Bumpus: Are Seahawks currently better or worse on defense than in 2020?
It really was a tale of two halves when it came to the Seahawks on defense during the 2020 season.
During the first half of the year, Seattle fielded arguably the league’s worst defense and at one point that unit was on pace to allow the most passing yards in NFL history. That group also had one of the worst pass rushes in the league.
But over the second half of the season, the Seahawks had maybe the top defense in the NFL, led by a dominant pass rush.
By the end of the season, Seattle’s ranked 22nd in yards allowed, 15th in points allowed, 10th in turnovers and despite the slow start in terms of pressuring opposing quarterbacks, the Seahawks finished seventh in the NFL in sacks.
So after the strong finish to the 2020 season and some moves made this offseason, is the Seahawks’ defense better or wore on paper as we get closer to the start of the 2021 campaign? Former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus shared his thoughts with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant.
“I really think they are (better), man,” he said. ” … I know (defensive tackle Jarred Reed) isn’t there anymore, but I think Poona (Ford) can do his best J-Reed impression.”
Seattle has lost a few starters on defense this offseason, such as Reed, who was second on the team in sacks in 2020. But while the loss of Reed hurts the interior of the line, but the Seahawks have added some notable names to the defensive end position like Kerry Hyder Jr. and Aldon Smith, who combined for 13.5 sacks last season.
One area that does have some concerns with it, though, is the secondary. Seattle has two Pro Bowl safeties, but they will have a new-look cornerback tandem thanks to the loss of a four-year starter in Shaquill Griffin, who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency. The Seahawks did sign former 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon in free agency and he’s expected to compete for a starting job opposite his former 49ers teammate D.J. Reed.
“You lose Shaq and I don’t think Witherspoon is equivalent to Shaq right now, but he has the ability to be equivalent to Shaq,” Bumpus said.
Bumpus also expects 2020 first-round linebacker Jordyn Brooks to “take another step up” as he assumes a larger role in the defense, and he’s still holding out hope that the Seahawks can re-sign long-time linebacker K.J. Wright, who’s still a free agent.
“I look at this defense and I’m like D.J. Reed has more experience and I mentioned Witherspoon,” Bumpus said. “The safety situation is going to be fine. The linebacker situation is OK. I’m OK with it. If they can ride the wave from last season — the end of the regular season — I think they should be fine … I think this defense will get better.”
Will this defense be dominant like we saw in the second half of 2020, though?
“There will be bumps in the road and I don’t think they’re a top-10 defense at this point,” he said. “But if they can finish around 15th or 14th, they’ll be fine. That’s all this defense needs. Right now I’m going to say they’re better. And they’re healthier. And we know when this defense is healthy they can make some noise.”
Listen to the full discussion at this link or in the player below.