What Bruce Irvin’s strong words about Seahawks’ D were getting at

Dec 12, 2022, 12:00 PM

Seahawks Bruce Irvin...

Bruce Irvin gets up after sacking Panthers QB Sam Darnold in the Seahawks' loss on Dec. 11, 2022. (Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

After a fourth straight disappointing performance defending against the run on Sunday, veteran Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin didn’t hold back his feelings.

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Talking in the locker room following Seattle’s 30-24 loss to one of Irvin’s former teams, the Carolina Panthers, he was asked if gameplanning or communication was the issue for the Seahawks’ defense. He shot both down.

“It’s not communication, it’s not anything, it’s just man on man,” Irvin said. “You have to beat your man, get off the block, and make the tackle. That’s what it comes down to – it’s a mentality. I don’t care about no play calls or no nothing. At the end of the day, it’s man on man. You have to whoop your man in front of you and make the tackle. That’s what it comes down to.”

Carolina jumped out to a 17-0 lead at Seattle’s Lumen Field on Sunday, providing enough cushion to hold off a Seahawks comeback attempt, and the Panthers finished the game with 223 yards on the ground. Now over the Seahawks’ last four games, they have allowed a total of 838 yards on 163 rushes, or 5.14 yards per carry.

“Guys have to make tackles,” Irvin said. “When we fit it right, guys aren’t making the tackles, and when we don’t fit it right, the ball gets through. It’s a combination of missed fits and guys not making tackles. Until we get this figured out, we are going to have four weeks of guys pounding the ball on us.”

So what was Irvin getting at with his comments? Michael Bumpus, a former Seahawks wide receiver who now hosts the pregame and postgame shows on the team’s radio network, gave his read on what Irvin said when asked about it by Stacy Rost, his co-host on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy.

“What he’s saying is stop being punks and win your matchups,” Bumpus responded. “If you’re supposed to be in the gap, get in the gap. If you’re supposed to make the tackle, make the tackle.”

This is Irvin’s third go-around with Seattle, and not only has he played for five teams since coming into the league in 2012, but he was part of the famed Legion of Boom defense that led the Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. Bumpus said it’s clear Irvin is trying to impart some of that legendary team’s mentality on his younger teammates.

“You gotta understand where Bruce Irvin is coming from. He played on one of the best defenses to grace this earth. He went from there to now looking at a young defense that does not have that same ‘dawg’ mentality,” Bumpus said. “There’s no Richard Sherman out there, there’s no Michael Bennett, there’s no Kam Chancellor, there’s no Cliff Avril.”

Bumpus understands the difference after talking to former Seahawks standouts in the week leading up to the Week 10 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Munich, Germany.

“You know, I had the privilege to sit and talk with a lot of the legends in Germany, and the way they talked about their defense and the way they attacked it, it’s just an old school, more aggressive type of approach, whereas this defense, they’re younger, this generation is just different and it’s not the same feel. So if you hear Bruce Irvin talking about what guys need to do, it’s not coming from an opinion, it’s coming off of facts. ‘This is how we did it when we were successful, so win your dang matchups and do what you’re supposed to do.'”

You can listen to the full segment when Monday’s Bump and Stacy is made available in podcast form at this link. Podcasts of every edition of Bump and Stacy, which airs on Seattle Sports 710 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each weekday, are uploaded the same day an hour after the live show concludes.

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What Bruce Irvin’s strong words about Seahawks’ D were getting at