Seahawks Week 1 star Quinton Jefferson on D-line’s 2019 debut: ‘We caused some havoc’
All eyes were on new Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in Seattle’s Week 1 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals, but it was fourth-year defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson who stole the show in the Seahawks’ 2019 debut.
Jefferson was all over the stat sheet, registering two sacks, three tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, two passes defensed and six total tackles in the 21-20 win over Cincinnati. The 26-year-old Jefferson joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore at Seahawks headquarters Monday and said some of the credit for his big game can go to his new teammate.
“You know he’s gonna draw attention just off the strength of who he is. I appreciate it,” Jefferson said of Clowney, a three-time Pro Bowler who Seattle acquired via trade between the preseason finale and regular season opener. “Sometimes I’m like, ‘Man, you go over there, I’ll go over here because they’re gonna slide to you. I need that one-on-one (matchup).” We play off each other. You can’t slide to everybody, so when guys get those one-on-one opportunities, just make the most of them. I feel like that’s what guys did. It was fun.”
The defensive line as a whole had a strong showing against the Bengals, sacking Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton five times and holding the Bengals to just 34 rushing yards.
“We had a good week of preparation, and you say everybody was fired up – we knew we had to come in and cause some havoc, and we caused some havoc. So that was the plan,” Jefferson said. “… We still got guys still trying to make a name for themselves and I feel like it shows in our play. Guys are hungry.”
As Jefferson pointed out, the Seahawks did all that without two key members of the 2019 D-line – defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who was still nursing a sore surgically-repaired shoulder in Week 1, and defensive tackle Jarren Reed, who is out the first six games due to a suspension.
“I expect that level of play for the rest of the season. We’re not even at full-strength, we still gotta get Ziggy out there and in a few weeks get Reed back, so I’m excited,” he said.
When it comes to his own performance, Jefferson said urgency was his focus over the offseason, and it appears to be paying off.
“It was just one of those, I was reading my keys, reacting and just being active with my hands and just trying not to stay on blocks. I don’t know, it just happened to work out,” Jefferson said. “I feel like last year I was pretty active and I got a lot of quarterback hits, but the biggest thing was reacting, triggering faster to turn those hits into sacks. That was my biggest focus this year, just being very precise with my hands and always making my way towards the quarterback because one second is literally the difference between a QB hit and a sack.”