Which Seahawks player benefits most from new defensive scheme?

Jul 2, 2024, 10:03 AM | Updated: 10:15 am

Seattle Seahawks Julian Love Philadelphia Eagles 2023...

Seattle Seahawks safety Julian Love intercepts a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

New Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald is bringing a cutting-edge defensive scheme to the Pacific Northwest.

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Macdonald had great success with his scheme as the defensive coordinator for the past two seasons in Baltimore, where his Ravens defense was known for using versatility to confuse opposing offenses with an ever-shifting array of pressures and looks. Last year, his Baltimore defense became the first in NFL history to lead the league in points allowed, sacks and takeaways in the same season.

Which Seahawks player will benefit most from Macdonald’s scheme in Seattle? When asked that question during Monday’s Blue 88 segment on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk, former NFL quarterback Brock Huard went with sixth-year safety Julian Love.

“This is a system where that football IQ – that acumen to really be able to take the information and the formation and make it come to life – (stand out),” Huard said. “And I think we’re gonna talk about (that with) Julian.”

After spending his first four seasons with the New York Giants, the 26-year-old Love signed with Seattle in March 2023. Love put together a Pro Bowl campaign last season, totaling four interceptions, 10 pass breakups and two forced fumbles. He received a career-high 72.8 defensive grade from Pro Football Focus, which ranked No. 23 out of 95 qualified safeties in the NFL. He also received a career-best 80.4 coverage grade from PFF, which ranked No. 11 among all safeties.

“There were games he was super solid and there were games where I thought he was physically outmatched,” Huard said. “I think (it’s best) when you can play more to the cerebral with Julian versus just, ‘Hey man, you’ve gotta come up and finish this tackle or cover this guy.’ I think the cerebral (talent) for him is gonna really come to life this year.”

Huard isn’t the only one who is excited about Love’s potential this fall. Last week, during an appearance on the “Move the Sticks” podcast with NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks, Seahawks assistant head coach Leslie Frazier said Love is “an outstanding defensive back” and that “over time, you guys will be talking about him a lot.”

Love possesses the type of versatility that could make him a great match for Macdonald’s scheme. He has played all over the field during the course of his career, logging 1,593 snaps at free safety, 950 snaps in the box, 723 snaps at slot corner and 243 snaps at cornerback, according to PFF.

Huard thinks Love’s football IQ will be particularly important in this defense, given how vital communication is to Macdonald’s scheme. Huard pointed to Love being one of the many “green-dot guys” on the Seahawks’ defense, which refers to the green dot on the helmet of a player who is allowed to communicate with the coaching staff from the field via a radio inside their helmet. Only one player is allowed to have the green dot on the field at a time, but the idea is that a handful of different players on Seattle’s defense could be capable of doing so.

“There’s gonna be a lot of conversations and a lot of different coverages and a lot of different packages,” Huard said. “There’s a reason that every time (general manager John) Schneider talked about a free agent acquisition, almost every one of them he said the same thing: ‘He’s a green dot guy, he’s a green dot guy, he’s a green dot guy.’ The linebackers, green dot guys. (Safety) Rayshawn Jenkins and Love, green dot guys. They can communicate. It’s not just (one linebacker) having to disperse all of it. It’s the group in total doing it.”

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 to 10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

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