I wanted to see Seattle's defense. I wanted to see what new Head Coach Jim Mora was shaping it into. I was never an ardent critic of John Marshall, but the team needed new blood. It wasn't going to reach its potential under Marshall. I wanted to see subtle variations on the defensive line. I wanted to see how and how often Seattle would blitz. I wanted to see who was this coaching staff's guys and who was this coaching staff's weapons. So I did.
Brian Russell talks to the coaches and the coaches talk to him. He stands so far back he looks like a coach and at least once when the defense huddled up, Russell stayed back and stayed in the coach's ear. The team respects the importance of leadership and Brian Russell is a leader.
Darryl Tapp was getting shout-outs and he deserved them. He looked like Seattle's single most disruptive edge rusher and possibly Seattle's single best pass rusher. Kerney wasn't limited, but he just didn't show like Tapp. Tapp ran through Kyle Williams on a one-on-one drill and forced a hold. Tapp and Kerney both dropped into zone. Kerney played something like Charles Haley's elephant linebacker position. Standing up as his linemates crouched in a three point, often dropping into cover and should he rush, timing his squat close to the snap. He played in coverage, but he looked limited. Kerney was clearly best covering the flat. He looked a little dizzy too far from the line of scrimmage. Tapp was more versatile. Shortly after Seattle called the aforementioned overload blitz to good effect, Tapp and Aaron Curry broke into adjacent curl zones. It looked confusing from the sidelines and it must have been confusing seen through a boil of stunting, sprinting pass rushers.
The Seahawks defensive line interchanged. It shifted ends and tackles suddenly and discordantly. The left defensive line is set. The right defensive line is a little high on its heels. The offense is settling or motioning. Suddenly the right end shifts in and right tackle out. It was a practiced maneuver done efficiently. And it is the execution that will determine this subtle shift's value. Because it could work, or it could be better left undone. Activity is not progress.
It's just one practice, but it's enough to offer a status report on the composition of Seattle's new defensive scheme. Ends will drop into coverage. The Seahawks will use Marshall style stunts and zone blitzes. Josh Wilson will be an active player and Seattle will not be shy to go nickel. Tweener ends like Tapp and Nick Reed (should he make the squad) might rush from the second level. The secondary will play underneath the receiver and play for the ball. Tweener tackles like Cory Redding and Lawrence Jackson will slide inside. And defenders will get their hands up and attempt to tip the ball. Leroy Hill and Lawrence Jackson each got a piece of one and the resulting wounded duck could've fallen anywhere and to anyone.