Why Jake Heaps is confident Seahawks will truly address pass rush

Feb 24, 2022, 12:55 AM | Updated: 9:28 am

Seahawks DE Carlos Dunlap...

Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams is sacked by Carlos Dunlap of the Seattle Seahawks. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

(Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

The Seahawks went into the past three offseasons with pass rush being a key focus. While they have addressed that unit through the draft, trades and free agency, they have yet to truly solve their pass-rushing woes. As such, the pass rush is again a key focus for Seattle in 2022.

Heaps: Seahawks’ pass rush will improve because of Darrell Taylor

Despite high hopes last season after retaining many of the same players who helped the Seahawks finish 2020 on a tear that resulted in the team ranking seventh in the NFL in sacks, Seattle slid to 22nd in sacks in 2021.

Of all the areas the Seahawks could focus on this offseason, former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps is confident they will address the pass rush. Not only that, but he thinks they’ll do so in a different way this offseason.

He explained why on Wednesday’s Jake and Stacy on 710 ESPN Seattle.

“It’s an area that has been pointed to over the last few years as an area of emphasis for this team,” Heaps said. “What the problem has been is that they’ve done a poor job in addressing that emphasis. It has been – again – bargain shopping, going after quantity instead of quality.”

Some of that “quantity” includes Kerry Hyder Jr. and Benson Mayowa. Hyder signed last offseason after an 8.5-sack season in San Francisco in 2020 while Mayowa re-signed after recording six sacks for the Seahawks in 2020. Those two combined for just 2.5 sacks in a combined 30 games played in 2021.

Additionally, the Seahawks had just three players who recorded more than two sacks in 2021: Carlos Dunlap, Rasheem Green and Darrell Taylor. It’s worth noting that Green is set to hit free agency for the first time in his career.

While the Seahawks have typically gone with the quantity over quality approach in most offseasons since head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider came to town in 2010, Heaps thinks that approach may not be the case this year, especially when it comes to the pass rush.

“When Pete Carroll at the end of the year said, ‘Look, there is a clear talent deficiency. There are more stars on other teams around our division than what we currently possess,’ that to me is a signal that Pete Carroll not only recognizes it, but knows that the pass rush has to get better. And you have to go after a more premier edge defender, an alpha-type edge defender that is going to make a difference for you every single game, nearly every single down and harass quarterbacks,” Heaps said.

The change in defensive philosophy from previous defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. to new DC Clint Hurtt could also play a factor in how the Seahawks operate this offseason.

“If you want your defense, whether it’s your 4-3/Cover-3 scheme, or it’s this new, progressive, aggressive mentality that Clint Hurtt wants to bring to the table, you have to be able to be the bully,” Heaps said. “And in order to be the bully you have to have great pass rush and dynamic edge defenders. That is one area that I am very confident the Seahawks will change and will address this offseason.”

Listen to the full second hour of Wednesday’s Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.

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