Heaps: Why Seahawks’ pass defense will improve despite questions at CB
The Seahawks’ defense had quite the up and down season in 2020, starting the year as arguably the worst defensive unit in the league before playing like one of the NFL’s best over the second half of the season.
Despite the impressive turnaround, the Seahawks still finished 2020 22nd in yards allowed. Why? Because to start the year, Seattle’s pass defense was on pace to be the worst in NFL history.
That group steadily improved in the second half of the year, but it still allowed the second-most passing yards in football when all was said and done.
According to former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy, not only must that group improve to give the Seahawks a better chance of being successful, but he thinks that Seattle’s pass defense will be better in 2021 despite some uncertainty at a key position. He shared his thoughts on Tuesday.
“I think that this has to be the step that they take forward,” Heaps said of the Seahawks’ pass defense. “Not only did they improve in sacks, but they were more solidified on the back end as well last year in the second half of the season. There’s no excuses.”
The key position that has some uncertainty for the Seahawks is cornerback.
Seattle lost four-year starter Shaquill Griffin as well as 2020 Week 1 starter Quinton Dunbar in free agency. D.J. Reed, who played well down the stretch, returns, but it’s unclear who start opposite him and how successful they’ll be.
Despite that position being “unproven and inexperienced,” Heaps thinks the Seahawks can still improve greatly in pass coverage from 2020 to 2021.
“You still have (All-Pro linebacker) Bobby Wagner, you have (outside linebacker) Jordyn Brooks who is returning in year two who you are very high on as a former first-round pick and I think he has the opportunity to take major steps forward,” Heaps said. “And you have an All-Pro and Pro Bowler at the safety position (in Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs). You’ve got enough pieces around those question marks (at cornerback) that there should not be an excuse for this group to not be significantly better heading into this year.”
Heaps also pointed to a key turning point from last season as a reason he thinks the Seahawks can be better in pass coverage in 2021.
“We talked about the great meetings of accountability that they had last year,” he said. “Why did they have that? Because simply guys didn’t know their jobs and responsibilities and they weren’t executing it at a high level … That is something that has to change. And I believe that when you go through something like that, it can be a transformative experience for (new) guys like Jamal Adams, D.J. Reed – people who were new to the process and didn’t really understand what it meant to be masters of your craft. There’s no excuses now. They know.”
Listen to the second hour of Tuesday’s Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.