BROCK AND SALK

Will Seahawks be this year’s NFL team that makes a leap?

May 16, 2024, 11:54 AM | Updated: May 17, 2024, 3:23 pm

Seattle Seahawks Leonard Williams NFL Free Agency...

Leonard Williams of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates a tackle in 2023. (Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

(Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

Seemingly every season in the NFL, there’s at least one team that takes a significant leap forward. Could this year’s breakthrough team be the Seattle Seahawks?

What separates new Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald? Analyst dives in

Peter Schrager of NFL Network and FOX Sports posed that question Wednesday, pointing to the influx of Seattle’s new coaching staff under first-year head coach Mike Macdonald and how that could elevate what he termed as a “young, good roster.” He mentioned that the teams who make the biggest strides from year to year often are the ones with new coaches.

During Thursday’s edition of Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports, former NFL quarterback Brock Huard was asked whether he agreed with the Seahawks being an under-the-radar team to watch this fall.

“I think they are, and I don’t think this is just Seahawks Homerville,” Huard said. “This goes back to that importance of scheme – the importance of scheme versus the importance of the Jimmys and the Joes. And I think some of these Jimmys and Joes are a whole lot better players than they’ve shown. I think already Uchenna (Nwosu) has shown that he’s been an absolute rock. ‘Big Cat’ (Leonard Williams) has shown that he can be an absolute difference-maker. Tyler (Lockett) and DK (Metcalf). There already are guys in place that have shown over the course of their career that they are Jimmys and Joes.

“But now add some scheme to the other pieces. Add some scheme to your edges. Add some scheme to your line of scrimmage. Add some scheme to your quarterback for more gimmes. Add some schemes so you don’t have the lowest percentage of in-cuts in all the NFL. Yeah, I’m kind of with Peter Schrager that I think there’s some pretty cool A-clay to mold around your scheme.”

As Huard mentioned, the cupboard certainly isn’t empty for Macdonald & Co. to work with. Metcalf and Lockett have each posted multiple 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Kenneth Walker has rushed for nearly 2,000 yards in his first two seasons. Williams posted 11.5 sacks with the Giants in 2020. Nwosu had 9.5 sacks with the Seattle in 2022. Young cornerbacks Devin Witherspoon and Riq Woolen were each Pro Bowlers in their rookie seasons. First-round pick Byron Murphy II has game-wrecking potential at defensive tackle.

Huard believes Macdonald and new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb will provide schematic upgrades that can better utilize that talent – and ultimately help the Seahawks boost their win total from last year’s 9-8 campaign.

Macdonald is a trend-setting defensive guru coming off an immensely successful two-year run as Baltimore’s defensive coordinator, having helped the Ravens become the first defense in NFL history to lead the league in points allowed, sacks and takeaways last season. Grubb, meanwhile, is fresh off a success-filled two-year run as the offensive coordinator at UW, where he oversaw a high-octane attack that led the Huskies to the College Football Playoff national championship game.

Huard believes scheme is a major factor in success at the NFL level, as a quick glance across some of the league’s top teams seems to indicate.

“Is (49ers coach) Kyle Shanahan a great schemer? Yeah. Is (Rams coach) Sean McVay a great schemer? Yeah. Is (Chiefs coach) Andy Reid a great schemer? Yeah. They’re all the great schemers,” Huard said. “And what are their teams? Typically all the best teams in the league, or right there with it. So I do think scheme plays a vital role, and I’m excited to watch this scheme with a lot of familiar faces.”

Listen to the full conversation from Thursday’s Brock and Salk in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More Seattle Seahawks coverage

• Ranking Seahawks’ games from hardest to easiest
• Seahawks Schedule: Breaking down their full 2024 slate
• Which Seahawks rookies will make an immediate impact?
• Will new OC Ryan Grubb unlock these Seahawks players?
• 2 Takes: Should Seattle Seahawks bring back Jamal Adams?

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