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Heaps: With leaders absent, Seahawks’ defense lacking edge in practice

Bobby Wagner has not been in action during Seahawks OTAs and minicamp. (AP)

Under head coach Pete Carroll, the Seattle Seahawks have been known for their brash defense that would dominate opposing offenses and not be quiet while it did so.

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That defense has undergone a significant amount of changes in recent years, with Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril retired and Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and now Frank Clark all playing elsewhere. All that remains from the Seahawks’ Super Bowl teams are linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, and Wagner hasn’t been on the field during OTAs or this week’s minicamp.

It shows, according to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps.

A former practice squad member of the Seahawks, Heaps said during his weekly segment on Bob, Groz and Tom that intensity seems to be lagging with Wagner and safety Bradley McDougald sitting out and defensive tackle Jarran Reed having just returned from a sports hernia surgery this week.

“This just does not have the same feel out there in practice, at all, from a defensive standpoint. The defense does not have an edge to them, the defense is not out there talking smack and having fun,” Heaps said. “All great defenses have that fiery competitiveness, and that’s what you see out of Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. As those guys are out, you would look for these other guys trying to fill that role a little bit, and there just isn’t that same edge out there on the defensive side of the ball in practice as of right now.”

Heaps added that while Seattle’s veteran leaders can still make an impact by helping out from the sidelines, it’s not the same as when they’re in the mix with helmets on themselves.

“You talk about the main defensive leaders on your team, they’re not out there, and their personalities aren’t being able to be infectious on the field,” he said. “There’s a difference between being engaging and coaching and helping out the young guys versus you being on the field and them seeing how you do things. I think that’s a huge difference in all of this. When those guys step on the field it will feel different.”

That being said, in previous years the absence of leaders on the field didn’t seem to have the same effect that it is having this offseason, according to Heaps.

“It wasn’t just the main starters that were the guys that were chirping and talking smack and having fun, flying around and trying to make it known that they wanted to beat you every day in practice. It was infectious. The attitude permeated all through the team, and I just haven’t seen that.

“… This is an amazing time during the year for the players to continue to develop and showcase what they can do, and I think that’s what I’m kinda been yearning for. The offense so far, they’ve been able to have their way for the most part during these OTAs.”

You can hear the full segment with Heaps, which includes plenty more conversation about what he’s seeing from the Seahawks, in the audio player embedded in this post or in podcast form at this link.

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