Bumpus: A better Seahawks offense could improve the defense’s mentality
Feb 5, 2020, 10:30 AM
For many years under head coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks’ strength was their defense, which would dominate opponents and lessen the burden that the offense had to carry.
This year, those roles were flipped, though the defense was so poor at times that even an above-average offense couldn’t get the job done.
The Seahawks’ biggest story this offseason will be how they address the defense in free agency and the draft, especially on the defensive line. But could adding to an offense that was in the top-10 in points, total yards and rushing yards be just as important as getting more playmakers on the defensive line?
Former NFL wide receiver Michael Bumpus joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Wednesday and said to look no further than the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs for how a great offense can help an average defense.
“I think when you have an offense that can get into a shootout, and that’s the thing, can this offense get into a shootout and put up 40-something points and put together big play drives?” Bumpus said. “(The Seahawks’) offense has that 10-play, 12-play drive deal. When you have an offense that can get into a shootout (with three-play touchdown drives), that just instills confidence in your defense like ‘we don’t have to be perfect. Make these guys work and the offense can bail us out a little bit.’”
In the playoffs, the Chiefs fell behind in all three of their games and mounted comebacks to win. When the offense started clicking in all three of those contests, their defense put the clamps down on opposing offenses.
“Their defense stepped up, especially after you come down 24 the first week of the playoffs,” Bumpus said. “That offense comes back and that defense is like ‘alright guys, hold them to 20 or 26 and we’ll be good to go.’”
The Seahawks’ defense was near the bottom of nearly every major defensive category and were it not for ranking in the top-10 of turnovers forced and turnover differential, the Seahawks probably wouldn’t have won 11 games and made the playoffs.
The Chiefs’ defense was in the middle of the pack in total yards and fielded one of the worst run defenses in the league, but they ranked top-10 in scoring defense and passing yards allowed. Having one of the best offenses in the league likely played a role in how the Chiefs’ defense succeeded overall.
“When the defense knows they have a quarterback and a running game and a passing game that can get it done and can bail them out, I think they play more free therefore they’re more likely to make more plays,” Bumpus said. “They don’t feel like they have to be perfect.”
If the Seahawks are unable to acquire get enough defensive talent to really make a difference from 2019 to 2020, adding more pieces to the offense could allow the defense to have more breathing room.
“It just allows them to play more free,” Bumpus said. “I feel like this defense (in 2019) felt like they didn’t have to be perfect, but they had to exceed expectations to where you have this same defense and you get a better offense out there, I think the Hawks are still playing.”