Seahawks lack of pass rush is the top concern of fans after Week 1
Answering Super Joes questions between Week 1 and Week 2: Seaside Joe 1658
The Seahawks didn’t get any sacks in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams — only eight fewer than my vision board prediction of eight sacks — and they face an even tougher test in that regard against the Lions in Week 2.
Super Joes users have access to the Seaside Joe suggestion, questions, and comments box this week and pass rush was the number one concern. For example:
Will the pass rush show up this week?
It could and I would keep in mind that the Seahawks could be held to fewer than two sacks and still have a much better performance against the Lions than they did against the Rams. Seattle is facing a worse quarterback in Jared Goff as opposed to Matthew Stafford, who is more capable of getting off passes with a hand in his face or twisting his arm to “Wanted” the ball around defenders into a perfect dot, but Goff is good at avoiding sacks.
He’s just not as good at moving the football and dictating the pace of the game as Stafford.
The Seahawks were given credit for only three pressures in Week 1, which is one-third the amount of pressures that Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt had by himself against the 49ers. There were 18 individuals who had more than three pressures in Week 1. If Seattle just shows up and gets six pressures, which still wouldn’t be a lot, they’d still be doing twice as good as they did against the Rams.
Goff was pressured just four times in Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs, but that was without Chris Jones.
Now, the funny thing about a “pressure” is that it is up to interpretation and can sometimes be caused by poor offensive line play/quarterback play, not necessarily as a result of outstanding defensive play. As noted in Thursday’s bonus article about OL injuries, Detroit could be without left tackle Taylor Decker and his backup might be very bad. Worse than Jake Curhan.
So should the Seahawks be happy if the Lions accidentally open the floodgates at a certain point?
Well, I wouldn’t say that they should be unhappy because it could help Seattle win the game. However, what you’re really asking and what fans really want is to see the Seahawks create pressures, get sacks, and cause disruption in the trenches that is the reason for blowing up plays before they’re able to be executed.
I do have my doubts that that’s going to happen this Sunday, for a few reasons:
1 - The Lions offensive line is great and should be able to withstand one injury, even if Taylor Decker does miss the game
2 - Goff has his faults, but getting pressured and sacked isn’t one of them
3 - Ben Johnson is a really good offensive coordinator
If Sean McVay is able to draw up plays to protect Stafford behind an inexperienced offensive line without any chemistry, Ben Johnson could do the same behind a much better offensive line. On Seattle’s side, chemistry could be just as important: Dre’Mont Jones, Jarran Reed, Mario Edwards, Jordyn Brooks, Bobby Wagner, Boye Mafe, Uchenna Nwosu, Mike Morris, Derick Hall, Cameron Young, Darrell Taylor…
Almost none of them have played together before!
Like there’s some chemistry and history, but this is a new combination of front-seven players with a lot of new parts. It could take weeks, if not months, to really figure it out. The scary part is that for some of these players, we don’t know if they’ll ever figure it out or if they’re past their prime. Reed, Edwards, and even Wagner were relatively easy to acquire on the free agent market. Morris and Young were day three picks.
This could be the beginning of a good defense, but nobody can answer yet if they ever will be.
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How many first half leads has the Pete Caroll Seahawks blown? I feel like every Pete game has always been slow starts leading to amazing comebacks. Maybe we're all shocked after week 1 because it was such an unusual loss.
Well, this is from the 2020 offseason:
That number was 65-1 if including 4-point leads.
Then there’s this one: Pete Carroll had been 6-0 in the playoffs (5-0 with Seattle) when leading at halftime until last season’s wild card loss to the 49ers.
That’s back-to-back games with blown halftime leads. The previous time that the Seahawks blew a halftime lead, they were up 19-17 on the Saints in Week 5. Other than that, Seattle had more halftime comebacks than blown leads in 2022.
The Seahawks led 13-7 at halftime in Week 1, so that is an unusual loss for Pete. You may be onto something!
Will Jake Bobo get any targets this week. Also, should we go back to the 4-3 defense since the 3-4 doesn't seem to be working too well.
I think “4-3 vs. 3-4” is overblown. I could be wrong and am open to comments that want to dive deeper into how dramatic the change has really been in the last two years. Seattle always did the “4-3 with 3-4 under personnel” thing according to Carroll, so now they’re what, 3-4 with 3-4 underwhelming personnel? Personally, I’m not worried so much about whether the fourth guy on the defensive line is an end or a linebacker.
Successful 3-4 teams seem to have really great players. Successful 4-3 teams seem to have really great players. What the Seahawks need are more great players. To add to that: What if all the players who the Seahawks just signed and drafted specifically fit what Seattle wants to do right now? They’d have to start right back over again.
It’s a shame that Jake Bobo didn’t get a target on the play that was designed to throw a touchdown to Jake Bobo last week. Here he is, free as a bird in the middle of the GIF:
Number four receivers get maybe 15-30 targets in a season. It’s hard to figure out where Bobo fits in while Seattle’s top-three receivers are healthy. I hope that Jaxon Smith-Njigba gets more targets and expect him to. If Bobo has a few plays, I wouldn’t be upset. He played in 12 snaps last week.
If our tackles are injured/less effective, what type of offensive plays can help mask that weakness?
Wrote about this in Thursday’s bonus article. A few ideas in short:
Figure out how to throw a screen pass
Run the ball effectively up the middle with Ken Walker on draw plays/slow mesh
Use Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson and maybe 12 personnel to help in chipping and double-teaming the edge rushers
Involve Jaxon Smith-Njigba more often on the hot reads
I’m lowering my expectations for this team this year. Long term, I’m optimistic. I was shocked how disorganized and unprepared the team looked in week 1. I put a lot of that on our coaches and coordinators for not getting guys ready to go and poor scheme. Rams seemed to know exactly what we were going to do. We lacked aggression and guys seemed lost on their assignments. The injuries are a big concerns due to lack of depth on OL.
I think Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, with an assist from Sean McVay, is well-versed in how to stop Shane Waldron. We haven’t seen near the same effectiveness from Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn: He’s allowed 99 points to the Seahawks in two games.
The hope here is that even if Seattle’s defense struggles again, the offense looks much better off this week.
Did our emphasis on stopping the run negatively impact our pass rush? Did we bring extra rushers on any of those 3rd down attempts/conversions? It seemed like we mostly only rushed four, and no one could get off their blocks. Are the Rams' O-lineman better than we expected, or are we (by "we" I mostly mean Dre Jones) much much worse? What's BT Jordan even teaching these guys?
If you can't tell, the lack of QB pressure in week one is my greatest concern, and I want someone to convince me that it's all going to be ok.
It’s all going to be okay.
The Seahawks played bad in their three games against the 49ers last season: 6 turnovers, 0 takeaways, 43 total first downs, allowed 64 first downs, couldn’t run the ball or stop the run. If Seattle was the same team all season that they were against San Francisco, the Seahawks would have been picking higher with their own first round pick than the #5 they got from the Broncos.
But outside of those games, the Seahawks were pretty good! 9-6 and they forced at least two turnovers in almost every other game.
What I’m saying is that in a vacuum, everybody looks different than they will in the big picture. The Seahawks scored 48 points against the Lions last season but they could hardly get to 20 in the second half of the season. Sometimes we get too optimistic, it works both ways.
I doubt Seattle’s pass rush will usually look as bad as they did in Week 1 and the Rams always do this to the Seahawks. It’s not just that we need a large sample size, it’s also that we should judge each game on a case-by-case basiss.
It seems like the last few years the defense has been bad to begin the season but starts to get better mid-season. I'd be interested to see if this is actually quantifiable, and if any pre-Seahawks Pete Carrol teams had similar issues.
I would say the Seahawks were a bad defense in the second half of last season. They were bad in both halves of last season and you could argue that they were more consistently bad in December and January, and that they were actually their best in October. Of Seattle’s last nine games, the only two times that they had a positive (i.e. ‘good’) EPA were Week 17 and Week 18.
Those games were against Mike White’s Jets and Baker Mayfield’s Rams.
I know that generally there’s a theory that teams get better on defense as the season goes on, maybe because they now have more intel on the opponent. However, I think that mostly applies to a fake general team in a fake general situation. There are too many variables to say that any team is “better” or “worse” based on what month it is:
What if their hardest games are in December and January?
What if their late season opponents lose a lot of players to injury?
What if they get all their inclimate weather games late in the season?
What if several teams late in the year have given up or are benching starters for the postseason?
Last season is a perfect example because the Seahawks did have some games where they didn’t give up a lot of points, but again the only quarterbacks they beat after November 6th were John Wolford, Mike White, and Baker Mayfield. An admirable performance against Patrick Mahomes could be offset by a terrible performance against Sam Darnold.
I would take it a step further and say that while the Seahawks improved in some areas on defense in the second half of 2021, Seattle still had a bad defense in December and January two years ago.
Flat out, the Seahawks have just had a bad defense for the last five or six years. Just because the box scores or stat sheets or points allowed might say there’s “improvement” in this area or that area or at a certain time of year, the better test would be to ask if if the Seahawks have played like a Legion of Boom, playoff caliber defense that they had in the mid-2010s recently and the answer to that is easy:
I know I’ve said already that the defense needs time to gel, but that’s just another variable. Teams can also get better on defense and still allow more yards and more points and get beat because their opponents get harder. So much of success in the NFL is predicated on strength of schedule, matchups, and injuries.
How fickle of a fan base are we? Pete and John have been heralded all off season and we lose our first game and people want them both fired.
If I’ve learned anything from reading tens of thousands of comments on the Internet, it’s that you can’t judge “people” based on a person.
I don’t think that fans want Pete Carroll and John Schneider fired. A comment, a tweet, a radio caller could have said this, but that doesn’t make it the general consensus. And in fact it’s usually the outlier opinions that stand out.
I believe that a survey would show strong support for the regime at this time and that it would take several months of bad losses to turn the tide. And I’ll say this: The Seahawks beat Justin Herbert’s Chargers last October 23rd. That was probably the last marquee win against a good quarterback. It wouldn’t hurt to see Seattle add a few more like that this season.