Cast your minds back to Sunday. (Sorry)
The CLINK was booming Sheck Wes’ Mo Bamba pre-drive. The fans were getting hyped. This was an atmosphere ripe for a run-denying performance. And then the defense got gashed. The swagger vanished in very un-Pete Carroll fashion.
Now the defense wasn’t the main problem. After a shaky first half full of explosive plays, they gave up 0 second-half points despite a rotten offense making their task tougher. Adjustments were made and executed.
Still though, Carroll’s ethos is to stop the run first and the Seattle Seahawks failed to do this to epic proportions. Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon carried 16 times for 113 yards. That’s a 7.1 yard per carry average that includes two clock-chewing runs the defense could key on. Giving up a total of 160 rushing yards at 7.3 a run, Seattle was gashed on the ground. This was most unusual given a strength of this roster: defensive tackle depth.
A low-key issue with Carroll is his gameday inactive decisions. Most vivid is his Super Bowl 49 decision to leave slot cornerback Marcus Burley inactive despite a banged-up secondary. The result, apologies for reminding you, was an injured Tharold Simon duelling with Julian Edelman inside.
Against the Chargers, Carroll strangely chose to suit up only two defensive tackles. Nazair Jones’ weird absences continued. Poona Ford, perfect for this type of game, was also left out. Hindsight is a powerful king, but both inactive decisions were bemusing before the match-ups.
A logical step would have been for the Seahawks to run a lot of their bear/46/double eagle front, placing two 3-techs like Branden Jackson and Quinton Jefferson either side of a nose tackle. Yet we saw little of this…
The issues the defense had with 3-technique leverage are worrying. Most concerning was how this affected their play against tosses—given that the Los Angeles Rams run a lot of wide zone that will enjoy similar success against 3 tech positioning problems. The Seahawks also had trouble against jet motion—another favorite of the Rams. Everything the Rams want to do offensively is built off wide zone and jet. These issues must be addressed—here I highlight the bemusing play of the run defense.