Lofa Tatupu is still the glue that holds the Seahawks defense together

Published on May 28, 2009 by     Seahawk Fanatic

lofa-tatupuDespite all of the changes on the defensive side of the ball, Lofa Tatupu is still the glue that holds the Seahawks defense together.

From Lofa Tatupu’s vantage point, it’s all good.

All, of course, being everything the Seahawks have done this offseason to energize and improve the defense that lines up around its middle linebacker and leading tackler.

The January additions of defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, defensive line coach Dan Quinn and secondary coach Tim Lewis to the staff of first-year head coach Jim Mora.

The free-agent signing of wide-bodied nose tackle Colin Cole in March, which has allowed Brandon Mebane to take his equally large frame and deceptive talents to the other tackle spot. The re-signing of former second-round draft choice Ken Lucas a few weeks later, providing the defense with a needed bigger cornerback to play opposite Marcus Trufant.

The selection of Aaron Curry in the first round of April’s NFL draft to fill the strong-side linebacking spot that opened when Julian Peterson was traded to the Detroit Lions for Cory Redding, and the signing of weak-side ’backer Leroy Hill to a long-term contract a few days later.

In what has become an annual upgrading of the defense since Tim Ruskell was named club president in 2005, no offseason has featured more significant moves aimed at getting the Seahawks to rank among the better defenses in the league.

Tatupu’s view of all this activity comes from the middle of that defense.

“I’m not part of the front office, or the people that make those decisions,” he said Wednesday after the team’s latest OTA session. “But you’ve got to love what they’ve been doing with the guys they’ve brought in here.

“No quarrels. It’s very, very exciting.”

Tatupu has led the defense in tackles the past four seasons – the first player in club history to accomplish that – since being a second-round draft choice in 2005. He also played in the Pro Bowl after each of his first three seasons.

But as steady as Tatupu has been, change has been occurring almost everywhere he has looked.

Cole takes over at the pivotal spot where Chuck Darby, Marcus Tubbs and Mebane once played in front of Tatupu. Former defensive ends Grant Wistrom and Bryce Fisher are gone, replaced by free agent Patrick Kerney and a combination of first-day draft choices Darryl Tapp and Lawrence Jackson. Just as Curry steps in for Peterson, Hill stepped in for Jamie Sharper midway through his rookie season in 2005. Kelly Herndon, Andre Dyson, Kelly Jennings and Josh Wilson previously had filled the cornerback spot opposite Trufant. Whereas the safeties were once Michael Boulware and Ken Hamlin, they are now Deon Grant and Brian Russell.

All this hasn’t been change simply for the sake of change. The idea behind this annual addition, and subtraction, is aimed at getting the defense somewhere it has been only once in the past 11 seasons – a Top 15 ranking. The Seahawks were No. 15 in 2007. The last time they ranked in the Top 10 was in 1997, at No. 8.

In Tatupu’s tenure, the Seahawks have ranked 16th, 19th, 15th and, last season, 30th. That simply won’t do. Not by Tatupu’s standards. Not by Ruskell’s expectations. Certainly not according to Bradley’s plan.

So along with the obvious changes in personnel, there also will be subtle tweaks to the scheme.

For example? “I’m not sure the average person would understand. We barely do,” Tatupu said, smiling.

“There are so many different things. A lot of things are put in the defense to help you – like your alignments, which are very critical in this defense and help explain your assignments.”

The smile turned to a grin as Tatupu added, “Maybe we can back to this someday, in a Part II.”

The easier way to explain it is to go back to how Mora put it during his introductory news conference.

“We’re going to be a defense that plays with ‘relentless effort,’ ” Mora said. “That’s (something) you’re going to hear me say a lot: relentless effort.”

For Bradley, the path to relentlessness is more about having the parts than just a blueprint – a lesson he learned during time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Brooks.

“Derrick Brooks told me something that has stuck with me: Many have the blueprint, few have the parts. I think that’s really accurate,” Bradley said.

“A lot of coaches have an idea what they want to do. But more important are the parts. The coaching staff. The players. The camaraderie. The passion the players have for the game. The athleticism. All those things are what’s really important. Some times you get so caught up in your plan that you forget about all the parts that go along with it.”

Brooks’ words have stayed with Bradley, and now he hopes they will serve him well with his new team and its new players.

“Over the last couple of years, I’ve always had that in the back of my mind – to be more aware of the parts and how important those parts are to making it run smoothly,” Bradley said. “That’s what we’ve got. We’ve got a great group of parts.”

He’ll get no argument from his man in the middle.

“We haven’t been too bad in the past, with the exception of last year,” Tatupu said. “But there’s always room to improve. With everything they’ve put together, it’s going to be exciting to see what kinds of things we can do out there.”

HAWK TALK: Lucas and fellow cornerback Marquis Floyd have swapped numbers, with Lucas now in No. 31 and Floyd wearing the No. 29 that Lucas was given after being re-signed. … Rookie wide receiver Deon Butler, the team’s third-round draft choice, continues to standout. Butler made a couple of nice catches Wednesday and also was getting some work returning kickoffs. … Grant and Tapp had interceptions, with Grant grabbing a Matt Hasselbeck pass that was intended for tight end John Owens at the goal line and Tapp somehow getting his hands on a low throw near the line of scrimmage by Jeff Rowe.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fair Use Notice This website may at times present copyrighted material, the use of which might not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understandings of democratic, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. The author believes that this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U. S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the articles published on this website are distributed without profit for research and informational purposes. In most instances a link is placed to originator of Article and it is never expressly mentioned as written by, we use published by certain entities who write or publish for this said Blog..

Tell Us What's On Your Mind (0)




WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing

REMEMBERING A LEGEND!

LATEST SEAHAWKS NEWS

tempcst_K2V8670--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Seahawks Receivers room is packed full

It’s getting crowded on the sidewalk. After fighting off the label of being a “pedestrian” group last season, the ...
HPv9A.AuSt.5

Youth not a burden for Pete Carroll

When the NFL draft lights go out, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll picks up the phone. Just thinking about ...
1cdoa9.AuSt.5

Seahawks draft for the 2 P’s: passion, perseverance

Last week, coach Pete Carroll came up with the term “gritty” to describe the kind of player the ...
AP167044948598-480x319

Seahawks take fullback Kiero Small with their final draft pick

The Seahawks used pick No. 229 to draft Arkansas fullback Kiero Small in the seventh round. Get this: Small ...
c3502f36-4f0b-4f27-9327-c4b03b0fdd9a_800

Richardson: ‘I figured it out when the general manager called me’

Here’s what Paul Richardson had to say: (On where is he at right now….) “I’m California right now with ...
7efb6d24-c022-4fd8-ae10-2f3bcaf8d8b7_800

Britt: ‘If nasty is the word you want to use, then I’m nasty’

Here’s what new Seahawks lineman Justin Britt, whom Tom Cable said will compete right away at right tackle ...
140508schneider600

Seahawks trade first-round draft choice to Vikings

The Seahawks traded out of the final pick in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday ...
140506udfa600

The Seahawks have been very good to rookie free agents

Despite having one of the best and deepest rosters in the NFL, the Seahawks have become a good ...

Shop for Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII Champs Merchandise at NFLShop.com

Shop for Conference Champs and Super Bowl XLVIII Match Up Merchandise at NFLShop.com

WELCOME TO THE SEAHAWKS 12TH MAN ARMY.

WE TAKE PRIDE IN GIVING SEAHAWKS FANS AROUND THE CLOCK UPDATES,  ALL SEAHAWKS ALL THE TIME. SO IF YOU WANT THE LATEST SEAHAWKS NEWS DELIVERED FOR FREE RIGHT TO YOUR EMAIL BOX ONCE A WEEK, SIGN UP AND ENJOY!

WE HAVE BEEN PROUDLY SERVING DIEHARD SEAHAWKS FANS SINCE 2004.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz