STACY ROST

Rost: Will a healthy Seahawks’ secondary help the defense click?

Sep 29, 2023, 4:01 PM

Seattle Seahawks Quandre Diggs...

Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs celebrates his overtime interception against the Los Angeles Rams. (Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks take on the Giants for Monday Night Football and they’ll do so with the healthiest version of their secondary thus far. Can it aid a defense that’s floundered against the pass through three weeks?

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Here are three things we learned during this week’s version of The Huddle:

A healthy Seahawks defense is a creative Seahawks defense

For the first time this year, the Seahawks will be able to have their starting defensive backs on the field at the same time.

All injured players will still need to make it through the week, but cornerbacks Riq Woolen and Devon Witherspoon, and safety Jamal Adams, will play together along with Quandre Diggs and Julian Love for the first time this season (Woolen, Witherspoon and Adams have all missed at least one game). The secondary also includes Coby Bryant, who took snaps at safety this preseason and was last year’s starting nickel, along with Artie Burns and Michael Jackson.

With availability comes versatility, and that’s a useful weapon for a Seahawks defense that ranks 31st against the pass.

“That’s the fun part,” Quandre Diggs said of that versatility during The Huddle on Thursday. “That’s where now we can get to the part where quarterbacks have to ID what we’re in, who’s who, who’s gonna blitz and who’s not gonna blitz, which side is which. We’ll be mixing it around a little bit more and having fun with it.”

Seattle doesn’t just get its leader in interceptions from 2022 back (Woolen) but also the team leader in sacks from 2019 (Adams). The following season didn’t bring the same success with the pass rush and his 2022 campaign ended in Week 1, but Adams greatest strengths as a player remain in the box. And in his first game back in more than a year he has a chance to do some damage against a Giants offensive line that’s allowing Daniel Jones to be pressure on nearly 50% of dropbacks.

Who’s the most underappreciate and underrated player in the league? He might be a Seahawk… and he could be in store for a big Week 4

“Who’s the most underrated player in the league” has many possible answers, but one is right here in Seattle. At least according to Diggs, who’s response to that question Thursday was wide receiver Tyler Lockett.

“You put his numbers up against the best and he’s right there,” Diggs said. “As consistent as he is year in and year out, I don’t understand why he continues to get underappreciated. For him to not even be getting Pro Bowls and things like that, I think that’s a disgrace to his game. And I think sometimes he’s overshadowed — don’t get me wrong, there’s great receivers in the league – but I think to be the best considered the best you have to be consistent. You have to do it for such a long period of time. And he’s been doing it for so long and so well, why isn’t he considered one of the best?”

Seahawks fans thinking about underappreciated players probably came to the same conclusion. Lockett has finished with 1,000-plus receiving yards in each of his last four seasons and has been a safety net for the Seahawks offense when they need it most — just look at his Week 2 two-touchdown performance against the Lions, with his final score coming on the first play of overtime in a badly-needed win.

Monday night might be a toss up on paper between the Hawks and Giants, but Seattle’s offense has been far more productive than New York’s. The Seahawks are fourth in the league in total points through three weeks (the Giants are 31st) and will be facing a Giants defense that’s allowed about 30 points per game. They’ve been middle-of-the-road against the pass, but are still allowing 223 pass yards per game and are giving up 22 fantasy points per game to receivers, per CBS Sports.

A sleeping Giant or a big disappointment?

ESPN’s Jordan Raanan calls the defense the biggest disappointment for the Giants this year.

Seattle Seahawks will try to stay perfect at MetLife when they face Giants

“Leonard Williams has been up and down, Dexter Lawrence has played well, but they need more from Kayvon Thibodeaux, I think that’s pretty clear,” Raanan said. “You can’t have one pressure a game from him. This team’s going to have a hard time operating defensively at the level they want to if they don’t get it on a more consistent basis. (Defensive coordiantor) Wink Martindale likes to blitz and create pressure but also helps if you can get that pressure naturally and don’t have to blitz all the time.”

Those numbers are an intriguing matchup for Seattle’s offense but come with a word of caution. On the one hand, the Giants defense could have truly taken a huge step backwards and be sitting now in a dire situation. On the other, they could have just had a slow start against two high-powered teams in Dallas and San Francisco, both of whom are top five in scoring through three weeks. Seattle also finds itself in that group, but doesn’t have the same O-line health.

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