Carlos Dunlap shares goals, breakout Seahawks players to watch in 2021
With the Seahawks just a few days away from playing their 2021 opener in Indianapolis against the Colts, The Huddle with Jake Heaps, Stacy Rost and Dave Wyman returned to the 710 ESPN Seattle airwaves on Thursday afternoon.
That trio had a big guest for the first Huddle of 2021 in Seahawks defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who had five sacks in eight games for Seattle in 2020 and signed a two-year deal with the team this offseason.
The always entertaining Dunlap had plenty to say during his interview. Here’s just a bit of what he had to say.
First training camp in Seattle
Dunlap came to the Seahawks partway through the 2020 campaign in a trade deadline deal with the Cincinnati Bengals, so this was his first time taking part in a camp that wasn’t run by the Bengals.
Dunlap called his first offseason and training camp with the Seahawks “pretty exciting.”
“Being on this side and seeing how (head coach Pete Carroll) and this organization runs training camp is pretty impressive to see,” he said. “I feel pretty good going into the season and I think the guys are ready to hit somebody else.”
Big goals for 2021
Dunlap, who enters the year with 87.5 career sacks, made it no secret what he wants to accomplish from a personal standpoint during the 2021 season, which os centered around getting after opposing quarterbacks.
“I’ve gone public putting it in the air about my goals for the year,” he said. “My aspirations are to get 13 sacks so I can get above 100 (for my career), but obviously that’s the floor for me, that’s not the ceiling. So I don’t set the ceiling, I set the floor and then tackle everything in between.”
He and the rest of the defense also have some pretty lofty goals for the upcoming season.
“Defensively, we want to be the best defense in the league, be No. 1 on third downs and, you know, rushing the passer, sacks total,” he said.
Prior to Dunlap’s arrival last season, the Seahawks had one of the worst pass rushes in football. But with Dunlap on the team, Seattle finished the year seventh in the NFL in sacks and the defense had the most sacks in the league over the second half of the year.
“We want to be that way throughout the whole season because those things are pillars to catapult us to what we really want, but we’re just looking forward to starting,” he said.
Breakout players on defense
Dunlap also provided the crew with three players on defense that he thinks Seahawks fans need to be keeping a close eye on this season.
“D.J. Reed, I think he’s going to pop out to a lot of fans this year,” he said of the young cornerback. “… I think D.J. Reed, (and defensive linemen) Rasheem (Green) and even Poona (Ford) are going to raise the bar. Those are my three if I had to pick three.”
Big-name players helping the pass rush
Last year, safety Jamal Adams led the Seahawks in sacks with 9.5. The team also gets boosts from players like linebacker Bobby Wagner as far as blitzes go.
While Dunlap made it clear he wants a defensive lineman to lead the team in sacks in 2021 rather than Adams again, he also noted how having star players like who can blitz makes his job easier.
“When you’ve got a linebacker like Bobby, a safety like Jamal and you’ve seen what (defensive back Marquise) Blair can do here in the preseason, offensive linemen, they have to respect that because they don’t want that matchup of your running back trying to attempt to block these pass rushers,” he said. “For me, that means a little bit less chips, a little less double teams and more one-on-ones across the board. And anytime I get one-on-ones I think the reputation precedes itself on what I can do with the opportunity, so I’ve just got to get my job done.”
You can listen to The Huddle with Heaps, Rost and Wyman every Thursday from 12 to 2 p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle.
Listen to the interview with Dunlap at this link or in the player below.