How the Seahawks will use Bradley McDougald to shut down the opposition

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Bradley McDougald
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Bradley McDougald /
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Bradley McDougald will have a huge impact on the Seahawks this season, as much as any move they made this year.

Eddie Lacy gets much more press than Bradley McDougald. Just google “Eddie Lacy Seahawks” and “Bradley McDougald Seahawks” if you don’t believe me. It’s only about 543,000 to 46,500. This isn’t to knock Lacy, not at all. I think it was a smart move to sign him, and a very smart contract, too. I’m just saying that McDougald will prove every bit as important to the Seahawks playoff hopes as Lacy.

Here’s why. McDougald will do much more than sub for Earl Thomas III and Kam Chancellor. I’m not minimizing the importance of his ability to play either safety spot. Thomas missed five games last year with injuries. Last season was the first he’d missed any games, but he did miss time. Chancellor hasn’t played a full season since 2013. Let’s assume Thomas gets back to his full slate of 16 games, though.

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McDougald isn’t at their Pro Bowl level, but he isn’t that far behind, either. Over the last two season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he had 228 total tackles and defensed 14 passes. Thomas had 183 total tackles in his last two full seasons, while Chancellor had 153 tackles. That’s solo tackles plus assists in all cases. Prorated to a full 32 game schedule, that’s 213 tackles. Again, I’m not saying McDougald is right at their level, but he’s much closer than the players the Seahawks have been using as subs.

First, some context. Just how many plays are we talking about? Last season the Seahawks played 1080 defensive snaps. In 2015, they played 996. Good things happen when you run the ball well – like your defense plays 84 fewer snaps. We’ll assume 1,000 defensive snaps, as they should be on the field less than last season. Plus the math is much easier.