Halfway there: What we learned from the first half of the Seahawks season

Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Seahawks defensive line has really come along over the last month

At the beginning of the season, this defensive line looked completely lifeless. They got run over by everyone there was to be run over by, from Javonte Williams to Cordarrelle Patterson. The only one getting to the QB was Uchenna Nwosu. I had made Darrell Taylor my personal punching bag.

Suffice it to say, they’ve flipped a switch in the last couple of weeks. Not only is Taylor playing much better in limited snaps, everyone is getting in on the fun. Poona Ford has gone back to being the game-wrecker he was the last season and a half. Shelby Harris is asserting himself as a rock-solid defensive end, just like he was in Denver. Quinton Jefferson is starting to get home more often. Boye Mafe is continuing to make strides as the future of Seattle’s pass rush. Bruce Irvin has come off the couch and looked like his old Pro Bowl self in a matter of two weeks.

They’ve looked much more aggressive as a unit, and are flying to the ball the way the old front sevens of a decade ago did. According to Jefferson, that should come as no surprise, since the Seahawks made the switch from a more conventional 3-4 two-gap scheme, where the line sits back and waits for the offense to make the first move, to a one-gap scheme more commonly found in 4-3 defenses.

If this sounds familiar to you, that’s because it’s not far removed from how Seattle ran their defense in Carroll’s first years, with Red Bryant playing one edge and pushing everything back inside and Chris Clemons coming off the other edge from a wide position. In much the same way, Shelby Harris has assumed the role of Red Bryant, while Uchenna Nwosu has become Chris Clemons. There really is a lot to like here, and after they so thoroughly handled a good Giants offensive line and an even better halfback in Saquon Barkley, it’s hard to imagine this is just a flash in the pan.