Huard: Seahawks need rookie Derick Hall to step up in pass rush

Nov 23, 2023, 3:58 PM | Updated: 9:09 pm

Seattle Seahawks Derick Hall...

Derick Hall of the Seattle Seahawks reacts on Oct. 29, 2023. (Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

(Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks are coming off a close and ugly loss to the Los Angeles Rams and have a very daunting four-game stretch coming up.

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Over these next four weeks, the Seahawks will play the San Francisco 49ers twice and also take on the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. All three feature some of the NFL’s best offenses. The first of those tests is Thursday night against the 49ers at Lumen Field.

So what needs to happen for the Seahawks’ defense to take a step forward? Former NFL quarterback Brock Huard discussed that during Wednesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports.

“The guys not named Boye Mafe on that defensive line, they’ve got to do more,” Huard said.

Mafe is in the midst of a breakout second season as he has seven sacks this year already.

Overall, the Seahawks are tied for ninth in sacks this year with 31, but it is worth noting that 11 of those came in one game against the New York Giants. Take that away and the Hawks have just 22 over their other nine games.

Huard wants to see one young edge rusher in particular step up: second-round pick Derick Hall. He pointed to something defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt said this week.

“We struggled. We struggled a lot with (pressuring Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford),” Hurtt said. “Some of the chips in their protections and things like that were a struggle for some guys. It’s like for a younger player like Mafe, it’s like OK, you go seven or eight games in a row where you get (a sack) and things are gonna start changing. They’re gonna start bringing people around you to slow you down a little bit — and that’s a sign of respect. So now it’s adjusting and adapting to that accordingly and understanding how you have to adjust your rush plans and rushing with your teammates when things like that happened to go on. We need to be better.”

Added Huard, “You do need to be better.”

Mafe has been “utterly phenomenal” this year, Huard said. The other edge rushers? Not so much.

“You know who the second-leading sacker on this team is right now? It’s (defensive tackle) Jarran Reed with four, then (inside linebacker) Jordyn Brooks with 3.5 and (corneback) Devon Witherspoon with three,” Huard said. “It’s trending towards Devon Witherspoon being the second-leading sacker on this team, which is not a bad thing for the No. 5 pick. He’s amazing, he’s brilliant.”

While Witherspoon has hit the ground running as a rookie, the same can’t be said for Hall, who in 10 games this year and roughly 30% of Seattle’s snaps has 23 tackles, four quarterback hits and just one tackle for loss with no sacks.

“Derick Hall, I need more from you, man. One tackle for loss, no sacks, hardly sniffing the quarterback,” Huard said. “I mean, Clint can mention Boye, but Boye was right there. Boye was in the grass, he was breathing, Matthew Stafford felt his presence, he had to escape him multiple times. Come on, D-Hall. We need more from you. This team needs more from you.”

Not having edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu for the rest of the season puts even more of an emphasis on Hall stepping up, Huard said.

“The loss of Uchenna has elevated your role,” he said. “I’m not even going to talk about Darrell Taylor because that guy, I’ve known that story for four years. It’s wild inconsistency. I need more from the high second-round pick and I need it this Thursday (against the 49ers).”

Listen to the full second hour of Wednesday’s Brock and Salk at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

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