K.J. Wright: What changed for Seahawks’ D in ‘phenomenal performance’

Oct 20, 2022, 12:34 PM

Seahawks Cardinals...

Coby Bryant of the Seattle Seahawks forces a fumble against Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals at Lumen Field on October 16, 2022. (Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

(Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

The Seahawks’ defense had a lot of struggles to open the season, especially against the run.

Bump’s Breakdown: Why it’s a big week for Seahawks’ secondary

Entering a Week 6 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals, the Seahawks ranked at or near the bottom of the league in total defense, run defense and points allowed.

But Seattle’s defense turned in its best performance of the year against Arizona, allowing the Cardinals to score just 3 points on offense in a 19-9 Hawks win.

So what changed?

Former NFL linebacker K.J. Wright shared his observations during his weekly show on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

First off, Wright made sure to give a lot of praise to first-year defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt and how he got his players in positions to succeed.

“You look at Clint Hurtt and the way he changed up some stuff,” Wright said. “I saw (free safety) Quandre Diggs come out of the post and guard Zach Ertz man-to-man. I saw him drop eight guys in coverage and force Kyler to hold the ball and find the guy. I saw him blitz (strong safety) Ryan Neal. Like he just mixed it up so well. And I know these guys have just lost sleep trying to put together a phenomenal game plan for these guys to come out and stop this run game. That’s what stood out the most to me, and they created turnovers. Phenomenal performance.”

What made the outing especially notable is it came against Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, who is one of the most mobile QBs in the NFL. He rushed for 100 yards, but that was about all he and the offense did well against the Seahawks on Sunday.

“Anytime you play Kyler Murray, we call it ‘cut up the front.’ Cut up the front. And by that I mean you’ve got to run twisting games to not let him escape a lot out of the pocket,” Wright said. “And I saw those guys, you saw saw Uchenna (Nwosu) come from the right all the way to the left to get his first sack of the game. You saw those guys go man-to-man but they also had a spy when they went man-to-man, because if you don’t and (Murray) takes off running, it’s out of the gate. And bringing Ryan Neal in the box and using him how they would Jamal Adams. Not too many people thinking that No. 26 will blitz right up the A-gap coming there and getting the sack.

“And so I believe that they really switched it up, they kept Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury on their toes, and they put up a goose egg, man. That is freaking phenomenal.”

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

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K.J. Wright: What changed for Seahawks’ D in ‘phenomenal performance’