Turn up the heat. Bring pressure.
That’s what the Seattle Seahawks have in store this afternoon at CenturyLink Field when they are on defense against the potent attack of the Atlanta Falcons.
After two games of pretty standard looks, Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley used more exotic blitz schemes in Seattle’s 13-10 win over Arizona, which caused some confusion for quarterback Kevin Kolb.
“We’re always going to mix it up,” Bradley said. “(We’ll use some) four-man rush – just like we did against Arizona. We’ve got to be able to play coverage too, but when the time is right and we feel good about the situations we’re going to try and get after him (Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan) any way we can.
“So we’ve got guys we feel like are good blitzers, and we’re going to blitz them. We’re not going to be a team that blitzes 50 or 60 times a game. I think we blitzed around 30 times against Arizona, so we pick and choose our times.”
After failing to force a turnover and creating just two sacks in the first two games, the Seahawks sacked Kolb three times, deflected six passes, and had two interceptions that thwarted potential Arizona scoring drives.
The Seahawks will attempt to re-create that performance against Atlanta today. They know Ryan is one of the better quarterbacks in the league and can make plays. But like Kolb, if Ryan is pressured he will make mistakes.
Atlanta’s quarterback already has been sacked 13 times and hit 21 times this season. Ryan has thrown for 844 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions in three games. He threw only nine interceptions the entire season last year.
“He moves around the pocket pretty good,” Brock said. “But obviously we want to get to him early and try and rattle him and not let him get comfortable. Because when he gets comfortable, he makes plays. And they’ve got a lot of weapons on that offense. So we want to try and get to him early.”
Added Seattle defensive tackle Brandon Mebane: “It’s all about putting pressure in the quarterback’s face because the quarterback can make or break the game, so that’s one of the key things for us.”
Ryan has several weapons at his disposal, including the ultimate possession receiver in Roddy White, who finished with a league-best 115 catches last season, and has 20 for 224 yards and a touchdown this season. But White’s been nursing a thigh injury all week and is questionable for today’s game.
On the opposite side of White is explosive rookie Julio Jones (13 catches for 215 yards). And working the middle of the field is one of the best tight ends ever to play the game in 35-year-old Tony Gonzalez (14 receptions, 173 yards, 3 TDs).
“They’ve got a lot of firepower,” said Seattle safety Earl Thomas. “So we just want to bottle it up and try to pressure them, and make them throw blind as much as possible.”