If Dunbar plays, what would that mean for the Seahawks’ secondary?
After months of believing the Seahawks would be without offseason acquisition Quinton Dunbar, it appears he could be back in action and not miss any games after it was announced that he was not being charged in an alleged armed robbery in Florida.
Dunbar, a 28-year-old cornerback who the Seahawks acquired from Washington earlier this offseason, was assumed to be Seattle’s new starting cornerback opposite Pro Bowler Shaquill Griffin, but his alleged involvement in the robbery, which involved fellow NFL cornerback DeAndre Baker, who was charged, landed Dunbar on the NFL’s Commissioner’s Exempt List and had many believing he would be suspended for most or all of 2020.
Now, Dunbar has been removed from that list and could begin practice next week, though he can till be suspended by the NFL. Even a brief suspension could be good news for the Seahawks, who added Dunbar and All-Pro safety Jamal Adams to the defense, giving the team its best secondary in years.
So if Dunbar ultimately does play for the Seahawks in 2020, what does that mean for the secondary as a whole? Former Seahawks safety and secondary coach and current Seahawks radio analyst Paul Moyer discussed that on Friday with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Dave and Moore on Friday, before news broke that Dunbar is off the Commissioner’s Exempt List.
“It’s big,” Moyer said Friday afternoon of Dunbar not being charged and that opening the door to him joining the team. “We knew this was the biggest trade acquisition up until Jamal Adams and how important Quinton Dunbar is just because of what they want to do as far as the defense goes. I’m excited for him and the Seahawks.”
One of the first points Moyer brought up was that Dunbar joining the team would allow for one of head coach Pete Carroll’s things in the world: competition.
“You get back to that competitive nature and my goodness, you’ve got a secondary now that is going to make the young guys rise to the next level or they’ve got to move on, so we’ll find out a lot about these second-year players,” he said, referencing 2019 rookie defensive backs Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi. “The other (thing) is just depth. I’d look at what can possibly happen in the nickel position now and there’s all kinds of possibilities.”
Nickel defense along with pass rush have been two of the key focuses on Seattle’s defense this offseason. The team ran base defense with three linebackers nearly 70% of the time in 2019 and didn’t appear to have a nickel corner on the roster that they trusted. It took until the end of the season for Amadi, a fourth-round pick, to see extended action lined up in the slot. Now, the Seahawks have a few options for that spot in 2020.
“You’ve certainly got Blair, Amadi, you can throw in potentially Quinton Dunbar, you can throw in Tre Flowers,” Moyer said. “… You can do so many things and they’re not going to do 1,000 different things because that’s never been their M.O., but it certainly allows them to match up by personnel and it’s certainly different in the NFC West. You’ve got some teams that are a two- or three-tight end offense, some teams that are a spread offense, other teams where they maximum protect and are looking for deep passes and deep crossing routes. So I think a lot of guys are going to play in this.”
Flowers has started at outside corner the last two years but struggled in coverage and with penalties late in the season and in the playoffs, which led many to assume Dunbar was going to take his starting spot. Moyer believes the two could wind up seeing the field at the same time because of Dunbar’s athletic ability.
“I think Tre, for his skillset, is probably better as an outside guy … I think Dunbar could easily slide into the nickel,” Moyer said. “When he played for (Washington), he was inside at times … he’s got plenty of quickness and like I said, he can do anything. He does need to improve on his press type of technique and be more aggressive trying to take away their routes and shoulders and jam (the receiver) and all that stuff, but he’s certainly capable of it.”
Listen to Moyer’s full conversation with Bob, Dave and Moore at this link or in the player below.