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Heaps: Who the Seahawks’ offense needs to step up to help beat the blitz

Russell Wilson was sacked five times and knocked down 11 more times by Buffalo. (Getty)

One positive thing to emerge for the Seahawks in recent games is the play of their pass rush, but on the other side of the ball, pressure from opposing defenses have suddenly become a concern for Seattle.

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The Seahawks have lost two of their last three games after opening the season 5-0, and quarterback Russell Wilson found himself under pressure quite a lot in those two losses. First in Week 7, the Arizona Cardinals sacked him twice and added nine QB hits in a 37-34 Arizona win in overtime. And in Week 9 last Sunday, the Bills had five sacks of Wilson and 11 QB hits, a total of 16 knockdowns that is the most any NFL quarterback has endured in a single game this season.

Clearly the Seahawks have to find a way to address the blitzes that opponents have started calling with more regularity, and 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps explained Tuesday on Tom, Jake and Stacy exactly what they need to do.

“You have to have tight ends – Jacob Hollister, Greg Olsen, Will Dissly – step up in the middle of the field to effectively attack the blitz and get these teams away from blitzing you,” Heaps said, “because right now, the scouting report is let’s get this thing going, let’s crowd the line of scrimmage, let’s try and confuse this offensive line, let’s try and confuse Russell Wilson and get to the quarterback.”

The Seahawks’ offense has been flying high this season, but it is interesting to point out how little of the passing game is going through a pretty stacked tight end group.

Olsen, who signed a $7 million contract to join Seattle in the offseason, has 19 receptions for 171 yards and a touchdown, but the 35 year old hasn’t had more than two catches or 20 receiving yards since Week 4.

Dissly, who seemed to be Wilson’s No. 3 option in the passing game before suffering a season-ending injury in the sixth game of the 2019 campaign, has 12 receptions for 137 yards and a TD this year, and he has yet to have more than two catches in a game.

Hollister assumed a role similar to Dissly’s in 2019 after Dissly’s injury, but while he had 60 yards on five catches in Buffalo, he has just 98 yards and a touchdown on 11 receptions total this year.

“One position group that we’ve talked about at length is how deep the tight end group is, and then we look at Greg Olsen, Jacob Hollister and Will Dissly and we get through the year and it’s like, where is the production with these guys?” Heaps said.

There is one easy explanation, but it’s also why teams have changed their defensive approaches to Seattle and why it’s time for the tight ends to figure more into the Seahawks’ game plan.

“Well, it’s because (wide receivers) Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf have been just that good,” Heaps said. “But when you start getting teams that are trying to pressure you, and that is what the Arizona Cardinals did in the later part of the game and it’s what the Buffalo Bills tried and did successfully all game long, this is what you get.

“… The tight ends have to step up in order for this offense to move forward.”

You can hear Heaps’ full comments and the rest of Tuesday’s Four-Down Territory segment in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

Follow Brent Stecker on Twitter.

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