Seahawks’ pass rush needs a boost

Published on June 20, 2010 by     

Biggest problem in 2009: A subpar pass rush

The Seattle Seahawks have transformed from a perennial playoff contender to one of the league’s worst teams over the past three seasons. While there are several reasons for this recent malaise, one of the primary issues has been a declining pass rush. The Seahawks haven’t had a 10-sack defender since 2007 (Patrick Kerney, 14½), and the defense’s overall sack totals have dropped severely. According to Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Sack Rate statistic – which gives sacks plus intentional grounding penalties per pass attempt adjusted for down, distance, and opponent – the Seahawks have plummeted from seventh in 2007, to 17th (2008), to 29th (2009). Last season, Kerney led the team with five sacks and subsequently retired.

As is generally true, the lack of a pass rush led to a horrible pass defense – the Seahawks tied for 22nd in yards per attempt allowed (7.2), tied for 24th in touchdowns allowed (27), finished 30th in first downs allowed through the air (204) and allowed the fifth-worst passer rating in the NFL (93.4).

With holes all over the roster, the team wasn’t able to fill the defensive end position in a way that would increase Seattle’s pass-rush totals in a consistent fashion. As a result, new head coach Pete Carroll will get creative with the playbook and install some hybrid fronts.

The 2010 solution: Using different fronts and stunts, and Elephants

The “Elephant” position Carroll learned during his time as an assistant coach with the 49ers in the mid-1990s has morphed into the “Leo” concept in Seattle. In short, the idea is to give a 3-4 look upfront, with a linebacker or stand-up defensive end crashing the edge. “It’s a position that can take on different sizes and shapes, but it is a spot – a little bit of a hybrid position – that is kind of a linebacker, kind of a defensive end. We picture it as a speed-oriented guy,” Carroll recently told the team’s official website.

The Seahawks traded end Darryl Tapp to the Eagles for Chris Clemons, who’s the odds-on favorite to play the position in Seattle. However, Carroll has said that one of the first things he did upon taking the Seahawks job was to get some film cut-ups of Aaron Curry, the team’s first-round NFL draft pick in 2009, to see how Curry could be better used in pass pressure situations.

Carroll got great sack seasons out of Chris Doleman in San Francisco and Willie McGinest in New England before he went to USC. For the Trojans, the most obvious beneficiary of the position was Clay Matthews. In 2008, Matthews’ only collegiate season as a starter, he played the “Elephant” position and amassed 4½ sacks and nine tackles for loss. He was able to parlay that game film into a new role, crashing outside protection as the primary pass rusher in a straight 3-4 defense for Green Bay. Matthews led the Packers with 10 sacks and 21 quarterback hurries.

One thing Matthews would do in that role – and you can expect to see this from Clemons, et al – was to stunt inside to exploit specific protections. In the diagrammed example, Matthews looped around a double-team past a blocking back, and demolished the quarterback. Depending on the protection and the call, Matthews could get a head of steam going outside from the stand-up position (his primary role in Green Bay) or even drop into coverage – the Packers also enjoyed the benefits of Matthews’ speed in space. This could help Curry most of all – the second-year man has demon speed in any direction, but he might be more adept in zone blitz looks than in straight coverage, and he did occasionally blitz off the edge in 3-4 fronts at Wake Forest.

It will be another season before the Seahawks can draft or sign an elite pass rusher, but if Carroll has his way, a few tweaks to the base 4-3 defense will extract that difference-maker from the current roster.

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

140829-wilson-react-660

Seattle Seahawks season preview: A dynasty is born

Change we can believe in As NFL Media's Bucky Brooks has pointed out, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has opened ...
batesfightOTA

NFL fines Seahawks $300,000, takes away 2 minicamp practices

The league has dinged the Seahawks for practicing too hard. The NFL confirmed to The News Tribune Tuesday news ...
140825jeffcoat600

Seahawks part ways with eight players

With the 90-man roster needing to be trimmed to 75 players by Tuesday, the Seahawks waived six players ...
temp140822chivssea02--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Are the 2014 Seahawks the team that finally gets it all right?

With many eager to point out the calamities that befall those teams trying to defend their Super Bowl ...
7vW1W.AuSt.5

Seahawks ‘dress rehearsal’ a black-tie affair

Can the real season start now, please? As in, this morning? The Seattle Seahawks might be thinking that and more ...
xPA9h.AuSt.5

“Continuity” is Seahawks’ buzzword for third exhibition Friday against Chicago

The Seahawks want three to really be the magic number. In a perfect Seahawks world, this third exhibition game ...
eXuw.AuSt.5

Healthy Percy Harvin a one-of-a-kind threat for Seahawks

Prediction: Only one defense in the National Football League will be able to limit Percy Harvin’s statistics this ...
AP10043008509-448x400

Seahawks back on the field to practice for Friday’s third exhibition, home vs. Chicago

The Seahawks are about to take the fields at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center for practice following two ...

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

lat-noise-wre0011368363-20130915

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