K.J. Wright: Is Seahawks’ defense being as aggressive as advertised?

Sep 22, 2022, 9:46 AM | Updated: 9:54 am

Seahawks defense...

Jeff Wilson Jr. of the San Francisco 49ers rushes against the Seattle Seahawks on September 18, 2022. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

We’re two weeks into the 2022 season, and that means we’re two weeks into the Seahawks’ new-look defense, which is being called by first-year defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt.

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When Hurtt was promoted from defensive line coach to defensive coordinator, he told reporters that one thing that would be “significantly different” in 2022 was that the Seahawks “are going to be aggressive” as they changed to a 3-4 defense. That was a key theme in his introductory press conference, and it’s something he and defensive players talked about throughout the offseason.

So is that aggression actually happening for the 1-1 Seahawks? Former Hawks linebacker K.J. Wright discussed that on Wednesday during his weekly show on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

“Here’s the thing: When I hear the word aggressive, I hear blitzing and I hear getting the D-linemen on stunts versus the run game,” Wright said. “And the only person that I see doing a stunt during the game is (outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu). He’s the only one that I see crashing into that C-gap, getting movement, timing up the snap count to get penetration. He’s the only one I see doing that.”

It’s clear that Nwosu is blitzing and causing problems for opposing offenses, Wright said, but overall, it’s been predictable when the Seahawks blitz.

“It’s third-and-7 – you know it’s coming. And even on the touchdown to the tight end (in Week 2), they blitzed on that play,” he said. “And when you blitz, your guys have to be on point to cover on the back end. And so is (Hurtt) being aggressive? He can be better with the D-line stunts. But blitzing, I want to see some (on) second-and-9 some after a run … Let’s blitz here, not the predictable blitzes when everyone knows it’s coming.”

Something the Seahawks have this year is very young corners with rookie fifth-round pick Tariq Woolen starting at outside corner opposite Michael Jackson, who had never started a game prior to 2022. Additionally, the Seahawks have a rookie nickel corner in fourth-round pick Coby Bryant, who started last week in San Francisco.

Has the presence of unproven corners impacted the defense’s aggression?

“You want to find a way to take pressure off those guys. You want to find a way to get pressure on the quarterback so that does take pressure off the corners,” Wright said. “The ball needs to come out quick, right? You’ve got Mike Jackson, you’ve got Woolen out there. The ball needs to start coming out way quicker so they can be more aggressive. So if you start dialing (pressure) up, it creates stuff, like something’s going to happen. Whether it’s good, whether it’s bad, something’s going to happen. You don’t want to just sit back and just be on your heels. You want to get these guys attacking.”

Something Wright wants to see more of is blitzing and pressure from the inside linebacker spots, primarily Jordyn Brooks.

“I’m looking for Jordyn Brooks. I don’t think he’s had a blitz … I’ve seen Cody Barton. You saw Cody got a sack against Russell (Wilson) and I saw him blitz a few times vs. San Fran. But I need to see Jordyn Brooks get going because he has the physical capabilities,” Wright said. “But if he’s just sitting back there taking on linemen every play, you’re not using his skill set to the best of his ability.”

Listen to this week’s K.J. Wright Show at this link or in the player below.

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