JAKE AND STACY

Heaps: Seahawks have a new role for Poona Ford that he’ll excel in

Apr 6, 2021, 2:05 PM
Seahawks Poona Ford...
Seahawks DT Poona Ford set career-highs in most categories last season. (Getty)
(Getty)

When the Seahawks released defensive tackle Jarran Reed, it understandably created some concern. Reed has been a solid player in a key role for Seattle since he was drafted in 2016 out of Alabama.

Rost: How secure will the Seahawks’ CB position be in 2021?

Former Seahawks quarterback Jake Heaps, co-host of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy, sees what the team is doing, however – and he said it makes a lot of sense.

A few weeks prior to Reed’s release, the Seahawks agreed on a two-year contract extension with fellow defensive tackle Poona Ford, who was scheduled to be a restricted free agent. Seattle avoided that with the extension, and Heaps believes the Seahawks saw enough from Ford in 2020, his third year as a pro, to believe he can take over Reed’s role.

“The player that has to step up into a new role, a role that I think he’s going to embrace and excel very, very well in, is Poona Ford,” Heaps said Tuesday.

Ford has mainly played the run-stuffing 1-technique position for Seattle, which is situated fairly center in the defensive line and is as close to a traditional nose tackle as there is in the Seahawks’ typical “4-3 under” defensive alignment. Reed, meanwhile, was the 3-technique, which is the next spot over to the right of the 1-technique.

Heaps said Ford showed in limited opportunities last season that he can handle the 3-technique.

“He got to play a little bit of 3-technique last year and I think he really excelled at it, hence the reason why the Seahawks wanted to get him a two-year extension rather than just a one-year restricted free-agent tender and have to go down this road again (next year),” Heaps said. “They’re going to ask him to play a role that I think Jarran Reed did very, very well.”

Ford, who joined Seattle in 2018 as an undrafted free agent out of Texas, had a strong 2020 season with career-highs in sacks (two), tackles (40), tackles for loss (eight), quarterback hits (nine) and games (16, all starts). And at 5 foot 11 and 310 pounds, the 25 year old isn’t the kind of player opposing teams see all that much of.

“Last year he really, really made a big jump in improvement from his first two seasons as a Seahawk, so I’m really excited about Poona Ford, what he can do,” Heaps said. “As (former Seahawks center) Justin Britt always said, he has this God-given leverage with his unique height, his long arms. I think he can really be disruptive, but he’s going to have to step up in a big way now for the Seahawks now that they’re asking him to be their starting 3-technique.”

You can hear Heaps and co-host Stacy Rost answer four football questions at 12:15 p.m. during the Four-Down Territory segment of every episode of Jake and Stacy, with podcasts available here at 3 p.m.

Clayton: Hawks figured out how to get better without breaking the bank

Jake and Stacy

Seahawks Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: How WR Tyler Lockett has started 2021 red hot for the Seahawks

Tyler Lockett has been on fire for the Seahawks through two games. Jake Heaps breaks down what's working well for the veteran wide receiver.
16 hours ago
Seahawks RB Chris Carson...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: Importance of running game in Seahawks’ offense on display in loss to Titans

The Seahawks struggled mightily to establish the run Sunday, which Jake Heaps says really impacted how they operated against the Titans.
2 days ago
Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: Wagner and Adams must shine when Seahawks face Titans’ running game

When the Titans visit Seattle, Jake Heaps is looking for the Seahawks' two highest-paid defenders to have massive games stopping the run.
4 days ago
Seahawks DK Metcalf...
Brent Stecker

What Seahawks need to do vs Titans to build on Week 1 performance

Jake and Stacy of 710 ESPN Seattle have two things they think the Seahawks should build upon to avoid a misstep after an encouraging debut.
5 days ago
Seahawks offense...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: The 2 matchups that will determine whether Seahawks beat Titans

The Seahawks can start 2021 2-0 if they beat the Titans on Sunday. Jake Heaps has two matchups to watch for that could determine the winner.
5 days ago
Seahawks Will Dissly...
Brandon Gustafson

Seahawks TE Will Dissly: New offense started strong but ‘there’s a ton left in the tank’

Seahawks TE Will Dissly stopped by The Huddle to discuss Seattle's Week 1 win over the Colts and the team's new offense under Shane Waldron.
6 days ago
Heaps: Seahawks have a new role for Poona Ford that he’ll excel in