MIKE SALK

Salk: New DC Clint Hurtt is exactly what Seahawks fans have wanted

Feb 17, 2022, 12:52 AM

Seahawks Clint Hurtt...

Seahawks assistant coach Clint Hurtt watches from the sidelines during a game against Houston. (John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Seahawks just had their most impactful day in months.

Clint Hurtt, new staff wants Seahawks defense to be more aggressive

They didn’t fire anyone; they fired people up. They didn’t make a roster move; they made their entire roster better. They didn’t upgrade one position; they upgraded our expectations.

And when I say “they,” what I mean is “Clint Hurtt.”

That’s right – the newly promoted defensive coordinator was exactly what Seahawks fans have been clamoring for. He wasn’t just a breath of fresh air; he was more of a smart bomb designed to answer each and every complaint fans and analysts expressed about the Seahawks’ defense.

How many times did we hear that they allowed too many underneath completions and let lower-tier quarterbacks get comfortable? Well, Hurtt saw it too.

“You don’t want to be soft,” Hurtt said Wednesday in an introductory press conference. “You want to be aggressive in how you play coverage. It can be a four-man rush and dropping seven. There’s a mentality that comes along with it, and also the types of coverages you’re playing – not being so zone-y, being more aggressive with things, whether it’s in zone or man coverages, things of that nature.”

Uh, yeah! No more watching easy completions to wide-open receivers while corners sprint towards the pylon to make sure they aren’t beaten deep? I think we can all get behind that.

How many times were we all baffled by watching supposed pass rushers turn their back and attempt to run down the field in coverage? We weren’t alone.

“I don’t want to see (defensive linemen) going backwards,” he said.

How can something so obvious seem so refreshing?

How many times did we wonder what in the world the Seahawks saw in the 2021 version of Jamal Adams that looked lost in coverage and predictable rushing the passer? Again, Hurtt knows that he needs to unlock the potential for one of his most explosive (and expensive) playmakers.

“Jamal is still a difference maker,” Hurtt said of the one-time All-Pro strong safety. “How we use him, that’s going to be on me. It’s our responsibility, my responsibility to make sure we put him in positions so he can be at his very best, and we know how great he is at doing that. … He’s going to continue to get better, and obviously there’s multiple things he’s got to be able to do so the quarterback can’t always peg him for just being one particular type of way.”

So I think we can see that Hurtt gets it and has a plan to fix the various ailments we all could see.

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of burning, angry tweets, Clint Hurtt feels your pain and is here to alleviate it.

But to believe that is to understand that Pete Carroll does too. Yes, it became fashionable to blame Pete for all that ailed his team. And yes, the buck does stop with him so he deserves it. But some of that chatter made it sound like Pete couldn’t recognize the simple issues that were so clear to everyone else. That he was too old and stubborn to make the changes necessary.

That narrative ignores the reality that Pete, like all coaches, must delegate and empower those below him. And it ignores the possibility that he was the one to step in and fix it each of the past two seasons. Regardless, this step seems to indicate an understanding of the problem and a willingness to fix it.

It also makes me wonder how frustrated Hurtt was as defensive line coach watching these players used improperly. How he must have felt that the roster had more upside than we were seeing and how he wanted to help unlock that potential.

Winning a press conference is a far cry from winning on the field. To make this defense even a facsimile of the Legion of Boom years will take not only delivering on these promises but also some significant upgrades in talent.

But for mid-February, before the start of free agency, before the draft, before OTAs, training camp, preseason and ultimately games that count, Clint Hurtt has done everything you could ask of him. He has correctly identified the problems and offered a simple plan to resolve them.

That’s a huge step in the right direction.

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