What Karl Scott will bring to the Seahawks’ defense and secondary in 2022

Feb 18, 2022, 4:02 PM
Seahawks Karl Scott...
Patrick Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings and defensive backs coach Karl Scott celebrate after his touchdown on an interception late in the fourth quarter of the game against the Chicago Bears. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
(Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The Seahawks have a new defensive coordinator in Clint Hurtt as well as a former NFL defensive coordinator in Sean Desai who will be leading Seattle’s defense in 2022. But they also have a new face to lead the secondary.

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That would be Karl Scott, a 36-year-old coach who comes to the Seahawks after one year coaching defensive backs for the Minnesota Vikings. Prior to joining the Vikings, Scott was the defensive backs coach at Alabama from 2018-2020, coaching under legendary coach Nick Saban. Scott will be Seattle’s defensive passing game coordinator as well as defensive backs coach.

Scott will have a key role with leading the secondary for the Seahawks as they’ve been one of the worst pass defenses in football the last few years. They finished 31st against the pass in 2021, 31st in 2020 and 27th in 2019.

During a conversation on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Wyman and Bob on Wednesday, former NFL linebacker Dave Wyman and former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus discussed the hire of Scott and what he brings to the table for the Seahawks.

“Sean Desai and Carl Scott (are) the two guys that are probably going to be more involved in the passing game,” Wyman said. “And like we’ve said before, it’s been a huge problem for the Seahawks the last few years … I know everybody says points (matter the most), I get that, but during those really good runs when the Seahawks were scoring champs for four straight years, they were No. 1 twice in yards, No. 2 and No. 4. So yes, the yards matter.”

Bumpus, who coached high school football in recent years, told Wyman he likes to watch and listen to coaches break down film and scheme. He was able to do that with Scott, who has a lengthy video on YouTube where he breaks down the Cover-7 scheme that the Alabama defense ran during his time there.

Bumpus quickly broke down what Scott’s Cover-7 defense looks like and why that could be a great scheme change for the Seahawks.

“That’s a Nick Saban-type defense. So all it is is Cover-4 to one side – typically it’s going to be to the field you go Cover-4 there and you go Cover-3 to the backside and it morphs,” he said.

If Bumpus had to describe the defense in a quick way, it would be that it’s a defense “where you’re always right.”

“If (the No. 1 receiver) goes out then the nickel (corner) … does this. If the No. 3 three leaks then the MIKE (linebacker) does this,” he said. “So it puts a lot of responsibility on your defenders to know what’s going on, but once you understand the principles and the rules, I watched some of these Bama dudes flying around and making plays and it’s beautiful. They’re passing guys off, they get into the flat. The corners leave the No. 1 receiver because he runs a slant and now he’s dropping into a deep-third looking for the (corner) route from the No. 2 … These guys for the Hawks are elite football players with elite minds. They’re going to get it. And if they can get this, they’re always going to be right in the position to make plays.”

While executing a complex NFL defense isn’t “rocket science,” Wyman said that people don’t realize how fast these players are reading and reacting to plays.

“This is all happening right after the ball snaps. So the ball snaps and then the routes are being run and you’ve got to think on the fly,” he said. “But the really good coaches make it seem easier. They make it seem simple. And it sounds like that’s what what Karl Scott is good at.”

Bumpus thinks a  big reason why Scott will be able to get the Seahawks’ secondary to improve is because he’ll be able to relate and communicate with his players.

“It’s all about being able to articulate what you want to these men,” Bumpus said. “I think Scott being 36 years old is going to help because he’ll say some things that will click with a 24 year old. I’m not saying older coaches can’t get it done, but there’s something to be said about a guy who uses the same language, who wears the same clothes, who listens to the same music. You’re gonna connect on a certain level with those guys.”

But he’ll also be able to get his players to understand the scheme, Bumpus said.

“It comes down to X’s and O’s and being able to articulate it and getting guys to respond to it,” he said. “Just the imagery that he brings to his teaching, if he brings what I saw at Bama to the Seattle Seahawks I see (cornerback D.J. Reed) having a good year, I see (safety Jamal Adams), I see (safety Quandre Diggs), I see the secondary taking the next step because you mentioned it … it seemed like something was off at times. And that secondary, guys didn’t really understand our trust what was going on. I think with Karl Scott coming in they’ll trust and they’ll know what’s going down.”

Listen to the full discussion at this link or in the player below.

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What Karl Scott will bring to the Seahawks’ defense and secondary in 2022