Seahawks’ Rasheem Green is breaking out, and a rookie could follow suit
If you’ve been following along with the Seahawks this season, you know that the biggest area of concern has been with the defense, especally the lack of a pass rush.
Over the first nine weeks of the season, the Seahawks had just 15 sacks. In back-to-back games against San Francisco and Philadelphia, however, the Seahawks had a combined eight sacks, and it looked like things were on the rise. But since then, there’s been just one Seattle sack.
The player who got that sack is second-year defensive end Rasheem Green. A 2018 third-round pick, Green now leads the team with four sacks this year and has taken a big step forward after a rookie season in which he appeared in just seven games and registered nine tackles and one sack.
“He’s doing great,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “I’m just happy that he’s been such a factor now.”
Despite being in his second year in the NFL, the 22-year-old Green is the sixth-youngest player on the Seahawks’ roster. He was born one day before rookie defensive back Ugo Amadi.
Green lines up mostly at defensive end and recently taken on a bigger role due to injuries. In the last two games that defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has missed – Week 11 and Week 14 – Green played more than 62 percent of defensive snaps. He had a sack in each of those games.
Green also has a nose for the football, as he has forced three fumbles this year, including in back-to-back weeks against the Eagles and Vikings. Carroll is a coach that preaches winning the turnover battle, so naturally he is thrilled with that element of Green’s play.
“He’s really playing consistently at run and pass, which is great,” Carroll said. “Forcing fumbles and being active in the backfield rushing the passer. He’s playing multiple spots. He’s grown into it. He’s a big part of what we’re doing, and I’m really fired up for him.”
Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. thinks Green has grown more comfortable being a pro in his second year.
“I think when you have younger players, consistency day in and day out, and play after play, usually is an issue,” Norton said. “He’s at a point now where he understands how to be a good player. He likes it, and he knows the routine you have to go through in order to show up each and every week.”
Green’s work ethic and play hasn’t gone unnoticed by his fellow defensive linemen.
“He’s a guy, if you were to talk to the D-line person by person, if there was one guy they liked where he’s been and where he is now, Rasheem is a guy they like playing with,” Norton said.
One rookie whose season currently seems similar to Green’s last year is first-round pick and fellow defensive lineman L.J. Collier. He’s appeared in nine games this year and played a career-high 37 snaps against the Panthers, but has just one tackle and has been a healthy scratch multiple times.
“There’s no question,” Norton responded when asked if there’s a similarity between Green and Collier’s rookie seasons. “(Collier is) coming along the same way and being a good player in this league is a process. You just don’t wake up a good player, it’s a process. You have to fall in love with the process game after game, the experience, plays, film, working with the guys, working with the veterans and the coaches. It takes a while, and if you’re not playing a lot like L.J. wasn’t, it takes a little bit longer. He’s going in the right direction and we really like what we see.”
Carroll thought Collier had his best game so far against Carolina even though he didn’t appear in the box score.
“He just played tough and looked more comfortable,” Carroll said of the rookie. “Played his gap control assignments and stuff really consistently. We didn’t have any busts to speak of. Just looked more comfortable.”
Carroll feels Collier could make a big impact the rest of the season and that he’s finally getting going as a pro.
“He’s got enough playing time in now where I think he’s feeling like he’s comfortable enough to go for it, take a shot at his pass rush opportunities and things like that as opposed to just hoping it gets by,” Carroll said. “I think he’s over the hump. Unfortunately, we didn’t get that accomplished earlier. Depth-wise, it didn’t work out that way. He’s coming out. He’s doing good.”