STACY ROST

Bump & Stacy: What to be excited and nervous about with the Seahawks’ secondary

Jun 28, 2022, 9:43 AM
Seahawks Jamal Adams...
Seahawks safety Jamal Adams celebrates breaking up a pass during the fourth quarter against the 49ers. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Seahawks will kick off training camp in one month (yes, the season is approaching more quickly than you think!) and in the days leading up to it we’ll be taking a closer look at each position group on Bump and Stacy.

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The theme is easy: two things every fan should be excited for, and one lingering question that still makes you nervous.

Fans can get excited about…

How Jamal Adams could be used this year.

Sean Desai, associate head coach on defense, talked about taking advantage of Adams’ skill set during minicamp.

“I think it creates excitement to be able to work with a special talent like that… that’s what I prefer to hang my hat on,” Desai said. “To be able to work with unique guys and put guys in position to go make plays and optimize their talents. That’s what coaching is. You’ve got to take the best out of each individual and make them the best they can be.”

The best version of Adams is an All-Pro – that’s the version that made him the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft, the version that the Jets saw, and the version that made the Seahawks give up two first round picks. The problem is that the Seahawks haven’t seen that version of Adams nearly as often as you’d like. That’s in part due to injury, and also in part due, arguably, to usage.

Adams set a single-season sack record for defensive backs with 9.5 in 2020. That production dipped in 2021 when Adams failed to record a single sack (the only such year of his career). The hope is that Adams wouldn’t just benefit from an improved pass rush, but also from a defensive coaching staff who’s willing to to use him in more untraditional ways.

“You’ve to to get him involved in the blitz game again and have him get some sacks,” Michael Bumpus said.

Bumpus explained how safeties could be used differently in 2022 here.

We’re still nervous about…

How healthy is this group? And where is Marquise Blair?

Both starting safeties and a starting cornerback from last year are coming off of surgery this offseason (of the three, there’s a chance Brown isn’t ready to participate at the start of training camp.)

On to Marquise Blair. Blair was the Seahawks’ second pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. While the team has always been high on his potential, he has yet to play a full season in Seattle.

Now, with games missed over two years, the Seahawks have filled roles that Blair would otherwise be competing for. Jamal Adams has the strong safety gig locked up alongside free safety Quandre Diggs. Ugo Amadi is still in competition for the nickel spot, but the team also brought back Justin Coleman for a second stint. The latter excelled a nickel corner for Seattle from 2017-18. So, will Blair be a depth piece? A special teams stalwart?

“Where is Blair, what are his contributions to the team this year, how healthy is he going to be, where is he going to play?” Bumpus said. “Because you brought in so many players the last couple seasons and he’s been banged up, I just want to know where he stands with this team because I really believe he can be a key factor in this defense. But it’s a numbers game and it’s a health game. How healthy is here and where does he stand?”

But you should be excited about…

The upside of young cornerback talent.

Yes, there are questions. In fact, the questions at corner could be enough to make someone nervous. But the cornerback room in Seattle is bolstered by strong safety play, which means being a solid or reliable starter could be enough.

Second-year pro Tre Brown will be a favorite for one starting role as soon as he returns to play. A few veterans (Artie Burns and Sidney Jones IV) add to the competition, but a couple young players could make noise in camp.

Rookie Coby Bryant caught Bumpus’ eye at OTAs and minicamp earlier this spring.

“He’s a confident player,” Bumpus said. “It makes sense that he hit up Jamal Adams because they probably had the most confident conversations. He’s confident, and he has great instincts and good ball skills. I always look at a DB and how his body is reacting to the ball when it’s in the air. Because that’s when you really see what a guy’s made of. When you have to adjust to the ball, when you’re playing the man and you’re trying to track the ball at the same time. He has complete body control and he’ll go up and get it. He doesn’t have a lot of interceptions but he’s always in great position to make the play. So that’s what I like about Coby: super confident, great ball skills, body control, lots of swag.”

Bumpus: Why is star Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett underrated?

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Bump & Stacy: What to be excited and nervous about with the Seahawks’ secondary