Moore: 5 reasons the Seahawks’ defense will be better in 2020
If you listen to Bob, Dave and Moore, you probably know I’m pretty negative and cynical. I don’t know where that comes from. It must be one of my many character flaws, looking for clouds on a sunny day. But in the spirit of trying to change, I’m going to acknowledge some negative thoughts before I get to some positive stuff with five reasons why the Seahawks’ defense will be better this year.
And you’re right, it’s not a top 10 list because I couldn’t come up with 10 reasons – I mean, I had to search far and wide to come up with five.
The Seahawks did not make the one move that in my mind would have given the defense the best chance to improve – firing defensive coordinator Ken Norton. I don’t like to advocate dismissals. For starters, it’s bad karma. But in the two years with Norton in charge of the defense, the Seahawks have been far below average.
We all know about the lack of a pass rush this year, but the run defense has been terrible for two seasons now, allowing 4.9 yards per carry in 2018-19.
To those who say it’s actually Pete Carroll’s defense, not Ken Norton’s, I’m not sure what I’d say to you. Maybe something along the lines of Norton’s defenses in Oakland not being very good either. His defenses have been consistently bad, and whether it has more to do with lack of talent than Norton’s coaching, you can make a case for that, but he’s the common denominator with both teams.
That’s my main concern with the defense, but let’s get to the top 5 list of reasons why I think we’ll see improvement in 2020. And I don’t think anyone expects the Seahawks to jump from 26th in total defense to top 10 in the league. I’d just like to see them be 16th in the league or 18th, something in that neighborhood.
If the defense can just be average, the offense might be good enough to get the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl. Case in point – the Chiefs had one of the worst defenses in the league in 2018 but made moderate improvements in 2019 that were enough to help them win a Lombardi Trophy.
1) A full season from Quandre Diggs. In the five regular-season games the free safety played after arriving from Detroit, the Seahawks came up with 16 take-aways. He was a clear upgrade from Tedric Thompson. Imagine how much better the secondary will be with Diggs playing 16 games.
2) Addition of Quinton Dunbar at right cornerback. Rated as the second-best corner in the league by Pro Football Focus last year, Dunbar should be an improvement over Tre Flowers. Now we need to see if Dunbar will be available since he’s facing the possibility of armed robbery charges in Florida.
3) An All-Pro season from Bobby Wagner. He didn’t have one last year, though his stats showed that he was still productive. His new contract starts this year, and if I’m him, I’m wanting to prove I’m worth $18 million a year.
4) A solid season from Jordyn Brooks. I’m guessing as the season goes on, we’ll see more of Brooks and less of K.J. Wright. Brings speed to a unit that needs it. Also like to see that he was the highest-rated college linebacker against the run. And Carroll thinks he’ll help with the pass rush too.
5) An uptick in sacks: As I wrote earlier this week, I think the Seahawks will go from 28 sacks in 2019 to 35 in 2020, and it’s not necessarily because they’ve added four pass rushers in Bruce Irvin, Benson Mayowa, Darrell Turner and Alton Robinson. I think the main improvement will come from a better secondary, allowing the pass rushers more time to get to the quarterback.