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2009 Season Retrospective: Nick Reed

Nick Reed

Super Saiyan Nick Reed


Rams at Seahawks

The defense never stopped. The shutout says it all. Bradley lets the kids taste blood. Nick Reed responded by hitting Steven Jackson in the backfield. That exemplified the incredible depth Seattle showed.

Jaguars at Seahawks

All around Nick Reed were offensive linemen, smacking his shoulder pads, making him look small. Reed is small. Where you expect a second gear, you see his first gear petering out. But he's the Bruce Lee of defensive end. He picks the right pass-rush move and performs it excellently. On this play, he was in the right place at the right time. Some players seem to have a knack for that, whether that knack is real or imagined. Some players seem to turn the good into the great.

The good was Brandon Mebane. After going Zapruder Film on the replay, I am pretty sure Mebane stripped Garrard a split second before Lawrence Jackson. Jackson and Reed were single blocked on the outside and Cory Redding dropped into cover. Mebane navigated a triple team before twisting close enough to Garrard to drop a meat hook on the ball. Before he could slap it away, his indomitable bull rush freed Reed by briefly forcing a quadruple team. Reed disengaged from Tra Thomas and ran across the line. He shed the idle right guard, Uche Nwaneri, before breaking to scoop the ball and run 79 yards for the touchdown.

On second thought, maybe Reed had the good and Mebane the great.

Seahawks at Cowboys

In the same play, but of less interest, Nick Reed dropped into cover and was literally stride-for-stride with Patrick Crayton. That a player - and damn Crayton is slow.


Seahawks at Colts

At the end of the quarter, Nick Reed substituted for Patrick Kerney. I didn't initially notice it was Reed, but caught on in time to scribble this note "Reed looks slow as shit." He was attempting backside pursuit. Kerney is faster than his young disciple. That doesn't bode well for Reed, but it's also not a backhanded compliment of Kerney. Kerney still has some quicks. His point about regaining his burst off the edge to regain his pass rush prowess is instructive. Kerney can still jump around an offensive tackle, it's everything else that is starting to worry me.

Seahawks at Cowboys

(Following a David Hawthorne sack for a loss of four)

Romo scrambled for ten to put Dallas back into a manageable third down. Nick Reed was pwned.

Outlook: In man form, Nick Reed is an exceptionally skilled pass rusher that lacks pro talent. He was not invited to the NFL Combine but posted respectable numbers at Oregon's pro day*.  Pro days are designed to produce inflated numbers, so it's probably best to just toss the figures or ignore them or ignore everything but the ones that are fairly standardized, like arm length and vertical. The point is, Reed is not built like a football player. He is small, small of frame, light, modestly tall, slow and not the least bit explosive.

To make the Leo configuration work with the talent on hand, Seattle will likely run a heavy rotation of fresh pass rushers. They might pick starters and snap percentage based on health, freshness and matchups. It's not a bad idea if you can make it work. Elite defensive ends are among the most coveted players in football and filling the position through various specialists is somewhat akin to a running back by committee. Carroll could ride the hot hand so to speak.

Chris Clemons is the generalist. He isn't lost in run support, though my goodness will he be a downgrade from Darryl Tapp, and he is the most toolsy, i.e. size-agility-speed, of the bunch. That makes him the starter. Reed can throw down on the clumsy maulers that will struggle with his quickness off the line and exceptional pass rush repertoire. Ricky Foley is still a bit of a mystery to me, and Dexter Davis is Seattle's best hope of replacing Clemons. Davis could be another good edge rusher that isn't a liability in other pursuits.

For Reed, like last season, like every season, every snap is do or die. Guy is a berserker. He fires off the snap and throws his body against blockers like a galley against Scylla, but from Charybdis he surfaces intact and still attacking. Nothing about his play seems probable. When a lineman can square and strike Reed, he reels. When the scrum overtakes Reed, he vanishes. Yet, when the chaos clears and the play takes shape, there's Nick Reed struggling with every mitochondrion, tapping every last nucleotide of ATP, fighting for his life for the ball for the Seahawks.

*Campus: 4.71 in the 40-yard dash ... 1.59 10-yard dash ... 2.72 20-yard dash ... 4.28 20-yard shuttle ... 12.02 60-yard shuttle ... 6.96 three-cone drill ... 31.5-inch vertical jump ... 9'0" broad jump ... Bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times ... 32-inch arm length ... 9 1/8-inch hands.