JAKE AND STACY

Jake & Stacy: Have the Seahawks done enough to solve their pass rush problems?

May 31, 2022, 9:08 AM | Updated: 9:40 am
Seahawks Shelby Harris...
Broncos DT Shelby Harris celebrates making a tackle against the San Francisco 49ers. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
(Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The Seahawks’ defense have seen its share of ups and downs over the last three seasons, and one area that has really been inconsistent is the defensive line, particularly when it comes to the pass rush.

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After ranking in the bottom five in sacks in 2019, Seattle finished seventh in sacks in 2020 – but that was thanks to a massive second-half surge after struggling once again in the first half of the season. But the struggles continued in 2021 with the Seahawks finishing tied for 23rd in that category.

As you might imagine, as the Seahawks got to the quarterback, the overall defensive numbers improved greatly. When the pass rush lacked, so too did the amount of yards allowed.

Gone are Carlos Dunlap and Rasheem Green, who were first and tied for second on the Seahawks in sacks, respectively, in 2021. Also gone are rotational rushers Benson Mayowa and Kerry Hyder Jr.

But Seattle, which is shifting to a 3-4 defense in 2022, got younger on the line by drafting Boye Mafe and Tyreke Smith in the second and fifth rounds, respectively. Additionally, the Hawks went out and signed Uchenna Nwosu in free agency.

As far as veterans go, the Seahawks re-signed big defensive tackle Al Woods and brought back Quinton Jefferson, a lineman who can play inside and outside, for his third stint in Seattle. Additionally, the Hawks acquired defensive tackle Shelby Harris in the Russell Wilson trade after a very productive 2021 season in Denver.

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So have the Seahawks done enough to address the defensive line and pass rush ahead of the 2022 season? That’s the question Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Jake and Stacy tackled on Friday.

Both Jake Heaps and Stacy Rost admitted they felt like Seattle had addressed that unit well in previous offseasons but that the group ultimately didn’t produce enough.

Heaps said he is a big fan of what the Seahawks did this offseason, especially by adding Harris to the mix.

“From my understanding in being able to talk to some of the players over there at Denver, they thought Shelby Harris was a dude,” Heaps said. “They thought that he was a vocal leader, somebody that stepped up and made plays when they needed it. So I think that Shelby Harris is a good football player that Seahawks fans are gonna really, really like … He brings an edge to your defense.”

Heaps thinks that Nwosu and 2020 second-round pick Darrell Taylor is a promising pairing on the edge, but he does have a pretty big concern when looking at the Seahawks’ defensive line.

“It could come together very nicely. But also, how many difference makers do you have? Legitimate difference makers that you have on that defensive line that you look at and say, ‘Oh, yep, that’s a game-changing dude,’ rather than telling me what we’ve been trying to convince ourselves over the last few years, that, ‘Man, they’ve got a really good rotation, they’ve got some rotational guys that if they can just all work collectively as a group, this thing is going to come together really, really nicely?'” Heaps asked.

Rost believes people “romanticize” the importance of having a lot of depth and rotation on a defensive line.

“The best-case scenario is you have really talented guys that you can rotate out so they can rest, not just a rotation for the sake of (thinking) that a less tired, OK guy will be better against an elite offensive lineman, which isn’t the case,” she said.

As far as clear difference makers on the line and pass rush, Taylor is who stands out to Rost.

“I think the closest to that right now would be Darrell Taylor, just because of his potential and his production particularly early last year,” she said. “So far, though, it’s not that you don’t have talent to work with, but you’re kind of trying to find out who you have still.”

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

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Jake & Stacy: Have the Seahawks done enough to solve their pass rush problems?