3 young Seahawks have been key in defense’s strong turnaround
Nov 16, 2021, 12:59 PM
(AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
The Seahawks may have suffered an ugly loss Sunday against the Packers, but the ugliness was essentially limited to Seattle’s offense. In fact, the defense continued to play strong for the sixth game in a row, holding Green Bay to three points until the fourth quarter.
No Seahawks opponents have scored more than 26 points dating back to a 28-21 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 4, with Seattle averaging 17.8 points allowed per game over that stretch. That number is even better if you look at just the last three games (12.3 points allowed).
Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy points to a trio of Seahawks in their first or second year as a pro as deserving of a big portion of the credit for what the defense has done over that stretch.
First would be pass rusher Darrell Taylor, a 2020 second-round pick who missed all of his rookie season due to injury but leads the team in sacks this year with four in eight games. Taylor has been a strong presence all season long, however, so Heaps put most of the spotlight on two players who have stepped up more in recent weeks.
Linebacker Jordyn Brooks, Seattle’s 2020 first-round pick, led the Hawks with 13 tackles against the Packers, and according to Heaps he has shown improvement in coverage to go along with the strength he already had shown against the run.
“He is playing great in the run game, and you saw him carry a deep crosser that made it very difficult on (Packers quarterback) Aaron Rodgers and (wide receiver) Allen Lazard to come up with a big play down in the middle of the field,” Heaps said. “Those are plays that Jordyn Brooks was not making on a consistent basis. Now, still want to see him do better in the screen game. That is an area that he’s still struggling with, but outside of that, Jordyn Brooks is playing great football, and he’s been playing really good football for the past couple weeks.”
Then there is rookie cornerback Tre Brown, a fourth-round pick who spent the first five games of the season on injured reserve but has lived up to his reputation as a big playmaker from his college days at Oklahoma.
“Since he’s been in the lineup, (Brown) has been absolutely fantastic. He has not been a liability for you whatsoever,” Heaps said. “He’s not giving up big plays, and in fact, he’s just continued to make big plays. I mean, that fourth-down stop that he had (watch here) – the timing, the reaction, the trust in himself to break up that pass against Allen Lazard, that is big-time stuff. That’s huge. Aaron Rodgers tested him a couple times deep down the field, and he was a step ahead, he was stride for stride.”
What makes the play of Brooks and Brown especially important is that they’ve solidified positions where the Seahawks had obvious issues early in the season.
“Those two guys at corner and WILL-side linebacker, those were two areas that were very concerning and were a big weak point for this defense. Now they are starting to play much better and it’s helping out this defense a great deal,” Heaps said. “… It’s a great development because it’s in areas that you were pointing to early on in the season as a big problem, and now they’re a big reason why you’ve been able to make a turnaround.”
You can hear Heaps’ full conversation with Stacy Rost in Monday’s Four Down Territory segment of Jake and Stacy in the podcast at this link or in the player below.