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Seahawks Preseason Retrospective: Pass Defense vs Chiefs


The Seahawks' pass defense has shown us some nice things this preseason and the pressure they've managed to get on opposing quarterbacks has improved over the four weeks. Against Kansas City, the Seahawks managed three sacks and four quarterback hits; they defensed five passes and Earl Thomas had his excellent pick six on a nice dime blitz that I broke down earlier. Nate Dogg has been hard at work creating a series of preseason retrospective videos, with his first issue focusing in on the pass defense week three at the Kansas City Chiefs. Some plays I thought stood out:

00:15: Sick club/swim move by Greg Scruggs at the 3-tech position to badly beat the offensive guard and get the sack. This play is something that you really hope to see from interior pass rushers - technically sound, fundamental move. Explosive off the snap, and gave the offensive lineman no chance.

00:32: Nice man coverage here by Brandon Browner but he makes the mistake that he made so often last season - gets handsy before the ball arrives and draws several flags. Browner needs to resist the urge to grab so quickly and instead go for the football. On this particular play, watch Browners' head -- and this is something that he does fairly often -- instead of turning to find the football, he just keys in on the receiver. This is where Richard Sherman outshines Browner (though Browner has him beat in physicality).

00:50: This is the nice hit/pass breakup by Earl Thomas on Steve Breaston. On the replay segment of this play, watch how early Earl breaks toward the seam-running Breaston. This is absolutely key to the play, and Earl seems to have read Matt Cassell's eyes on this one to get a jump on the play. Delivers a text-book hit to Breaston's shoulder to knock the ball loose. \

01:23: This is the very nice pass breakup by Richard Sherman - watch, very closely, Sherman's head whip around to find the football right before it's delivered to Dwayne Bowe's back shoulder - this is what makes Sherm so good. He extends his arm up and strips the ball from Bowe's hands. This is the type of thing that basketball players are taught, to strip/poke the ball from a rebounder's hands as he brings it down in the air. Nice play by Sherm.

01:50: This is a nice linebacker delayed blitz by Mike Morgan, who knifes through the B-Gap to flush Cassel from the pocket. Chris Clemons misses on the tackle, but slows Cassel down enough for Morgan to finish up.

02:24: Bruce Irvin gets nice pressure and uses his hands well to walk the right tackle into the pocket (this is one of Irvin's only 'moves' right now- something that he'll need to improve on and then add more moves to). Irvin almost gets home, but flushes Cassel from the pocket on 3rd and 1. The Seahawks defensive secondary are in a zone (like Thomas Beekers has noted before me - I'm not a huge fan of the Seahawks' zone coverages so far) and Phillip Adams loses sight of Dwanye Bowe and Bowe sneaks past him to catch a first down pass. Other completions in zone coverage at 3:43 and 3:48, with the latter having Bruce Irvin dropping into the flats but missing Dexter McCluster on a shallow drag.

03:26: Nice nickelback blitz here by Phillip Adams from the slot. Jumps up at the right time to deflect the pass - I'm assuming that Cassel was going to his hot route when he saw Adams coming. Note the amount of Seahawks on the line to start the play.

04:50: This is a touchdown that should have been called back. A blitzing Winston Guy gets held, badly, by KC's offensive tackle here on what would have been an easy sack. Refs didn't see it, Cassel evaded pressure, and threw a touchdown pass. Then he fell down really hilariously celebrating it.

05:02: Hell of a play by Richard Sherman in off coverage. Keeps an eye on Cassel after the snap, anticipates where he's going with the ball, then uses his speed/change of direction and great length to bat it down. I'm really looking forward to watching Sherman in the regular season.

05:16: Earl Thomas gets called for a pass interference on an early hit - but Bruce Irvin again does a nice job of walking the tackle into the pocket, first by batting away the tackle's arms and then planting two straight-arms to the chest. Watch for Irvin to build off of this method with swipes and swim moves once opponents start to try and take that away from him.

Once the Seahawks built a good lead into the second half, they began playing zone a lot more and so the second half of the video shows a decent amount of completions. I believe that the Seahawks were, at that point, looking to avoid the 'big play' and played it a little more conservatively. Give it a watch, and huge props to Nate for putting this together!