Not everyone has been great for the Hawks, but I have hopes for one
There have really only been two disappointments in the Hawks pass rush game so far. One has been pretty well documented, that being Dre'Mont Jones. He missed about half of the Panthers game and played just a bit over half the snaps versus the Giants. Yet in 100 pass rush snaps, he has one sack, no QB hits, and nine hurries.
Not bad numbers, but considering that he trails every other defensive lineman in Pro Football Focus pass rush grade, ESPN's Win Rate, or just about any other measure you can find, it isn't good, either. Especially when you consider he's being paid $17 million, and Reed, Edwards, Myles Adams, Mike Morris, and Cam Young are being paid a total of just $8.8 million. Those contract numbers are compiled from spotrac.com. The good news is there's reason to believe Jones will adjust and improve his game. He's played just under 60 percent of all defensive snaps, and the season is young.
The other disappointment is Darrell Taylor. Yeah,I know, that comes as a real shock to those of you who have read more than a few of my scribbles. I mean, almost a month before the season started, I wrote that the Seahawks should trade Taylor for more interior line depth. My reasoning was that while he did tie for the team lead in sacks, he was very streaky, and the Hawks needed more consistency in their pass rush. In 13 games last year (he just got three snaps in week 8, so I'm calling it 13), Taylor had just 26 total tackles, 8 of those for a loss. Nwosu had 66 tackles last year and is far ahead of Taylor in run support again this season. As a rookie, Boye Mafe had 41 tackles, while Taylor for the most part, simply grabbed air.
It's even worse this season, as Taylor has the Seahawks lowest pass rush grade, acoring to Pro Football Focus. No, I don't always agree with their ratings, but it's hard to argue with this, considering DT has just four pressures in 84 pass rushes so far this year. None of those are QB hits or sacks. Compare that to Mafe, who has triple the pressures, 12, in 86 rushes. Plus Mafe doesn't have the stupid penalty for demolishng the quarterback when even blind cave fish knew that Jared Goff didn't have the ball.
Taylor is still awful in run support as well, with five total tackles with one miss. His average depth of tackle - stats from PFF again, sorry about the paywall, 12s - is 5.2 yards. I'm not even sure how that's possible. Nwosu's average depth of tackle is minus one yard. Again, we're talking about rushing plays only. Mafe's average is .3 yards. So while Nwosu is hitting guys a yard deep, and Mafe is meeting them after they literally get one foot past the line of scrimmage, Taylor is waiting for them to grab a hot dog and a beer from the stands before he makes contact. He's the Seahawks worst defender versus the pass and the run. So, why is he still here? Unlike Jones, he knows the system, or should. I hate to dump on a Tennessee Vol, but enough is enough.
Okay, so Taylor has played terribly, but practically everyone else is crushing it on the pass rush. And we barely saw Jamal Adams, and we've all seen what he can do on a blitz. So yes, there is plenty of reason for optimism that the Seahawks will continue their assault on the franchise record, set waaaay back in 1985. You can look for a comparison of that unit to the 2023 edition soon.