The Seattle Seahawks' strong side B-gap Creeper (Miami)
MatchQuarters explores the "sister" pressure to the popular Whip path in the NFL.
Though rookie CB Tariq “Riq” Woolen made a huge splash last year for the Seahawks, the defense overall was lackluster. The unit finished 21st overall in Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings which equates to efficiency. Of the three levels, the secondary led the unit coming in 17th in Passing DVOA. The run-stopping ability was a subpar 25th.
The main bright spots for the franchise came mainly from the offensive production of Geno Smith, who calmed the waters after Russel Wilson departed for Denver (as of now, Pete Carroll is getting the last laugh), and the 2022 draft class. LT Charles Cross (1/9), RB Kenneth Walker (2/41), RT Abraham Lucas (3/72), and of course, Woolen (5/153) all are bonafide starters. Walker even rushed for over 1,000 yards. Most teams would die to have this kind of draft.
To shore up the run defense, the Seahawks brought back Bobby Wagner this offseason, who spent a year in a similar system to Clint Hurtt’s with the Rams. DE Dre’Mont Jones was signed from the Broncos. He finished #6 in ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate (PSWR) and should also help to bolster their run defense.
To help the secondary, the Seahawks drafted arguably the best CB in this year’s draft in Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon. Immediately he was inserted into the Nickel spot. Witherspoon is a physical CB who excelled in the Illini’s man-dominant scheme. If Seattle can hit back-to-back years in finding dominant starters in the secondary, that would be a coup for a franchise looking to create a Legion of Boom 2.0.
Defensive Coordinator Clint Hurtt hails from the Fangio system. Hurtt was Vic Fangio’s (DC, Dolphins) defensive line coach. In 2017, Hurtt moved to Seattle and became the Assistant Head Coach/D-line from ‘17-’21. Carroll, looking to pivot away from his Cover 3 dominant system, elevated Hurtt to DC and brought in a Nick Saban disciple in Karl Scott to assist in modernizing the coverages.
Though the results this past year were not what the Seahawks wanted, the defense's core can make a sophomore leap in 2023. When watching Seattle play, you can see the undertones of the Fangio system. Schemes and concepts familiar within the system pop up regularly, especially in pressure design.
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