Hawk Talk highlights: What’s wrong with the Seahawks’ defense?

Dec 2, 2015, 9:44 AM | Updated: 9:49 am
The Seahawks allowed 480 passing yards to Pittsburgh on Sunday, the most in franchise history. (AP)...
The Seahawks allowed 480 passing yards to Pittsburgh on Sunday, the most in franchise history. (AP)
(AP)

Danny O’Neil hosted a live Seahawks chat Tuesday, as he does each week during the season. The full transcript can be found here. Highlights are below.

NeonReign was skeptical of the job that first-year defensive coordinator has done, saying that Seattle’s secondary has gone from a strength to a liability.

O’Neil: This needs to be on a cut and paste for me: Anyone who thinks Richard is the reason the defense has declined so much is failing to realize the hand that Pete Carroll has in this defense. This is not a case where the defense has been sub-contracted out and Richard is out of his depth. Everything is going through Carroll. Do I think that there’s room for improvement? Yes. Do I wonder why Seattle is blitzing 22 percent of the time this year as opposed to 28 percent of the time in 2013 when the pass rush was significantly better? Yes. But do I think the fix is as simple as demoting the defensive coordinator? No. Because Carroll has a strong hand in this defense, and I believe it’s stronger this year than it has been in the past four years.

tom page noted that opposing pass-catchers seem to be open to often in the middle of the field and asked whether Seattle’s linebackers are to blame for some of the team’s issues in pass defense.

O’Neil: From what I can see – and tell from talking to people who know more than me about the position – I believe the answer is, yes, the depth of Bobby Wagner’s drops is a problem. Less so K.J. Wright’s.

Evil Penguin proposed that Seattle’s problem in pass defense aren’t a personnel matter so much as they are the result of opposing offenses having figured out “how to find the cracks” in the Seahawks’ defense.

O’Neil: There’s certainly some of that. There’s a specific way to attack the zone that Seattle plays, and that’s why you see lots of tight end seam routes. That said, Seattle’s defense isn’t so sophisticated that opponents needed years to find those cracks. Seattle simply isn’t playing its zone as well as it was the past three seasons, and the question for that is why.

Another Stupid Question asked whether second-year linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis has been a disappointment.

O’Neil: Not yet. But the fact that he has struggled with the pass defense is concerning. Seattle’s initial read was that his speed and size would make him an exceptional nickel linebacker soon and a perfect weak-side linebacker candidate. Trouble is he never really dropped into pass coverage in college, and he has really struggled picking up that part of the game. Now, he also hasn’t been asked to step into a prominent role. If he’s not getting heavy playing time next season, then yes, he will have been a disappointment because he showed early flashes of being a real player.

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