The Seahawks: trend setters?

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Quick hitter on the Seahawks' defense in the NFL copycat league.

Looking through some stories on ESPN last night I came across a post by Mike Reiss from about a week ago that mentioned the Seahawks. Reiss, while at the Combine, noted that one subject that kept coming up among coaches and scouts was Seattle's defensive scheme. The Hawks led the NFL in scoring defense, so this is hardly surprising.

Some of the best X's and O's chatter I heard over the past three days revolved around the Seahawks' defense, mainly because it's unique when compared to what most other clubs play. In a "copycat" league, it makes sense that other teams are studying it closely and considering implementing parts of it in their own schemes. With former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley now in his first year as Jaguars coach, expect parts of it to spread there. A few things about the Seahawks' style of defense: They play mostly with a single-high safety (rangy, athletic Earl Thomas), which allows them to bring a second safety into the box (Kam Chancellor); they have the two big press corners (Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman); the key player up front is the "Leo" pass-rushing end (Chris Clemons, Bruce Irvin), who might be considered a linebacker in other schemes.

With those crucial pieces in place, Bradley explained that it allows the defensive front to mix between 4-3 and 3-4 principles at any time, which helps simplify things against opponents' run games. Head coach Pete Carroll and personnel chief John Schneider deserve the bulk of the credit for putting together such a unique unit/scheme, which one opposing coach said was keyed by the length of the corners. With Russell Wilson at quarterback and this type of defensive approach, Seattle currently is viewed as one of the most exciting teams in the NFL.

With teams studying and emulating the Seahawks defense, it will be interesting to see which teams target the taller, longer cornerbacks in this year's draft. I'm currently working on a longer piece on this very subject - the importance of press cornerbacks in the modern NFL - which I will follow up with tomorrow, but I just found it fascinating and kind of cool that among their peers, the Seahawks' are widely considered one of the most exciting teams in terms of scheme and identity. A lot of things can change in three seasons, I guess.

Anyway, nothing major here, just thought that was an interesting post.

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