Which Seahawks defensive player faces most pressure Sunday vs Rams?

Oct 4, 2018, 12:19 PM | Updated: 12:22 pm
Seahawks, Bradley McDougald, Seattle Seahawks...
Seahawks' S Bradley McDougald has been one of the most productive safeties in the NFL. (AP)

The Los Angeles Rams’ top-ranked offense will pay its annual visit to Seattle this Sunday to take on the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks’ defense has a big challenge ahead of them — but who’s feeling the most pressure?

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The meeting between the NFC West foes comes at a difficult time for a Seattle team that has just lost its All-Pro safety, a promising rookie tight end, and a starting linebacker. Despite those injuries to Earl Thomas and Will Dissly, and the suspension of Mychal Kendricks, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard said it’s not their replacements who will be facing the toughest task in Week 5.

That demanding challenge goes to strong safety Bradley McDougald.

“(McDougald) has been the best strong safety in the NFL through four weeks,” Huard said during his Blue 42 segment of Brock and Salk. “He has been arguably the best defensive player for the Seahawks over the first quarter of this season.

“It’s just the nature of that strong safety spot against a team like the Rams. He’s going to have to come up in run support against running back Todd Gurley, and you just know the Rams are going to run their outside zone and inside zone, and he’s got to be an unblocked guy. Then McDougald has got to cover tight ends… there’s not a single play of what the Rams do where he can take a breath.”

Making matters tricky for the safety tandem is the loss of Thomas, who will be replaced by second-year pro Tedric Thompson. Thompson filled in for Thomas during the preseason and training camp, but McDougald has primarily played with Thomas over the last four weeks of the season.

“On top of those other assignments, he’s got a new safety that he’s got to work in tandem and constantly communicate with in the loudest of venues,” Huard said, “and a new weakside linebacker. There’s going to be a ton on Bradley McDougald.

“The good news is that he’s shown through the first month that he can handle just about everything. But this is going to be a challenge on steroids with this offense coming to town.”

The 4-0 Rams lead the league in total yards (1,874), yards per game (468.5) and points per game (35). Quarterback Jared Goff is completing 72 percent of his pass attempts, and has just two interceptions to his 11 touchdowns. His yards per pass attempt (10.5) and quarterback rating (127.3) are career highs.

The Seahawks’ defense ranks sixth against the pass and is tied for third in interceptions (7). McDougald and Thomas have accounted for five of those picks.

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