Pump the brakes: 3 things we learned from Seattle Seahawks Week 1 loss to the Rams

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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The Seahawks' defense needs Jamal Adams back — badly.

So, for those of you who are unaware, Pete Carroll comes from the vaunted Monte Kiffin coaching tree. That's why there's been so much hay made about the applications of Tampa 2 ever since Ken Norton was piloting the defense.

But the truth is, at the end of the day, the scheme Seattle runs is a very conventional Kiffin 4-3 at heart, and though every coordinator the Seahawks have brought in to coach it has had their own twists to it, it's been fundamentally the same defense ever since Lofa Tatupu was wearing the captain's patch.

And the goal of Tampa 2 is very simple — pressure the offense at the line on early downs with cover 3, get them into third-and-long situations where calling the titular Tampa 2 coverage is ideal, and keep the offense in front of the sticks at all times. It's one of the simplest defensive schemes that exists in football today, and it still works as well as it did back in 2002.

But in order to run Tampa 2, a defense needs a few very specific roles to be filled. First off, the front four need to be able to get pressure without any blitz help. We've talked about that already, so no need to rehash those lamentations. Secondly, since Cover 3 is only ever played as a man/zone hybrid coverage anymore, you need at least one corner who excels in press and man coverage. Ten years ago, that was Richard Sherman, and now, it's Riq Woolen, who has tools we've never seen before but is still polishing the finer aspects of his game.

Lastly, and most importantly, you need a set of defenders to lock down the space between the hashes with enough range for one to drop back into a deep third on obvious passing downs. Jordyn Brooks hasn't lost a step since whatever Wolverine-type rehab he did to recover from an exploded knee in about half a year, and Julian Love has some decent traits, as well, but Bobby Wagner is no longer suitable to run Tampa 2. He simply doesn't have the speed or agility anymore.

I wonder if maybe the coaching staff knew this going into the season, as well, because they talked about having Jamal Adams play some off-ball LB this year, which on the surface sounds like a way to get him involved as a pass rusher more often. But Adams is also exactly the guy you would want to run Tampa 2 with, because he's probably still fast enough to get back into that deep middle zone, and he's also highly instinctual as a short-area defender. Truthfully, it seems to me that Seattle's need for Adams is just as much in coverage as it is in the pass rush, as silly as that might sound to some.

It's not fair to say that this defense is built around Jamal Adams, any more than it is to say that this defense is built around John Lynch or Mike Brown. But getting Adams back would immediately give the Seahawks the personnel they need to run their defense the way it was meant to be run.

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