DANNY ONEIL

What We’re Trying To Figure Out: Is the Seahawks’ defense too light up front?

Sep 26, 2017, 1:00 PM
DeMarco Murray's TD was the longest run given up by the Seahawks under Pete Carroll. (AP)...
DeMarco Murray's TD was the longest run given up by the Seahawks under Pete Carroll. (AP)
(AP)

The Seahawks offense was only half bad in Tennessee.

After being largely inert for the first six possessions, Seattle rang up 27 points in the final 32 minutes.

Unfortunately, just when the Seahawks offense got in gear, the defense fell apart resulting in a second loss in three games and adding to the list of questions we have about this team:

What we’re still trying to figure out:

1. Are the Seahawks too light up front on defense?

Two weeks ago, the Seahawks’ run defense sagged in the second quarter of what turned out to be a victory against San Francisco. This week, it collapsed outright in the second half against the Titans. Maybe it was the humidity. Maybe it’s fatigue from an offense that’s been unable to sustain much of anything for the first two quarters of the game. Or maybe, it’s that Seattle isn’t as formidable up front as it once was. And the Seahawks certainly aren’t as big as they used to be along the defensive line when Red Bryant was a 320-pound defensive end and Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel were veritable mountains in the middle. Of the eight defensive linemen currently on Seattle’s roster, only two weigh more than 300 pounds and Jarran Reed is the heaviest at 306. In 2013, three of Seattle’s four starting defensive linemen weighed more than 320 pounds.

2. Is Seattle’s offense at its best when Russell Wilson is ad-libbing?

Because it certainly seems that way. It’s not so much the tempo of the offense as it is the control that Wilson has over what’s going on. You put the game in his hands and he’s able to make the most of it. Not only that, but against the Titans it resulted in getting the ball into the hands of the second highest-paid player on offense: Jimmy Graham. He had seven catches for 72 yards. You thought that Graham’s seven catches in Sunday’s game were enough to pre-empt a week’s worth of wondering how he’s being used? Ha. Think again. Given the personnel Seattle currently has, and its difficulty in pass protection, is Seattle best-served with putting more sandlot into its approach?

3. Where are the turnovers at?

The Seahawks have forced two of them so far, both interceptions. More tellingly, one interception was from rookie defensive tackle Nazair Jones and the second was by linebacker Bobby Wagner, who tricked San Francisco’s Brian Hoyer into throwing a pass he could pick off. The fact is that Seattle’s secondary isn’t really getting chances to make plays. Opponents are not pushing the ball down the field. San Francisco didn’t have a single explosive pass play against Seattle. The Titans attempted all of six passes in the second half of the game. Opponents aren’t going to challenge Seattle’s defense – and thereby give the Seahawks more opportunities at turnovers – until the Seahawks can stake out a lead and thereby force the issue.

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What We’re Trying To Figure Out: Is the Seahawks’ defense too light up front?