JIM MOORE

Moore: Most encouraging sign from Seahawks’ preseason opener was willingness to blitz

Aug 9, 2019, 12:37 PM | Updated: 12:58 pm
Seahawks DE Barkevious Mingo played late into the fourth quarter Thursday. (Getty)...
Seahawks DE Barkevious Mingo played late into the fourth quarter Thursday. (Getty)
(Getty)

Yes, there were many promising signs with the Seahawks, including the play of Paxton Lynch and Jazz Ferguson, but the most encouraging thing to me was Seattle’s willingness to blitz.

O’Neil: Seahawks defense improves after alarming start

To see the defense blitzing as much as it did in the preseason was unusual because those kinds of calls are typically saved for the regular season. And with the Seahawks it was even more surprising because Pete Carroll typically refrains from blitzing, preferring to get pressure with four pass rushers.

Maybe Carroll and defensive coordinator Ken Norton recognize that they will have to dial up a few more blitzes this year to help with what is expected to be a less-than-stellar pass rush, especially early on. Frank Clark took his 13.5 sacks to Kansas City, and Jarran Reed’s 10.5 sacks will be on the bench for the first six games because of an NFL suspension.

Ziggy Ansah should lead the Seahawks in sacks this year, but there are questions about how many games he will play because of his history with injuries. Following offseason shoulder surgery, it’s unlikely he will be ready for the season opener Sept. 8 against Cincinnati.

So what you’re left with is a grab-bag of younger guys with potential, none of whom has popped as a consistent pocket-passer harasser just yet. To help them out, it appears the Seahawks might blitz more frequently this season if last night’s game against the Broncos serves as any indication.

The Seahawks sent cornerbacks and safeties on blitzes and found some success, but keep in mind that this happened against second-string linemen and backup quarterbacks. Nonetheless, a DeShawn Shead blitz caused a safety, and an Akeem King blitz caused a Jamar Taylor interception that derailed Denver’s next-to-last drive and best chance to tie the game.

Then again, a Marquise Blair blitz in the first half led to a big gainer by the Broncos.

Premier starting quarterbacks will take advantage of the Seahawks and make them look silly at times this season when they pick up the blitzes and counter with deep strikes to receivers beating man-to-man coverage. But is it worse than watching that same premier quarterback get five to seven seconds in the pocket to survey the field and finally find a wide-open receiver?

If I’m Norton, I’ll take my chances by gambling with blitzes and hoping to catch offenses off-guard and at least keep them guessing. Will they send a safety? Will they send a corner? Will they send a linebacker? Or maybe they’ll send two or none at all. It would give quarterbacks more to think about and decipher instead of figuring the Seahawks will pretty much be in their base defense like they’ve always been in the past.

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