A healthy Seattle defense is talented. Stacked at linebacker, deep in the defensive line and decent in the secondary. However, even when completely healthy, it does not dominate. Seattle cannot win on it's defense alone right now. That has been obvious this year. It cannot be on the field as long as our offense forces it to be and continue to stop NFL offenses. However, this defense we have right now would carry us to the playoffs if our offense was even slightly competent. Our offense is at least two years from winning us a game, but our defense is on the verge of taking us back to relevance. Teams that hang their hat on defense are consistent winners. The Steelers, the Ravens and the Titans (last year) are all evidence for why a great defense is better than all but the best offenses.
One of the main problems with the SeaFence is the utilization of our talent. Seattle has the group of LB's in the NFL in Hill, Tatupu, Curry, Hawthorne and Lewis and Herring. All of them (excluding Lofa who is too big and slow right now) can consistently get to the quarterback, and all are good against the run. One of the Hawks biggest issues this year has been their inability to apply consistent pressure. Any NFL quarterback can have a good game with no pressure in his face. DB's can only cover so long. This has led to our already depleted secondary getting exposed by quarterbacks having all day to pick their targets. The NFL is a passing league, and stopping the pass will win you more games than stopping the run.
Alas, I feel there is a solution! A way that Seattle's defense can take the Seattle offense to the playoffs in 2010!
First, The Scheme Change and Utilization of Our Talent:
Seattle should switch to a 3-4 defense. Yea, I said it! A 3-4 is about the linebackers, and that is something Seattle would benefit from. Hill, Lofa, Lewis/Hawthorne and Curry on the field at the same time would mean our four best defensive play makers could wreak havoc in beautiful four part harmony. Curry is Big. Curry is Fast. Curry is Smart. As a blitz-first linebacker Curry is 15+ Sacks. Lofa is a killer on the run, as is Hill, and Hawthorne just seems to find the ball. The pass rush generated from our linebackers causes hurried throws, tipped balls and incompletions/interceptions. So who do we do it with, and more importantly, who do we do it without?
Players to Drop (like bad habits):
Patrick Kerney. Doesn't fit the 3-4 and can no longer produce in the 4-3. He should go no matter what. Colin Cole. I can no longer watch him get pushed 3 yards back every play and my television is cracked from my throwing of a remote at him. D Lineman, especially in the 3-4, have to be able to hold ground against a double team, and Cole simply cannot. Redding/Bryant can also go. Also, Jennings can go, along with Malloy. If Jennings stays, he can battle with Wilson for the nickle/dime back position, where I think both could play well.
Now, Players to Add:
A dominant DT. Richard Seymour would be perfect. He is dominating at the position and takes up blockers like no other, which is essential in the 3-4. And he is a free agent. Next, a play maker in our secondary. Preferably a safety who can punish the middle and make plays all over the field. I move that we use our first overall pick on Taylor Mays. Mays is the hardest player in college football, and can do everything. He hits, he picks, he covers, he stuffs the run and can pressure the quarterback. Pete Carroll rarely has him do anything besides play center field, but it does not matter with his closing and pursuit speed.
Ideal 2010 Starting Lineup:
RDT: Lawrence Jackson/Bryant. NT: Mebane: LDT: Seymour/Redding ROLB: Leroy Hill. RMLB: David Hawthorne/ DD Lewis. LMLB: Lofa Tatupu LOLB: Aaron Curry. RCB: Ken Lucas/Josh Wilson.. SS: Deion Grant. FS:Taylor Mays. LCB: Marcus Trufant. Reed, Tapp and others could be used situationally.
And that, my True Blue (and neon green) friends, is one of the best defenses in the NFL.