Moore: Seahawks could rebound and have top-10 defense in 2020
As you know, the Seahawks had one of the NFL’s worst defenses last year, ranking 26th by allowing 6,106 yards, the most in franchise history.
The other numbers were alarmingly bad too – 28 sacks, 6.0 yards per play allowed (Cincinnati and Houston were the only teams that were worse), and 24.9 points allowed per game, the worst in Pete Carroll’s 10 years in Seattle.
But primarily based on the offseason acquisition of Jamal Adams and emergence of Marquise Blair at the nickel spot in Wednesday’s mock game, the Seahawks will become a top-10 defense again. No one expects it to be as good as it was during their Super Bowl runs in 2013-14, but top 10 looks achievable with this group now.
You don’t even need them to be top 10, just something in the neighborhood of average. Kansas City improved from 31st in 2018 to 17th in total defense last year and won the Super Bowl. Seattle’s offense was Super Bowl-caliber last year, but its defense was not.
That’s one of the reasons why I wasn’t in favor of re-signing Jadeveon Clowney. Great player, yes, but he didn’t make enough of a difference on a consistent basis. If he had, the Seahawks would have been better defensively and he wouldn’t remain unsigned now – someone, if not the Seahawks, would have given him a contract offer closer to his liking.
The Adams move was a better one. He’s a dramatic upgrade from Bradley McDougald, and his nonstop energy will be contagious, bringing the swag back to a defense that hasn’t had it in awhile. Along with upping the sack total and improving the pass defense with better coverage, Adams should help the run defense too. That might have been worse than the pass defense last year – the Seahawks allowed 4.9 yards per carry for the second year in a row.
Quinton Dunbar also figures to be an upgrade from Tre Flowers at right corner, giving the Seahawks a secondary – along with free safety Quandre Diggs and left corner Shaquill Griffin – that merits comparison to the Legion of Boom.
There’s no way the Seahawks will be able to keep Adams, Dunbar and Griffin together for another season after 2020 since they’re all in line for whopping contract extensions. But for now, they might be a top-five secondary, good enough to get the defense into the top 10 overall.
Even if you’re not that excited about Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin as pass rushers, doesn’t it stand to reason that better coverage on the back end should result in more time to get to the quarterback? Even if it’s half a second, that’s typically the difference between a QB hit and a QB sack.
I’m not concerned about the pass rush being an issue anymore. Until I see it in the regular season, I’ll still have a few doubts about the run defense and Bobby Wagner specifically – he was good in 2019 but not worth the $18 million he’ll be making this year.
Nonetheless, 2020 shapes up as a year in which the defense returns to the form we grew used to seeing seven years ago in Seattle.