Seahawks still have 1 big concern about their defense despite 4-1 record
It’s easy to feel good about the Seahawks as they take a 4-1 record into Sunday’s game against a struggling Cleveland Browns team, but if you had to come up with a concern about the Hawks, what would it be?
Bob Stelton of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Dave and Moore posed that question to his co-hosts on Wednesday, and while Dave Wyman had a few potential answers, he and Jim Moore were able to settle on one.
“The thing that’s always been so good about the Seahawks’ defensive backs (in the past) is the takeaways, and we haven’t seen that,” Wyman said.
The Seahawks’ defense has three interceptions and five fumble recoveries this year, which actually has them tied for seventh in the NFL at plus-3 in takeaway/turnover ratio. Of course, it helps when your quarterback has 12 touchdowns to no interceptions. The interceptions on defense in particular seem low for Seattle, with only two coming from the secondary (defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has the other one). Not only that, but those two picks by defensive backs – Bradley McDougald’s in Pittsburgh and Tedric Thompson’s game-saver against the Rams – came on passes that hit off the hands of the intended receiver.
“In a way they were lucky to get those because those were catchable balls that led to a tip drill and they ended up getting them,” Moore said, “so it’s not like they were stepping in front of somebody and making a play. I think that’s far and away the biggest concern.”
In addition to the Seahawks’ lack of picks, they also rank 26th in pass defense with 270.6 passing yards allowed per game.
“Really, in the Pete Carroll era, that’s un-Seahawk-like,” Moore said of the secondary’s performance.
What’s the cause for the issue? Wyman points more towards the safety position, which he said is still being figured out, than Seattle’s cornerbacks.
“I think Shaquill Griffin has made enough plays and I trust Tre Flowers,” Wyman said of the Seahawks’ corners. “I still feel like safety play is unsettled. At the end of the year we might have two different guys (playing safety than now) – it might be Marquise Blair, it might be Lano Hill. Both guys have gotten their shots, but right now it’s Tedric Thompson and Bradley McDougald. That to me still seems kind of unsettled.”
If the Seahawks start trending in the right direction with takeaways, this Sunday in Cleveland would make a lot of sense as the starting place. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield leads the league with eight interceptions and has 22 in his 19 career games.
“Maybe it’s gonna be this week where a linebacker like Bobby (Wagner) or K.J. (Wright) gets a pick from Baker Mayfield, because he’s giving them away,” Wyman said.
“He’s on a good pace,” quipped Stelton.
You can hear the whole conversation beginning around the 26:20 mark in this podcast from Wednesday’s edition of Bob, Dave and Moore.