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Seahawks Carlos Dunlap
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New Seahawks DE Carlos Dunlap believes in the defense’s progress

Carlos Dunlap had a creative way to end up choosing his No. 43 with the Seahawks. (Getty)

Veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap has two games under his belt since coming to the Seahawks in a trade, and while the team has struggled on that side of the ball all year, he feels the team started to take a step forward last Sunday.

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“We settled down in the second half of the game (against the Los Angeles Rams), and I feel like that’s more of who we want to be as a defense,” Dunlap told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps, Stacy Rost and Dave Wyman on a special Tuesday edition of The Huddle.

The Seahawks may have lost that game 23-16, but the Rams’ 23 points tied for a season-low for Seattle opponents. The biggest reason why is the defense shined after halftime, as a Los Angeles touchdown on its first drive of the third quarter was all it scored in the second half.

Dunlap, a two-time Pro Bowler during his 10-plus seasons with Cincinnati, isn’t ready to settle, though.

“We gotta start faster. We’re trying to put it all together,” he said.

A possible explanation for the Seahawks’ uneven play defensively in 2020 is how unfamiliar a lot of the players are with each other. Dunlap is far from the only key player new to the system, and the team has had a tough time staying healthy enough to consistently field a group made up of its first-string players. That’s something Dunlap thinks will get figured out soon for the 6-3 team.

“We’re just continuing to work at it,” he said. “We’ve had a little bit of adversity with injuries, constantly shuffling new guys in and out, but the more and more repetition we get together, the better we’re getting.”

Dunlap is especially impressed with the defensive linemen that he’s joined, noting that the younger players have proven to him to be wise beyond their experience.

“It’s definitely a young, talented group. I was looking at the depth chart the other day, I didn’t realize some guys were in the years that they were in because of how they go about their work and some of the questions they ask in meetings.”

New number, new experience with Seahawks

Dunlap wore No. 96 on his uniform during his Bengals tenure, but with that number retired by the Seahawks in honor of the late Cortez Kennedy, he instead is sporting No. 43 for Seattle. He had a pretty interesting story about how he ended up with that choice.

Given a limited amount of options because swapping numbers with teammates isn’t allowed this year, he took what was available to him and tested out how they looked with his name by creating custom jersey options on the NFL’s online store. Though he pointed out that he is from the 843 area code in South Carolina, he didn’t realize that until after he decided 43 was the number that “resonated” best with him.

As for his experience going from Cincinnati to Seattle, it’s clear he’s felt welcome.

“It’s very different,” he said. “The best way to explain it would be pretty much since the announcement of the trade, the Seahawks have tried to make the transition as easy as possible. I’ve honestly felt like a first-round draft pick quarterback.”

You can hear the full interview with Dunlap in the final segment of the podcast at this link or in the player below.

Follow Brent Stecker on Twitter.

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