The Seattle Seahawks defense has been dominating people this season, but how has it changed? Has the star-studded secondary and ferocious pass rush become even better? Or are some of the stats they are posting actually worse than it looked last season?
The Seahawks just unveiled a brand new defensive scheme last season, and the results were not what some fans had hoped for.
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At least in the margins. After Reed was released under strange circumstances, they demoted one of the first playmakers. Woods, who is expected to replace him in the striker’s box, is 34 years old, was released last season and is strictly a defensive back.
That means the Seahawks must continue to let Ford grow as a defender, as he did last season. Using Collier more often at the guard position – Seattle’s taller linebackers tend to move inside in pass situations – would be another way to make up for Reed’s absence. It would also make sense with a surplus of Dunlap, Mayowa, Hyder, Robinson, Green, Taylor and Smith on the edge – if he makes the team. It’s not certain, given Smith’s minimum-wage contract (only $137,500 guaranteed) and his recent legal troubles.
The Seahawks want to adjust Dunlap’s starting numbers to keep the 32-year-old fresh during a 17-game season. A deep rotation of marginal players will help.
Robinson is a young player to keep an eye on. Last year, he ranked second among rookies in sacks (4.0) and third in pressures (16) in the fifth round, according to ESPN Stats & Information, but he ranked 47th in defensive snaps (324). The organization thinks he should have played more.
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The Seahawks have no regrets about letting Griffin walk after a three-year, $40 million contract with the Jaguars, believing they should have overpaid to keep him. But they know his departure leaves the cornerback as the weakest position group.
They made Witherspoon their top target in free agency if they needed to replace Griffin and signed him to a one-year, $4 million contract. He looks like a tall, athletic corner for the Seahawks, but he’s had his ups and downs in his four seasons with the 49ers. There’s a reason he only got paid a fraction of what Griffin got in free agency.
Witherspoon and Reid seem the most likely candidates as outfielders. These two have plenty of experience and quality behind them. But there is no clear first-team player in the squad.
If general manager John Schneider has another big summer contract in store in the style of Sheldon Richardson, Jadeveon Clowney and Adams, cornerback is the most logical target.
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