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.