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Seahawks making use of its quality linebacking corps

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Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Heading into the 2019 NFL season the Seattle Seahawks were known to have one of the best, if not the very best, group of linebackers in the NFL. With future Hall of Famer Bobby Wagner locking things down in the middle, and K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks roaming the outside, it’s a group that can go head to head with nearly any group in the NFL. Add in the youth on the bench in Cody Barton, Ben Burr-Kirven and Shaquem Griffin, and it’s a group that is built for success not just this season, but in the future as well.

As a result of the amount of talent at the position, the Seahawks have played base defense significantly more than other NFL teams. Exactly how much more time have they spent in base defense compared to other teams? This illustrates it pretty well.

Obviously, playing base defense would seem to be a way for the team to focus on its run defense, but as Mookie Alexander looked at on Thursday, the Hawks’ run defense has been bad this season. Very bad, in fact.

At the same time, the pass defense has been basically league average, but much of that may have been the fact that the defense was buoyed by the arrival Quandre Diggs from Detroit, who is now nursing a high ankle sprain that could keep him out of the lineup in the coming weeks.

Obviously, a big piece of the equation was the simple fact that the nickel defense with Jamar Taylor playing slot cornerback was not very good. Taylor was not all bad for the Hawks during his time with the team, but just as many fans of the Arizona Cardinals stated would be the case when the Seahawks signed Taylor, his play was underwhelming. That led to his release following Seattle’s 27-24 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10, and to Akeem King and Ugo Amadi manning the nickel CB role in the five games since then.

How much base and how much nickel defense the team will play against a 49ers team that is second in the NFL in scoring with the NFC West title on the line on Sunday Night Football remains to be seen. However, with the secondary potentially depleted by injuries to Diggs and Shaquill Griffin, and all three starting linebackers - Wagner, Wright and Kendricks - limited in practice on Thursday, it’s something that will certainly bear watching as the game develops on Sunday night.