3 Seahawks Takes: Which defenders must step up the rest of the season?
Through their first five games, the Seahawks’ offense has been explosive, scoring from all over the field while quarterback Russell Wilson looks like the 2020 MVP. The special teams has been great as well on punts, returns, field goals and kickoffs. The defense, though, is off to another rough start.
Seattle is on track to give up the most yards in NFL history and the pass rush woes from a season ago are on display yet again.
Thankfully, the Seahawks had their bye this last weekend and had some time to reflect on what has been working and what has not.
As far as individual players, who needs to play a big role for the Seahawks on defense over the final 11 games? The hosts of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy gave their picks on Monday.
Tom Wassell: SS Jamal Adams
“You’d think we’d all pick someone who hasn’t played well yet who has to raise their game … but I actually chose Jamal Adams. He’s already played well, clearly, but when he returns, he needs to at least play at the same level, if not better. He’s a better player than everybody else, so I hold him to a higher standard. He has to have an impact in a big way in order to make the defense better. When we ask is this defense sustainable, the answer is probably no, and Adams is the difference between them being in a rut and actually posing a consistent threat to offenses. He’s just capable of doing so many different things in coverage, blitzing, tackling, etc., that he always has to be accounted for. Without him, it frees up offenses to be more creative. With him, it not only limits offenses, but it also makes other players around him better by allowing them to focus solely on their responsibilities and not the things that Adams would normally be affecting.”
Jake Heaps: DE Benson Mayowa
“For me, the guy that I’m relying on to step up, and a player who I think has done really well so far this season is Benson Mayowa. Now I believe Benson Mayowa has been worth the investment which they have given him … because he has taken on a new role. For the first time in his career, he has actually been the No. 1 defensive end and in his career, he has been the traditional rotational pass rusher … and I think he’s done a nice job. But if anyone was thinking that Benson Mayowa was going to come in and get 10 sacks this season, I think that was a bit more optimistic than what history has told you. History has shown you that Benson Mayowa is very much an up and down player in the league. It doesn’t mean he’s not a good player, but he’s up and down. And what I think Benson Mayowa has done so far has been good, and he’s certainly had key plays (like forcing a Kirk Cousins fumble at the end of Week 5). With those types of plays, he’s doing that with little to no help in terms of pass rush, right? He doesn’t have an ace on the other side … Benson Mayowa is kind of doing this alone from an edge rushing standpoint, he’s done a great job. But in order for this group to take off the way they need to, defensively, especially over the next five weeks, you need to see Benson Mayowa not only continue the play he’s had over the first five weeks, but it needs to be better.”
Stacy Rost: DT Jarran Reed
“I also went on the defensive line with mine, but I went on the interior with Jarran Reed … One, this is a guy who had 10-plus sacks for you two years ago, you’re paying him $11 million, he’s supposed to be a playmaker for you. Two, he had a really great game the last time this team was out against the Minnesota Vikings. You’ve seen him improve over the course of the season. I think it’s encouraging because last year when he came back, he had that six-game suspension, and it took him some time to get going and I think this year, you’ve seen him have a chance to have a full season … Outside of just play on the field, though, what I really like is (what Pete Carroll said after Week 5 about how Reed spoke to the defense and challenged them to get better and ended up having a great game). This defense has two All-Pros, a bunch of Pro Bowlers, you have a first-round pick on your defensive line, a second-round pick in Jarran Reed who you’re paying a bunch of money to, so you have almost no excuse not to improve this year … There have been good moments and I don’t want to take away from that, but you are underplaying when it comes to your expectations and your talent level and that’s why I like this quote about Jarran Reed. This idea that part of what you might have been missing is guys like Bobby Wagner, guys like Jarran Reed saying, ‘What are we doing here? Let’s get this together.'”
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