BROCK AND SALK

Brock: How Seahawks’ defense will create ‘illusion of complexity’

May 18, 2024, 7:14 PM | Updated: May 19, 2024, 7:12 pm

Seattle Seahawks Mike Macdonald rookie minicamp 2024 Getty 900...

Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald watches a workout during 2024 rookie minicamp. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Much has been made about what new Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald will do with the team’s defense after leading arguably the NFL’s best in Baltimore last season.

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

Macdonald’s defense is known for confusing offenses with multiple looks that can send pressure from any direction. It was clearly effective as the Ravens led the NFL in sacks, allowed the fewest points per game and yards per passing attempt, and were tied for the third most interceptions. However, Macdonald’s defense isn’t quite as complex as it seems.

Former NFL quarterback Brock Huard was asked Wednesday what the keys to Macdonald creating an “illusion of complexity” in his defense are during Blue 88 on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

“Organize and simplify,” Huard said. “Those are going to be the keys.”

That’s how Huard summed up what NFL writer Ted Nguyen of The Athletic, who recently wrote about Macdonald and his defense, said Tuesday in a conversation with Bump and Stacy.

Related: What separates new Seahawks coach Macdonald? Nguyen dives in

Here’s what Nguyen said:

With Macdonald’s system, it’s really defined by how it’s organized and how it’s taught. You can apply any different schemes to the way he organizes things and the way he thinks through things. I think he just thinks about how players that are going to be able to learn and execute on game day, and I think that’s what really separates him and I think that’s what’s gonna make him a great head coach is that he understands what players are thinking and how he can just make it easy on them on game day, as far as learning what they need to learn and just executing on the field.

‘The Sean McVay of defense’

Nguyen’s article called Macdonald “the Sean McVay of defense.” Huard shared a story about the Los Angels Rams coach, who’s considered among the best offensive minds in NFL, from his time covering the NFL as an analyst for FOX in 2020.

“I had the Rams three different times, and I love studying them,” Huard said. “I love watching everything Sean McVay did, but I kept going, ‘Gosh, this is really simple at the very essence of it.’ For the offensive line, it’s really simple. They have basically like three schemes. They have outside zone, they have a screen and play-action off of it.”

That led to Huard bringing up the simplicity of the offense to McVay during a production call before the game. Huard thought it might offend the coach, but it was quite the opposite.

“I said, ‘Sean, please hear me out here, but your system reminds me of the military schools. The triple option with what they do and the repeatability,’” Huard said. “And he’s like, ‘Why would that offend me? That’s like, the greatest compliment you could give.’”

What McVay does is simplify the job of the toughest position group on the field. Huard said that is the line on offense.

“Sean’s point was ‘I simplify to the hardest position group on the field,’” Huard said. “… I’m not going to make them do these seven-step drops and try to protect these edge rushers and do that. No, I simplify the game as much as I can for the hardest position on the field and everybody follows in line. If this guy Macdonald is the Sean McVay of defense, we will see the same thing play out.”

Listen to the full Blue 88 segment at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6-10 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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