Heaps: The ‘good problem’ the Seahawks’ defense must figure out in 2021
The Seahawks’ defense had an up and down 2020, but that group finished the season on a fantastic run and they will look to build off of that for the 2021 season.
Seattle’s defensive line is getting a lot of attention after the Seahawks re-signed defensive ends Carlos Dunlap and Benson Mayowa while also adding defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr. to the mix, but there’s another part of the defense that former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps is very excited about.
When asked what a key problem is that head coach Pete Carroll and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. will need to figure out going forward, Heaps didn’t have to think long about his answer.
“It’s a problem, but it’s a good problem. The good problem you have if you’re Pete Carroll or Ken Norton Jr. is how do you get all of your guys on the field in that secondary room?” Heaps said Friday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy. “And particularly with your safety position.”
The Seahawks have two Pro Bowl safeties in Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams, but they also have 2019 draft picks Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi as well as Ryan Neal. Those three also have versatility and can play other spots, such as nickel cornerback. Blair was the Seahawks’ starting nickel back in 2020 until he tore his ACL, then Amadi took over. Neal, meanwhile, played some cornerback but also started as strong safety while Adams dealt with a groin injury.
“All five of those guys have (played) impactful snaps, have made impactful plays in their time here in Seattle,” Heaps said. “And due to the depth, you don’t necessarily want to keep any of those guys off the field. You want to find unique ways to get them on the field and contributing.”
Heaps also believes that the presence of those five safeties could be playing a part in why the Seahawks haven’t re-signed veteran linebacker K.J. Wright, who has been with Seattle since 2011.
“Would you love to have K.J. Wright back? Absolutely. I would love it and I would advocate for it all day, every day,” Heaps said. “However, it is not priority No. 1 for you at this time because of the fact that you look at your DB room and you’re going, ‘Man, we’re probably going to play a high level of nickel. We might even play some dime this year because we have such a diverse and talented group of safeties that can really do it all.'”
Regardless of if Wright returns, though, Heaps wants to see all those talented defensive backs get a lot of playing time for the Seahawks during the 2021 season.
“I think if you’re Pete Carroll and Ken Norton Jr., you’ve got to be able to find a way to get all these guys on the field and contributing because they bring something to the table that is worth putting on the field,” he said.
Listen to the discussion at this link or in the player below.
Jake & Stacy