Bumpus: How Seahawks should use Bryant over Adams

Dec 7, 2023, 10:00 AM

Seattle Seahawks Coby Bryant...

Coby Bryant of the Seattle Seahawks reacts against the Las Vegas Raiders at Lumen Field in 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Things haven’t been going well for the Seattle Seahawks, who have dropped three games in a row and four of their last five.

Huard: ‘Heat is on everybody’ to get Seattle Seahawks’ defense on track

The Hawks have never lost four games in a row under head coach Pete Carroll since he came to Seattle in 2010, and that will be tested this weekend in a very tough matchup with the NFC West-leading San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers are 9-3 and are winners of four in a row. This past Sunday, San Francisco took down the Philadelphia Eagles, who own the best record in the NFL this year, 42-19. That came a week after beating the Seahawks 31-13 in Seattle on Thanksgiving.

During a conversation about how the Seahawks can try to slow down star 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus brought up a change he thinks Seattle needs to make with its defensive personnel.

“Here’s the thing, you can only slow him down really on third downs and on obvious passing downs,” Bumpus said of McCaffrey during Wednesday’s Bump and Stacy on Seattle Sports. “And what I would do is I would bring Coby Bryant back into the mix when it comes to him getting reps.”

Bryant, a fourth-round pick of the Seahawks last year, played a lot during his rookie year as Seattle’s go-to nickel corner, but has not played much this year due both to a toe injury that kept him out Week 3 to Week 11, but also because of the team having a lot of players in the secondary. Bryant was added back to the 53-man roster two weeks ago.

Seattle’s top two corners are 2022 Pro Bowler Riq Woolen and No. 5 overall pick Devon Witherspoon, and Witherspoon also plays at the nickel spot, which is when Tre Brown comes in and plays at outside corner. The Seahawks also utilize three safeties in Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams and Julian Love, the latter of which signed with the team on a three-year deal in free agency this past offseason.

That all has meant that Bryant, who also played safety during the offseason and preseason, has played just 113 defensive snaps this year.

“I think you start to get him back in the game,” Bumpus said. ” … The reason why I would bring Coby Bryant in is because I would move Julian Love into that box if you have to, and then I would keep Coby Bryant over the top. And if (the 49ers) motion Christian McCaffrey out .. now you have legit matchups. Julian Love can can cover him, and you also have Coby Bryant who can cover him.”

That would leave Adams as the odd man out for the Seahawks’ secondary on third downs and obvious passing situations, Bumpus said.

“No knock on Jamal, but that’s just not his strong suit when it comes to who he is as a football player,” he said. “He’s a tackler. He’s gonna get in the box and mix things up. On run downs … I think you keep Jamal in there and allow him to be physical. But there’s going to be a time where (the 49ers are) going to motion (McCaffrey) out and look for that mismatch. On those third downs, I say you bring Coby Bryant back into the mix, I say you put Julian Love out there and Jamal, just take a play or two off every now and then and mix things up … Coby Bryant needs to make an appearance on this defense, especially this week.”

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

More on the Seattle Seahawks

Rost: Reality is Seahawks have no choice but to be a playoff team
Bumpus: How DK Metcalf had big game for Seahawks in Dallas
• Seahawks’ third straight loss brings playoff hopes into question
• Huard: Seahawks’ defense ‘on its heels’ and has ‘significant’ issues
• Carroll talks through Seahawks’ failed fourth downs vs Cowboys

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