Huard: Every phase of Seahawks’ defense ‘not good enough right now’
The 2021 Seahawks have started the season looking a lot like the 2020 Seahawks. Unfortunately, though, this year’s team won’t be winning its first five games like last year’s as Seattle is off to a 1-2 to start after a 30-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
A big reason why head coach Pete Carroll’s team both looks like it did in 2020 and has two losses already this year? The defense.
In a Week 2 loss to the Tennessee Titans, the Seahawks allowed over 500 total yards of offense including over 200 yards on the ground. And on Sunday, the Vikings had 453 yards and converted 9 of 14 third-down tries while dominating the time of possession.
What exactly are the Seahawks trying to be in 2021 on defense?
“Defensively, they’re trying to be what they have been under Pete for a long time, and that is don’t give up the big plays, keep everything in front of you, wear your opponent out (because) eventually they’re going to make a mistake,” former NFL quarterback Brock Huard said Monday morning on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Mike Salk Show.
Through three games in 2021, that’s clearly not working.
“As I look through the numbers, you’re once again dead-last in the league defensively. You’re giving up 440 yards a game,” Huard said. “… That old adage in football about, ‘It’s not about the X’s and O’s, it’s about the Jimmies and Joes,’ well your Jimmies and Joes just said it was about the X’s and O’s, so which is it?”
Huard was alluding to Seahawks cornerbacks D.J. Reed and Tre Flowers each telling media members after Sunday’s loss that they had some frustrations with the defense.
Reed said Seattle played Cover-3 all game and the Vikings simply “schemed our (expletive) up, but at the end of the day, I’ve got to make a play.”
Flowers said he felt the reason the Seahawks gave up 453 yards and 30 points was “schematic” and that he had his own questions about what it is they’re currently doing. He did add, though, that he thinks it will be an “easy fix” when the defenders and scheme all get on the same page.
Huard isn’t buying it.
“It’s not an easy fix,” he said. “Nope, not an easy fix.”
One issue Huard saw against the Vikings was first-year Minnesota offensive coordinator Clink Kubiak and quarterback Kirk Cousins dominating the Seahawks with basic concepts and designs.
“This wasn’t exotic like Sean McVay, (Kyle) Shanahan like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is deep-dive stuff, they’re marrying all these concepts together,'” Huard said. “This is some of the most basic stuff. And you make Kirk Cousins look like Tom Brady. You just make it so easy on him.”
Huard noted that the NFL is an offensive league, as Salk reminds him of regularly, but that doesn’t change what he’s seeing from the Seahawks on the other side of the ball, which struggled against the run and pass and failed to pressure the quarterback.
“I watched other games yesterday … and you know what you actually see?” Huard said. “People cover, physical plays, combative catches. There are people at least in the area code of the receiver. Yesterday, if they kept a stat … I’d be curious the number of yards between the guy catching the ball and anybody around him. There is no way that anybody in the NFL is even close to the Seahawks. They’re that open.”
Huard isn’t impressed with the play of the cornerbacks, but he did say that with the Seahawks playing cover-3, a lot more responsibility falls on the linebackers to get underneath the shorter and more intermediate routes. He believes that’s part of where Reed and Flowers’ frustration lies.
“Those guys (cornerbacks) have a third of the field and can’t get beat deep, so they’re just relying on all the underneath coverage (from) the safeties, the four defenders underneath to at least get in that passing lane, to at least get that quarterback to check it down,” Huard said. “Well, that didn’t happen because Kirk would look somebody off and move (linebackers Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks) and boom, open window, boom, open window, boom, open window. Kirk Cousins had the time of his life.”
Huard mentioned the turnaround the Seahawks’ defense had around midseason last year and said that Carroll is good about looking in the mirror after being embarrassed, which they just were against the Vikings.
“They’re going to have to make some changes because their zone defense, in every phase of it – rushing with four, the four underneath guys (at) safety and linebacker covering, corners covering – ain’t good enough,” he said. “Not even close to good enough right now.”
Listen to the full discussion at this link or in the player below.