Seahawks added speed on defense to stop Rams, but will they be able to?
The Seahawks’ defense underwent a bit of a transformation after a poor 2019 showing and while the results haven’t been there to show improvement, it’s clear why Seattle made those offseason moves.
Specifically, the Seahawks used most of their key resources to add speed to their defense to combat with fast offenses in the NFC West, such as the Los Angeles Rams, who Seattle plays on Sunday.
The Rams, 5-3, have won four of the last five games against the Seahawks, thanks largely to an offense that has given Seattle fits with stretch runs, motions, jet sweep runs and crossing routes from receivers and tight ends. To get better against teams like the Rams, Seattle used its first-round pick on speedy linebacker Jordyn Brooks and traded two first-round picks and more to the New York Jets for All-Pro safety Jamal Adams.
“The Seahawks have been chasing the Rams’ offense,” Danny O’Neil of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant said Friday. “This has really been true since December 2017, a game in which the Rams came in here and dragged Seattle up and down the field … It was the worst loss in Pete Carroll’s tenure here.”
“They’ve beaten the Rams since then, but they haven’t been able to really shut down the Rams’ offense,” continued O’Neil. “The Rams have scored 28 or more points in each of the last five games against the Seahawks and they’ve won four of those last five games. To me, that’s the thing I’m most focused on in this game.”
And specifically, O’Neil wants to see how guys like Adams and Brooks plays since he feels they were brought in specifically to help counter offenses like the Rams’.
“(Being faster) was the reason they drafted Jordyn Brooks in the first round. It’s part of the reason that they went and traded for Jamal Adams … I think it’s to go up against teams like the Rams,” he said. “I think it’s the kind of offense the Rams and the 49ers ran last season. I believe (the Seahawks) thought they needed to get faster to combat exactly what you’re talking about – the Rams’ ability to get the ball to the edge.”
And despite how the Buffalo Bills completely abandoned the run last week when they beat the Seahawks, O’Neil doesn’t see that happening on Sunday with the Rams based on how their offense typically operates.
“I don’t think the Rams are going to take the same approach the Bills did,” he said. “I think they’re going to try to run the ball and that puts the pressure on the Seahawks to be able to stop the run.”
O’Neil’s co-host Paul Gallant thinks that the Seahawks should blitz Adams less against the Rams than he normally does. The Seahawks added him to help with a struggling pass rush, but Gallant thinks Adams’ ability to hit opponents hard in the passing game is what Seattle needs this week.
“I want to see Jamal Adams laying these Rams receivers out over the middle of the field because that I think could potentially change the way that your defense has gone this season. To have somebody at that second level that’s going to make all of these teams think twice about throwing it over the middle because that is the easiest place in the league to throw,” he said. “I would much rather force (Rams quarterback) Jarred Goff to throw to the outside against yes, cornerbacks that aren’t that great, but at least there is more distance between the sideline and the center of the field than there is for a guy who is looking for those tight ends that are down the seam or a wide receiver running a crossing route. Adams, I think, has to make a difference there.”
Gallant also agreed that the Rams will be trying to run the ball and get to the edge, but he thinks the rookie linebacker should be able to stop that from happening too often.
“That’s a guy who you saw and went man, this guy is so good at shooting the gap and getting to the edge and you saw it on that big tackle he had on (Cardinals quarterback) Kyler Murray on third down after DK Metcalf ran down Budda Baker,” he said. “You have a guy that’s definitely going to help you on that side of things. I’m not concerned about the Rams getting to the edge in this game.”
Gallant also agrees that games like Week 10 are why the Seahawks used their top draft picks to get Brooks and Adams.
“I think Seattle’s defense is faster and I think this is a better matchup for Seattle than how the Bills chose to go against them,” he said. “I think Seattle is in a much stronger position going up against this Rams team than it was going against Buffalo last week.”
Listen to the full discussion at this link or in the player below.