BROCK AND SALK

Baldinger: What makes Seahawks’ new D a ‘conundrum’ for QBs

Jun 20, 2024, 2:16 PM

Seattle Seahawks Mike Macdonald 2024 rookie minicamp...

Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald talks with Byron Murphy II during 2024 rookie minicamp. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

When they take the field this fall, the Seattle Seahawks will sport one of the most cutting-edge defenses in the league.

Seahawks busy learning Mike Macdonald’s ‘really creative’ defense

New head coach Mike Macdonald is considered one of the game’s brightest defensive minds, with a creative and versatile scheme that achieved immense success during his two-year run in Baltimore. As the Ravens’ defensive coordinator last season, Macdonald’s defense became the first in NFL history to lead the league in points allowed, sacks and takeaways.

What makes Macdonald’s scheme so difficult for opposing quarterbacks? NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger explained during an appearance Wednesday on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

“The quarterback is always looking to get a pre-snap read on where the defense is gonna be,” Baldinger said. “They look at the safeties – where are the safeties? Where’s the rotation? Is it a zone? Is it man? (In most defenses), the safeties kind of give a lot of things away.

“But not in Mike’s defense. The quarterbacks generally won’t know what you’re doing until the ball is snapped. They have all the (different types of) defenses. They can blitz and they can play man. They can do all those things, but you won’t know until the ball is snapped.”

One key aspect of Macdonald’s defense is a unique type of matchup zone.

“This matchup zone, they sit on top of these route combinations and the quarterback is sitting there and they’re like, ‘That guy’s in a great position to make this play, let me go to my next read.’ And next thing you know, the rush is on them. That’s why the Ravens led the league in pass-rushing sacks last year. The quarterbacks were forced to hold the ball.

“It’s a defense I believe that is going to kind of transcend what teams are doing in this league right now. I think a lot of teams are gonna look at what Mike did last year and try to copy it. … It was a conundrum for most quarterbacks all year long.”

During his Blue 88 segment Thursday, former Seahawks quarterback Brock Huard elaborated on what Baldinger said.

“This is a different animal, man,” Huard said. “This scheme is different. This scheme is reacting to the fronts, to the formations, to the pattern reading of the assignments. … And then at the snap, (opponents) are gonna be like, ‘Oh gosh, what are they doing here? Is this three over two? Is this four over three? Is this quarters? Are they rotating?’

“Like, they don’t give tells. There is not a tell to be had. They are a really good poker player. Macdonald’s defense (is) some of the best in disguising it. You can just ask (Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith) with that nightmare of a trip to Baltimore last season.”

Listen to the full conversation with NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Listen to the full Blue 88 segment on Brock and Salk at this link or in the audio player near the bottom of this story.

More Seattle Seahawks coverage

• From Jamaica to Seattle: The Seahawks’ new ironman left guard
• Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett: How Carroll and Macdonald differ
• The biggest position battle on Seattle Seahawks’ O-line
• Moving around: How Seahawks’ D-line is fitting into new scheme
• After standout spring, JSN primed to be ‘massive piece’ of Hawks’ offense

 

 

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