Huard: Key stat for Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald that jumps out

Feb 4, 2024, 10:38 AM | Updated: 10:43 am

Seattle Seahawks Mike Macdonald defense...

Justin Madubuike of the Baltimore Ravens sacks Jake Browning of the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 16, 2023. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

New Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald had quite the final season in Baltimore.

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In his final year as defensive coordinator, the Ravens were the top defense in the NFL. In fact, the 2023 Ravens were the first team in NFL history to lead the league in each of points allowed, sacks and takeaways.

But there’s another stat from Baltimore’s defense last year that stands out to former NFL quarterback Brock Huard that he got courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

“The Ravens defense generated 397 total quarterback pressures this regular season. It is the most recorded in the PFF era (since 2006),” Huard said Thursday on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk. “They know how to attack the most important position on the field.”

The Seahawks’ pass rush has been very inconsistent over the last few years, and Huard isn’t a fan of how former defensive coordinators utilized blitzes.

“I’ve seen a nickel blitz. I saw that in high school,” he said. ” … I’ve seen the double dogs, I’ve seen some of what you’re trying to do, Clint Hurtt, and trying to be aggressive, Ken Norton … And then I see what the Baltimore Ravens do, and it’s totally different. It’s just much more exotic, it’s much more challenging, right? It’s very hard to decipher who’s coming and where they’re coming.”

For fans who want a prime example of what Macdonald’s scheme can do, there’s a game you should rewatch, Huard said. It’s not a Ravens game, but actually Michigan beating the UW Huskies for the national championship last month. Macdonald was Michigan’s defensive coordinator in 2021 and helped laid the foundation for that title-winning team’s defense.

“Go see how much (UW Huskies quarterback) Michael Penix got hit. Nobody got to Michael Penix this year save for Arizona State on a wet sloppy night when he was banged up. Nobody,” Huard said. “Nobody until Michigan got to him in the national title game. They show you one look pre-snap, and it’s a very different look post-snap. They show you one front one week, they show you another front the next week.”

Getting after opposing quarterbacks is important in general, but it’s especially key with two teams and quarterbacks Macdonald will now face twice a year: the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams, whose coaches both come from the Shanahan coaching tree.

“When you play the Shanahan tree, if you don’t get to the QB and you don’t affect (Rams quarterback) Matthew Stafford and you don’t affect (49ers quarterback) Brock Purdy, guess what? They throw for 300 yards right over your head and beat you time and time again,” Huard said. “You’ve got to get to the most important position.”

Hear the full discussion from Thursday’s Blue 88 segment of Brock and Salk in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

More on Seattle Seahawks and Mike Macdonald

Wyman: How Seahawks’ Mike Macdonald can help Geno Smith
Why ESPN’s Mina Kimes wanted Seattle Seahawks to hire Mike Macdonald
Mike Macdonald’s defense has dominated Seattle Seahawks’ rivals
• What K.J. Wright likes about new Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald
• Huard: Seattle Seahawks seemed ‘enamored’ with Mike Macdonald

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