Bumpus: Why Seahawks’ LBs and DEs must step up against the Patriots
In their Week 1 win over the Atlanta Falcons, the Seahawks’ defense was peppered with 54 pass attempts by Matt Ryan due in part to Seattle getting up big early. In Week 2, the defense will be facing an entirely different style of offense when the New England Patriots come to town.
For the first time since 2001, Tom Brady is not the Patriots’ starting quarterback, as he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. Taking his place is Cam Newton, the former Carolina Panthers quarterback who the Seahawks know well as they faced Newton and the Panthers seemingly every season since his rookie year in 2011.
Newton, a former NFL MVP, and New England are 1-0 after a 21-11 win over the Miami Dolphins, and in that win, they showcased an offense different than we’re accustomed to seeing from the Patriots, and one that was far different than what the Seahawks saw in Atlanta.
“They face a team that likes to run the football,” former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Friday morning. “Cam rushed it 15 times for 75 yards.”
Not only did Newton rush for 75 yards and two scores, but the Patriots had 217 total rushing yards from six different players and had just 140 passing yards. So with New England appearing to favor a ground attack, who on the Seahawks needs to step up defensively to assure a Seattle win?
“This week it’s going to be on Bobby (Wagner) and K.J. (Wright), that second level,” Bumpus said.
In Seattle’s Week 1 win, new safety Jamal Adams led all players with 12 tackles. After him, three Seahawks had seven tackles: Wagner and defensive backs Marquise Blair and Shaquill Griffin. Bumpus said the secondary had a ton of tackles last week because the Falcons passed over 50 times, but he doesn’t expect it to be that way on Sunday.
“This week, it’s going to be big boy football,” he said. “Those linebackers are going to have to read those guards. They’re going to have to fill those gaps.”
The linebackers aren’t the only group Bumpus thinks need to step up on Sunday on defense.
“Now the Hawks are going to depend on those linebackers to clean stuff up, but those defensive ends are going to be in a bind as well,” he said. “If the New England Patriots take the same approach they took last week, Cam’s going to read those ends and those ends are going to make him right. So those ends might not have a lot of tackles, but they’re going to be responsible for making Cam making the wrong decision.”
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