Bumpus: ‘Defense is the identity’ of the Seattle Seahawks right now

Nov 1, 2023, 3:47 PM

Seattle Seahawks...

Boye Mafe of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates on Oct. 29, 2023. (Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

(Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks have a new force in the middle of their defense after a big trade on Monday.

K.J. Wright: What Seattle Seahawks get in adding Leonard Williams, who it helps

Seattle acquired veteran defensive tackle Leonard Williams from the New York Giants for two draft picks, and when news of the trade first broke, here’s what former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus said:

“The defense is the identity of this team right now. So what do you do to the identity of your team? You bolster that thing up,” Bumpus said.

That first sentence is certainly intriguing, and it’s something Bumpus dove into further on Tuesday’s Bump and Stacy on Seattle Sports.

“I’m looking at just the way this defense has been playing as of late. Obviously, you start the season, you give up a bunch of points and a bunch of yards to the Rams and you’re trying to figure things out … And going into the season, we’re thinking about the offense, right?” he said.

Indeed, the Seahawks’ defense was a major issue last year while the offense had a great year and returned nearly every key player, including quarterback Geno Smith, receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, and running back Kenneth Walker III.

That naturally led many to believe that the biggest question facing the Seahawks this year was whether the defense could hold up its end of the bargain.

“We were looking at the defense and saying we don’t we really don’t know what this defense is gonna look like,” Bumpus said. “… We have all these questions and we’re waiting to see what’s going to happen. And then the first week comes around and you’re like, ‘Oh no, man. Oh no. The offense is gonna have to step up.’ Then you get into a shootout against the Detroit Lions 37-31 and you get that ‘W’ (in Week 2). Then the Carolina Panthers (game in Week 3) I think is when we started to kind of see what this defense could be.”

While Seattle allowed 27 points and a lot of yards through the air against Carolina, the run defense was stellar. That was key as Seattle was 30th out of the NFL’s 32 teams against the run last year.

Since then, things have been really good on that side of the ball.

“You hold (Carolina) to 44 yards rushing on the ground … And then we get to the New York Giants, you get 11 (sacks) and you’re thinking hold on, what’s going on here? We know the Giants are bad, but what’s going on here?” Bumpus said. “The following (game), go to Cincinnati and you hold Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase (in check) … and you’re thinking, ‘Imagine if the offense would have just played their game.’ They would have been OK … So every week we’ve seen this defense get better and better and better … The more exciting plays have been made on the defensive side of the ball this year.”

The Seahawks have seen improvements in almost every defensive category so far.

They were 26th in total defense last year and are 17th this year.

After ranking third-to-last in run defense in 2022, the Hawks are now eighth in the league.

Points have also gone down dramatically, too, with Seattle ranking 11th after finishing 25th a year ago.

“The defense to me right now, this feels more reliable than the offense. I’m not saying the offense is bad, but I think that the defense over the past five weeks has been the side of the ball that keeps this team in the game,” Bumpus said. “And now they’re making moves to make it that much better. The offensive personnel, once they start clicking, they’re good. I’m not worried about adding to the offense. I think they’re going to be good. But I think this team has turned into a defensive team.”

Simply put by Bump: “Your identity is what you do best.”

“We say it all the time that it’s a week-by-week type of league. And week by week, the defense is getting better and better and better. Now the offense, they’re plateauing, maybe taking little clicks up in certain categories … They’re getting better, but just not at the same rate as the defense,” he said. “So I look at the talent, look at the play and I say right now, this is a defensive team.”

Listen to the full second hour of Tuesday’s Bump and Stacy at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

• Lefko: Gap closed? How Seahawks, 49ers match up after trade deadline
• Seahawks Football 101: How will Leonard Williams fit into defense?
• Seahawks’ defense continues locking down opponents in second half
• Peters’ Seahawks debut just one reason to highlight O-line
• Why can Leonard Williams ‘hit the ground running’ with Seattle Seahawks?

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