Bumpus: What should Seahawks do to fix issues on defense?
Sep 12, 2023, 12:44 PM | Updated: 3:09 pm
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
There are plenty of worrisome things to point to from the Seattle Seahawks’ Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. For Michael Bumpus, one of them is something he actually thought would be a strength for the team on defense.
“The worst thing I saw was confusion in the secondary,” Bumpus said Monday on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy. “The thing that I was most excited about with this secondary bit me in the butt because I was looking at the secondary going, man, you’ve got so many options. You can put so many combinations out there. You’ve got Coby Bryant, who plays cornerback, nickel (cornerback) and safety. You activated Artie Burns (from the practice squad) – the OG’s played everywhere, as well. You bring in Julian Love, he’s going to be good there. Tre Brown is going to start (at cornerback), Mike Jackson can back him up. All those names played this game.”
While having all those options could ultimately be a good thing, Sunday’s 30-13 defeat made it clear to Bumpus, a former NFL receiver who is now a Seahawks Radio Network host and analyst, that the inherent lack of consistency that comes with the mix-and-match strategy makes it a tough ask.
“You look at the best defenses in the league, there is consistency in who’s playing,” he said. “If guys are healthy, they’re gonna be out there. So I looked at this (Seahawks) defense and I go, man, they tried all these combinations out for two reasons – they weren’t sure that guys can get it done, or guys just weren’t getting it done.
“Throughout the week, you have a plan, ‘These are the ones, these are the twos, these are the threes, this is the nickel package, this is the dime.’ So guys get reps in those scenarios and in those situations, and now you throw them out there on a first-and-10 when they’re like, ‘I’m usually in this game when it’s like second-and-long, third-and-long.’ I don’t think they’re thinking that, but when you’re in those moments and you haven’t practiced it, it just feels foreign. Your communication with your safety is different. Love is looking at the nickel, trying to communicate with them, and it’s not the nickel he’s been communicating with all year because they’re trying new things out. You communicate with the corner, it’s a different corner.”
Bumpus wonders if the Seahawks will take a different approach in Week 2 against the 1-0 Detroit Lions.
“People will hear me say this and they go, ‘Bump, why are you making excuses?’ It is not an excuse. That is just what’s going on on the football field. It’s not just you insert anybody in any position and you’re good to go. Unless you are the Legion of Boom, unless you are the 2000 Ravens, unless you are the Steel Curtain where you just got it like that because there’s so much cohesiveness there, it changes things. So I want to see what combinations they have next week against the Lions and if they stick to a personnel group longer than they did this week.”
Co-host Stacy Rost then asked if experience over the course of a season would correct the issue, or if it would require finding the right personnel for each scenario.
“Both,” responded Bumpus. “I think that you understand who’s better in what situations and you ride with them, even if they’re making these mistakes. And then throughout the year, guys kind of show what they’re good at, what they’re bad at and how you can help them out.”
How can the Seahawks fix their defense?
Next, Bumpus was asked what he would do to fix the Seahawks’ defensive issues. Here’s how he answered:
This is what I would do. I’d be extremely aggressive on the line of scrimmage. I would blitz more. I don’t think we blitzed enough (against the Rams). I think (Seahawks coach) Pete Carroll said they should have applied more pressure. I would be aggressive off the line of scrimmage, rerouting these guys. It’s called a ‘show’ – you show one thing pre-snap and then you rotate into something else. Maybe they weren’t doing a lot of that because they don’t trust what’s going on with this personnel yet, but I would show. I would show something, drop into something else, and I would blitz a bit more.
I was talking to (former Seahawks safety and current analyst) Paul Moyer after the game the other day and I go, ‘Why not run just more Robber, man?’ You show a two-high safety, you drop that other safety down the middle of the field and you have him just sitting there waiting to rob anything crossing the middle of the field to help your linebackers out.
Michael Bumpus answers four football questions in Four-Down Territory at 11:15 a.m. during each edition of Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy. Listen to Monday’s segment in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.
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