Why Seahawks’ signing of DT Damon ‘Snacks’ Harrison is the right move
The Seahawks have a new marquee addition for their defense in Damon “Snacks” Harrison, but the signing of him poses a few questions.
First of all, they signed the 2016 first-team All-Pro to the practice squad. Why? More because of procedure than anything. Seattle is bringing in Harrison to help their struggling defense, that much is for sure.
The second question is the bigger one, and there’s plenty to discuss about it. That’s what 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy did on Wednesday, just hours after news broke of Harrison joining the Seahawks.
Let’s take a close look at that question and the various answers.
Question: If the Seahawks’ problem is stopping the pass, why add a run stuffer?
It’s a fair concern. The Seahawks rank dead-last in the NFL in passing yards allowed (476.8 per game) and are actually No. 3 in rushing yards allowed (75.8 per game). There are numerous reasons why.
First up, Seahawks insider Stacy Rost: “Why wouldn’t you use help for this defense? Like, take all the help you can get. I don’t care if it’s at a position where you already have strength. Bring people in, get a rotation going, figure out what works.”
Former Seahawks quarterback Jake Heaps had plenty to add to that.
Answer No. 1: Solidifying a strength
“For those people that are having those questions about this signing, look, there’s a bunch of reasons why you should be fired up about Damon ‘Snacks’ Harrison,” Heaps said. “This is a big-time addition to this defensive line. At 6-3, 350 pounds, Snacks is one of the best run defenders in the NFL, and has the ability to be the very best run defender in the NFL. This is a big, powerful man who just took an already good run defense and solidified it.”
Answer No. 2: The market
Seattle has continued to struggle in the pass rush, and it appears the Seahawks saw Harrison as a better fit than any available veteran pass rushers, such as Clay Matthews or the recently retired Michael Bennett.
“The Seahawks clearly looked at the market for pass rushers and said we really don’t know if Clay Matthews is going to bring anything to the table at this stage of his career,” Heaps said. “(So) they brought in Damon Harrison, who can be a very good player still in this league.”
Answer No. 3: Depth for the Seahawks’ D-line
This may be the most important answer. Sure, the Seahawks are doing well against the run, but they’re doing so while being a bit thin at the position, and we’re only a quarter of the way into a long season.
“It creates depth. … It makes Jarran Reed better, who’s been playing somewhere around 75% of the snaps this season (at defensive tackle),” Heaps said. “That’s a difficult thing to do for a defensive linemen, especially a guy you’re relying on for your pass rush. You don’t want your defensive linemen to have that high level percentage of snaps throughout the season, so it takes pressure off of Jarran Reed, it takes pressure off of Poona Ford.”
Answer No. 4: Because he’s Snacks Harrison
Harrison has created a great legacy in the NFL, and Heaps believes he’s going to add to it in a way that makes Seattle’s defense better across the board.
“It makes everybody in that front seven better. It makes Bobby (Wagner) and K.J. (Wright) better – it makes those two linebackers better because he’s eating up double teams, he’s not allowing offensive linemen to get to the second level. It allows (Wright and Wagner) to attack and potentially have more tackles for loss.”
Heaps added an interesting perspective on how good Harrison can be, even if he’s not playing at his best.
“Damon Harrison’s worst year in the league would have been by far the most productive defensive lineman (for the Seahawks) last season. Would have been better than (Jadeveon) Clowney, would have been better than Jarran Reed, would have been better than Al Woods. … Now you’re getting Damon Harrison, who isn’t not motivated to play for a head coach that probably should be fired by now in (Detroit’s) Matt Patricia. … He is coming into this situation motivated, he’s energized, he’s fired up to come play for the Seattle Seahawks, to play for Pete Carroll, and to help this Seahawks team pursue a Super Bowl. I mean, people should be fired up about what he could potentially bring to this club.”
The final word
We’ll let Tom Wassell take this one home.
“I was a little tepid about this last week when we were talking about Clay Matthews and Damon Harrison (as potential Seahawks additions)… and now the more I think about it, the more I think this can be a game changer for this defense specifically – maybe not in years past but on this one, yes,” Wassell said. “It gives them depth, experience, durability… and a guy who’s got a history of success. Maybe a little confidence boost, too, by bringing in all of that to this defense. (Seahawks pass rusher) Benson Mayowa, he said it takes a village – remember that was his quote over the summer. Well Harrison turns this into a town.”
You can hear the full conversation near the top of Wednesday’s edition of Tom, Jake and Stacy in the podcast at this link or in the player below.
Jake & Stacy