How new Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs improves the defense
While new Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon has gotten a lot of love for his two third down catches during last week’s 27-24 overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers, another recent acquisition also made his mark.
Safety Quandre Diggs made his Seahawks debut and played in the back end of the Seattle secondary along with Bradley McDougald. The duo had what head coach Pete Carroll described as the best safety play the team has seen all year.
Diggs had some big hits to go along with two tackles, a pass defense and an interception that set up a Russell Wilson touchdown pass to tight end Jacob Hollister.
How does Diggs make the defense so much better? Jake Heaps of Tom, Jake and Stacy said Diggs’ style of play causes offensive players to think twice about coming his way.
“The physicality that he brings in the run game and on the back end hitting receivers and tight ends,” Heaps said to describe what stands out when watching Diggs play. “… Being a force back there and making quarterbacks and receivers and skill players second guess whether or not they want to go over the middle.”
But that’s not all that Diggs brings to the defense.
“In coverage, what Quandre Diggs does is he understands where weaknesses are with particular players,” Heaps said.
Diggs’ knowledge of the game allows him to sometimes cheat to one half of the field where the opposing offense is trying to attack. That shows Diggs’ “veteran savvy,” Heaps said, which is something Seattle hasn’t seen much from the safety position since Earl Thomas left via free agency and Kam Chancellor retired after 2017.
“You watch the past year and a half of safety play in Tedric Thompson and other guys that they’ve tried back there,” Heaps said, “they just play the middle of the field and in their coverage, they do their job and they’re not very reactive or instinctive.”
But when Diggs is on the field, it’s different.
“Instead Quandre Diggs is shrinking holes in the zone because he’s recognizing what offenses are trying to do, how they want to attack and who may be the weak link on the defense at different times,” Heaps said. “So he’s done a great job in one game of just showing offensive coordinators and quarterbacks that if you’re going to throw the ball over the middle of the field or down the field, you’d better be on it because Quandre Diggs is going to make that window smaller.”
Tom Wassell, one of Heaps’ co-hosts, said he saw the following tweet from Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com that broke down what the Lions have done on defense since Diggs was traded from Detroit to the Seahawks.
In four games since the Lions traded safety and defensive captain Quandre Diggs for a late-round pick, they've given up:
322 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT to Daniel Jones
289 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT to Derek Carr
173 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT to Mitch Trubisky
444 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT to Dak Prescott
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) November 18, 2019
In short: The Lions’ secondary hasn’t been good since Diggs came to Seattle.
“I read through it two or three times and I thought, well yeah, did you think the Lions were going to get better by trading away a key part of their secondary away?” Wassell said.
Responded Heaps: “But fortunately for the Seahawks, the Lions were willing to deal him and he’s absolute been a factor in only one game, but there’s obvious signs to be optimistic.”
Diggs will have a chance to solidify his role in the Seahawks defense on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
While Seattle is 8-2 and coming off its bye, the Eagles are 5-5 and coming off a tough 17-10 home loss to the New England Patriots. The game could have playoff implications for both teams, as Seattle is one game behind the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West race while Philadelphia is one game behind the Dallas Cowboys for first place in the NFC East.
Listen to the discussion in the player below.