Could the Seahawks’ defense have a turnaround like 2019 Chiefs had?
By now, you know the story. The Seahawks’ defense is struggling just like last year, giving up too many points and yards and is the clear Achilles heel for this team going forward.
If you follow the rest of the NFL, you probably heard something similar about the 2019 Kansas City Chiefs, whos defense was one of the worst in the NFL in 2018 and to start 2019, wasn’t too much better. But that unit turned things around late in the season and played a big role in the Chiefs securing the AFC’s No. 2 seed and ultimately bringing the Lombardi Trophy to Kansas City for the first time in 50 years.
Right now, the Seahawks rank last in yards allowed per game and are on pace to allow the most yards ever in a single season. Seattle also ranks 14th in points per game at 27. With the offense and special teams units rolling through the team’s first five games, can we see a Chiefs-like improvement from this defense? Former NFL linebacker Dave Wyman shared his thoughts on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Dave and Moore, first starting with what took place in Kansas City last season.
“There was all this talk in Weeks 10 and 11 that their defense was horrible and they were near the bottom.,” Wyman said. “They had a bye week, which was Week 12, then they played the Raiders, the Patriots, Denver, Chicago and the LA Chargers. So before that, they were giving up 23 or 24 points per game and 375 yards. The last five games, they gave up 292 yards (per game), which would have been third last year in the league, and then they gave up 10 points a game.”
The next question comes down to whether or not you believe the 2020 Seahawks have as much talent as the 2019 Chiefs did defensively. Wyman thinks they may be more talented.
“(Safety) Jamal Adams is one of the best, I think (safety) Quandre Diggs is very good … and then (cornerback Shaquill) Griffin. And here’s the guy I think is going to surprise everybody, and that’s (cornerback) Quinton Dunbar when he starts to get going because he’s really an instinctive player,” Wyman said.
As far as the rest of the defense, here’s what Wyman had to say.
“You’ve got (linebackers) Bobby (Wagner), K.J. (Wright) and either (Cody) Barton or a first-round draft choice (Jordyn Brooks) at linebacker … I think (defensive tackle Jarran Reed) has been sneaky good and no one is noticing it, kind of like Quandre Diggs,” he said.
How about the defensive line?
“Do they have a (Pro Bowl defensive tackle) Chris Jones? Probably not,” Wyman said. “(A defensive end like) Frank Clark? Maybe they do with Benson Mayowa. But then as far as the linebackers go and the defensive backfield, I think it’s more talented.”
So if the talent is comparable, what can the Seahawks take from the Chiefs’ post-bye defensive turnaround last season?
“What they did is just go back to the basics … Some of the old school things they did on some of those plays like just being disciplined,” Wyman said.
Some of those “old school things” were the team’s layering in man coverage, linebackers making the right choices as far as coverage and rushing the quarterback and dropping into zone coverages.
“We’ve seen flashes of it,” Wyman said, pointing to how in Week 4 against the Dolphins, Wright had a poor read on a play and when the Dolphins came back to it the next time, Wright nearly recorded an interception.
“Those are the things that need to take place. So I just wonder if they had a reset in the bye week last year in Kansas City and just said ‘look guys, we have the talent here to do this, let’s just execute. Let’s just try to go out and do everything right and nobody take any chances. Just play old school football,'” Wyman said. “And those are the kinds of principles that can bring a defense around.”
Wyman later added, “Sometimes you’ve got to get back to the basics of ‘hey, stay over the top of blocks, we’re going to get underneath routes, we’re going to get deep drops.’ All of those things, that can bring them around. ”
Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player below starting at the 24:30 mark.