BROCK AND SALK

Huard: How Seahawks’ defense will try to beat Russell Wilson

Sep 12, 2022, 11:00 AM | Updated: 11:02 am

Seahawks Pete Carroll Russell Wilson...

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll reacts as Russell Wilson comes off the field during a 2021 game. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

It’s finally here – the long-awaited battle of head coach Pete Carroll’s Seahawks and his former franchise quarterback, Denver’s Russell Wilson, is set for 5:15 p.m. Monday night in the 2022 NFL season opener for both the Hawks and Broncos.

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The winner of the blockbuster trade that split the two sides up in March won’t be determined in this game, but the contest no doubt carries a lot of significance for both sides after they decided they each wanted different things out of the Seahawks’ offense.

There are are several big questions going into Monday’s game. One is especially obvious: Who is going to win? Connected to that is another question that is just as interesting, and that’s about the gameplan that Carroll will employ on defense to try to beat the QB he had for the previous decade.

We put the perfect person on the case Monday morning in Brock Huard, the co-host of Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk. The former NFL QB and current FOX Sports football analyst saw the Carroll and Wilson era up close in Seattle, and after talking with fellow former NFL player Mark Schlereth of The Fan 104.3 Sports Radio in Denver, he has a pretty good handle on what he thinks Carroll will do to try and stop Wilson.

“I was chatting with Schlereth, saying, ‘How do you think this plays schematically with what Denver wants to do and everything else?’ He saw it the same way I do,” Huard said Monday morning during the Blue 88 segment of Brock and Salk. “Poona, Al, Shelby, Darrell, Uchenna – set the edge, man.”

The names Huard rattled off are all members of the Seahawks’ defensive line – tackles Poona Ford, Al Woods and Shelby Harris (the latter of whom was part of the trade coming to Seattle from Denver), and pass rushers Darrell Taylor and Uchenna Nwosu. Huard said that quintet will be asked to set the tone on early downs against Wilson and the Broncos’ offense.

“I think you’re gonna see a lot of those five guys setting the edge at the line of scrimmage, and there cannot be movement,” said Huard, who then started to speak from what he believes will be Carroll’s perspective. “You cannot see our big, strong, physical walruses moved off the ball. I think you’re gonna see stout, just heavy-handed, heavy play at the line of scrimmage on early downs, because Denver is gonna want to run the ball and play-action and do everything else.”

Just as important for the Seahawks is what their linebackers and safeties do in the later downs, which will put pressure on Wilson and his offensive line, a unit he has never played behind in an actual game (Wilson did not play this preseason).

“In those third down situations, those money downs, you’re gonna put the linebackers up in the gaps,” Huard said. “You’re gonna make that O-line that has never communicated together with Russell Wilson in that environment and a first game have to make a lot of calls, think a little bit, and make them beat you with precision. (The Seahawks) are not going to play soft zone. They’re not going to give easy completions. … If you’re going to beat us on third down, you’re gonna have to beat us with some precision. You’re going to have to beat us with some accuracy and some timing and those elements of it. (Seahawks free safety) Quandre Diggs, you’re 25 yards deep. You are not giving up a deep ball tonight.

“So if you beat us with precision on those money downs, great. We’ll tip our cap to you. But I think that’s the way that I would go about playing them, and I think that’s the way Pete’s gonna go about it tonight.”

You can listen to Blue 88, which features three football questions from Mike Salk answered by Huard, daily at 7:45 a.m. on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk. Find the latest edition in the final segment of the podcast at this link or in the player below. You can also hear a simulcast of Brock and Salk and Denver Fan’s Schlereth and Evans show previewing Monday’s huge Hawks-Broncos game in the early portion of the podcast.

Seahawks on the radio

Catch the Seahawks’ season opener Monday night against Russell Wilson and the Broncos on Seattle Sports 710 AM and streaming at SeattleSports.com, on the Seahawks app and the Seattle Sports app. Coverage begins at 2 p.m. with the pregame show, followed by kickoff at 5:15 p.m. and the postgame show, which airs for roughly two hours after the end of the contest.

Note: Due to NFL restrictions, Seahawks games are available to stream from Seattle Sports only if you are within 75 miles of Seattle. There are several Seahawks Radio Network affiliates throughout the Pacific Northwest. Find your nearest affiliate at this link. If you are outside of the Pacific Northwest and want to stream Seahawks radio broadcasts, the NFL offers a subscription streaming service. For details, click here.

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