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Seahawks On Tape: A closer look at Jarran Reed’s impressive NFL debut

How did the rookie fare?

Minnesota Vikings v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

With Germaine Ifedi sitting out due to injury, Jarran Reed was the highest Seahawks draft pick to take the field in the 2016 opener. In his debut, Reed got in on 33 snaps throughout the game, good for 62% of the time. That mark was more playing time than any Seattle defensive lineman not named Cliff Avril or Michael Bennett.

While many thought he was drafted solely to be a short yardage run-stopper, it was made clear in game one that the coaches see him as an every down defensive tackle. Though he was often subbed out in 3rd and long situations, he was still given plenty of opportunities to make his mark in the passing game— even going as far as dropping into a middle zone coverage on one play.

All in all, it was a solid, if unspectacular rookie debut. He got in on two tackles and swatted down two passes at the line of scrimmage.

As a disclaimer: I graduated from the University of Alabama at the same time Jarran Reed did, and he’s one of my top 10 favorite Crimson Tide players I’ve ever had the opportunity to watch due to his fiery passion and leadership.

So yeah, I’m biased. In order to combat that, this post will solely be a film study. I’ll try not to give too many personal opinions.

Reed lines up as a 1-technique tackle while Ahtyba Rubin is a 3-technique. It is a pure four-man rush towards the QB in the shotgun. Reed takes on a double team from the guard and center and pushes them both back a few yards. Michael Bennett tries to take advantage of the double team that Reed has drawn and makes a move inside to the space where the left guard would have been. The guard swaps targets, but Bennett already has the leverage.

Ryan Tannehill released the ball in time, but Bennett was closing in for the pressure.

Reed again lines up as a 1-technique, but this time is closer to a nose tackle, lined up right on the center’s shoulder. He swims past the center, who is releasing to the second level, and is picked up by the guard. Kam Chancellor was waiting in the designed hole, so the running back had no where to go. Reed sheds the guard and helps Michael Bennett and Chancellor take down the runner.

This is the 4th and short play in the first quarter. Reed is lined up as a 0-technique, trying to cover both A gaps. He takes on the double team, leaving Bennett one-on-one, who keeps the running back from avoiding the careening Kam Chancellor by going around the left end. Rubin gets knocked down and takes out the center’s legs, and the whole lot of them go to the ground.

Thankfully, the running back is already down, and the Seahawks get the turnover on downs.

This time Reed is a 2-technique on the right side, watching the A and B gaps. He follows the offensive line to the left as the Dolphins execute a read option. The unblocked Cliff Avril bites hard on the fake, and is taken out of the play. Reed tries to turn and follow the scampering Tannehill, but can’t shed the block in time to push the quarterback any further out.

He is again a 2-technique watching the A and B gaps. In a passing play, its a typical “mush rush.” He pushes the guard back, but never makes a move to go past him, so as not to lose his contain on either gap. He displays his vision and anticipation by jumping and swatting the pass despite Tannehill’s quick release. This is the type of rush that Reed excelled at in college.

This time Reed is line up as a 3-technique, but moves inside to attack the A-gap in an all out rush. He pushes the center backwards almost five yards, collapsing the pocket from the inside as Bennett screams in from his wide 9 spot. Tannehill throws the ball, but had he waited a tick longer either Bennett or Reed would have gotten a sack.

A two technique, Reed is watching the A and B gaps on the right side. When the center releases into the second level to take on K.J. Wright while Ahtyba Rubin gets blown backwards, a gaping hole is opened between the two guards, when Arian Foster tries to slip through it, Reed has already moved his blocker far enough to the left that he sheds the block and helps wrestle Foster to the ground before he could do any damage.

Back to playing a 1-technique, Reed is double teamed by the guard and center, and is pushed backwards almost 5 yards. In the run game, he is expected to at least stalemate a double team. This was easily his worst play to this point in the game— in an area that is supposed to be his greatest strength.

On the very next play, the exact same thing happens. It isn’t even a double team this time, and the run is coming straight at him. He’s pushed back, and the running back gets 3 yards before Chancellor makes the tackle. If the play before was his worst, this one took its spot. It’s late in the third quarter, so his conditioning and fatigue may be playing a factor here.

This time, Reed is playing a tilted nose 1-technique. He is initially pushed out of the play by the center, but he manages to keep his leverage to the inside, and forces his way into the path of the running back, who tries to cut back to the left. Reed shed his block fast enough, however, and takes the back to the ground.

Lined up as a 5-technique, Reed is finally given free reign to rush the passer at will, rather than watching gaps. He feints at the right tackle in an attempt to draw him away from the rushing defensive end and is picked up by the right guard. He pushes the guard almost into the QB, and then throws a hand up to swat another pass to the ground.

On the final long drive by the Dolphins, Reed plays even in the obvious passing situation. He lines up as a 1-technique, but drops into coverage in a middle zone. He follows the slot receiver across the middle for a few steps and then passes him off to the zone on the right. Unfortunately, Miami has sent two players deep on that side already and no one is over there to pick him up.

It’s hard to know if Reed was at fault, one of the outer defenders, or if it was just a perfect play call by Miami.

In his final play of the game, Reed is line up as a 3-technique. The guard pulls to the left and the center moves over to block him. Reed is stonewalled and turned outwards, and the quarterback is able to slip by him and score a touchdown.

So what do you think? After one game, how do you feel about the 2nd round rookie?