Why hasn’t Carlos Dunlap been more impactful for the Seahawks?

Nov 18, 2021, 12:52 PM
Seahawks DE Carlos Dunlap...
Seahawks DE Carlos Dunlap reacts against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the third quarter at Lumen Field. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seahawks really improved defensively when they traded for defensive end Carlos Dunlap at the 2020 trade deadline, and the veteran pass rusher shined for Seattle with five sacks in eight games a year ago.

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After releasing Dunlap due to his high 2021 salary, the Seahawks were able to bring him back on a two-year deal and it was exciting to think what Dunlap would be able to do in his first full season in Seattle.

But through nine games, Dunlap has 0.5 sacks and no tackles for loss. And after playing 57% of Seattle’s defensive snaps during his eight games last year, Dunlap is playing just 46% of the time.

So what gives?

“I believe that when you look at Carlos Dunlap and his situation, there’s a part of it that is very curious,” former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps said Thursday morning on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy. “I’m very curious about his snap percentage. It’s just been down since the start of the year and I’ve been curious as to why that is.”

Dunlap joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Wyman and Bob Wednesday afternoon and talked about his 2021 season to date.

“This is a very low year for me in my career and to my standard,” he said. “I’m looking forward to these next few opportunities to turn around and do what I’ve done in my career. I’ve been very consistent in my career, but obviously it’s the first year in this role, so just trying to adjust to it and maximize the opportunities when I get them.”

What does Heaps think about that?

“When you’re looking at Carlos Dunlap and hearing him say that he has a new role in this defense, my answer would be why why does he have a different role than what he had last year when he was incredibly impactful player when he was somebody that made a difference for that defensive line?” Heaps asked.

As noted, Dunlap had five sacks in eight games for the Seahawks a year ago. And Dunlap’s arrival coincided with a much better Seahawks pass rush, which was one of the league’s worst before Dunlap came to town. Dunlap and the Seahawks finished seventh in the NFL in sacks in 2020. But in 2021, Seattle is 29th in sacks with 15, and only two players have more than one sack.

“Why put him and switch him to that different position?” Heaps asked. “I know Darrell Taylor has emerged as your starting Leo (defensive  end), but why would you not want to rotate Carlos Dunlap in that role as well? That’s something to definitely keep an eye on and to look at. But you’re going need Carlos Dunlap and Kerry Hyder Jr. and Benson Mayowa to step up and and make more plays as they as they head into the second half of the season.”

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Why hasn’t Carlos Dunlap been more impactful for the Seahawks?