), he didn’t fit in Seattle. But he’s found a home and both he and the Indianapolis Colts are better off for it.