Nov 6, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll congratulates defensive end Chris Clemons (91) on a defensive stop against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Seahawks Defense Increasingly Becoming A Collection Of Specialists


As the headline states, the Seahawks seem to have been amassing a large number of specialists for their defense. First round pick Bruce Irvin is a perfect example. He’s an amazing pass rusher, but at least at this point in his development, he offers next to nothing in run support.

This is especially true on the defensive line. Brandon Mebane, Red Bryant and Alan Branch are among the league’s best run stuffers. They also offer next to nothing in terms of pass rush. Conversely, Chris Clemons, Jason Jones, and now Irvin are exceptional pass rushers, but offer little in terms of run support.

That dichotomy can lead to really good things for the Seahawks. It should allow them to be great against both the run and pass. Get he run stuffers out there on running downs, and then pull them off for the pass rushers one passing downs.  The problem is that this system puts tremendous pressure on the coaches to make sure the right the right personnel on the field for every play. Have the wrong unit in there and bad things are bound to happen. Luckily, I have a lot of faith in Pete Carroll and Gus Bradley.

My concern is that this type of system is open to team’s that “break convention;” throwing on running downs and passing in running situations. I think we’re going to see a lot of teams going 3 or 4 wide and then handing it off. Or coming out with 2 TEs and a fullback only to pass the ball.

Another thing that makes me worry is versatile players like SF’s LaMichael James. I can see them huddling with 2 TEs, a FB, James as the RB, and just 1 WR, and then shifting into a formation that has James and speedy TE Vernon Davis both split out wide. The Seahawks would mostly likely find themselves with their run-stopping unit on the field, and would be at a major disadvantage against any pass play called by the Niners.

Obviously, we’ll have to wait and see how this all plays out. As I said above, I have a lot of Faith in Carroll and Bradley to get the right players on the field and to call the right plays. I’m just concerned. There’s a reason why other teams don’t do this. While there’s potential for this defense to be absolutely amazing, I’m still worried.

Tags: Bruce Irvin Chris Clemons Featured Popular Red Bryant Seahawks Seattle Seahawks

  • HanleyBonynge

    I agree with you worries.  The one thing that wasn’t stated, that I think makes a big difference in whether teams change formation at the line, is that our secondary is pretty damn good.  So while our personnel may be wrong for the situation at the line, I’m assuming that Carroll and Schneider are counting on our secondary to step up and shut the play down at the point of reception.

  • HanleyBonynge

    I agree with your worries.  The one thing that wasn’t stated, that I think makes a big difference in whether teams change formation at the line, is that our secondary is pretty damn good.  So while our personnel may be wrong for the situation at the line, I’m assuming that Carroll and Schneider are counting on our secondary to step up and shut the play down at the point of reception.

  • Keith_12thMR

     @HanleyBonynge You’ve definitely got a point there. The secondary did it’s job last season with almost no pass rush, and all 4 starters are above average at run support.

  • Hawkman

    Qudo’s on a great point  and @ Hanley I agree with you also- BUT I would think that eventually we are going to see alot more Five DB’s on the field all the time , with one of them being that SS / LB hybrid that will be able to read – react to run pass either way. I remember bringing this up in the 90′s with buddies and most of them laughed at me and called me stupid , but I knew evetually someone would find the right inteligent player/ players  who could make it excell.

  • Keith_12thMR

     @Hawkman I could see that happening. If Guy Winston develops like I, and pete carroll, expect him too, then Kam Chancellor could be that guy. He’s got all the physical attributes to excel at it, he just has to show that he wont get fooled by play-action all the time.