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A review of Jarran Reed’s sacks in 2018

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Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed burst onto the sack scene in 2019, posting 10.5 sacks during the season after recording just 3.0 sacks during his first two seasons combined. So, the question then becomes whether his performance is one that he can replicate going forward. In order to address this, let’s take a look at each of the eleven sacks in which he was involved during the 2018 season.

Week 3 versus the Dallas Cowboys, 1:52 Q2, 1st & 10 at the Dallas 25

On his first sack of the season, Reed simply powers into Cowboys rookie guard Connor Williams, and when Dak Prescott takes a step to his left, he is greeted by Reed. This sack is all power and all Reed.

Week 3 versus the Dallas Cowboys, 0:53 Q4, 3rd & 10 at the Seattle 44

On this play Reed and Jacob Martin run an end-tackle stunt. Martin slides to the inside, and Reed speeds around right tackle La’el Collins and into the backfield for the sack. This sack is the result of the effectiveness of the stunt combined with Collins not having the speed to cut off Reed and prevent him from taking the corner. It’s easy to see in the picture that Collins has his arm around Reed, and is in fact called for holding on this play, but the Hawks declined the penalty thanks to the sack. This is a combination of both scheme and Reed having the quickness to turn the corner on Collins.

Week 4 versus the Arizona Cardinals, 9:52, Q1, 3rd & 10 at the Arizona 18

For everyone who was excited about the addition of free agent offensive lineman Mike Iupati, this is Reed absolutely obliterating any chance of Iupati blocking him on a devastating inside swim move. This sack is all Reed, and remember this swim move, because we’ll see it again later in the season.

Week 6 versus the Oakland Raiders, 9:03 Q4, 3rd & 11 at the Seattle 23

Observers enjoyed making fun of the Raiders offensive line in 2018, and Reed got in on the action in helping Derek Carr take a career high in sacks during the season. On this play he beat third string left guard Justin Murray upfield, and as Carr looks to attempt to scramble, Reed tracks him down. Just a bit of trivia on Murray, after going undrafted in 2016 out of Cincinnati, he has spent time with the Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals and the Raiders, and the 50 snaps he played against the Seahawks are the only offensive snaps he has played during the entirety of his career.

Week 9 versus the Los Angeles Chargers, 1:38 Q4, 3rd & 7 at midfield

This is another end tackle stunt, and here we see Reed working his way around former Seahawk left tackle Russell Okung to the outside in order to get to Philip Rivers. Just some food for thought for those who believe that Tom Cable’s offensive linemen get better when they go play for another team, this is not the only sack that Reed recorded during 2018 against a former Cable lineman. This is largely a scheme sack due to the stunt, but Reed gets credit for beating Okung to the outside.

Week 11 versus the Green Bay Packers, 4:31 Q3, 3rd & 3 at the Seattle 43

Here we see Reed’s only half sack of the season. On this play the protection of the Packers line has broken down on both the left and right side for Aaron Rodgers, and Austin Calitro comes in from one side while Reed comes in from the other. This is largely a coverage sack, but Reed gets credit for his effort in continuing to work toward the quarterback.

Week 13 versus the San Francisco 49ers, 0:23 Q4, 4th & 12 at the Seattle 12

This is a beautiful tackle stunt, and we see Quinton Jefferson eating up both the left guard (Laken Tomlinson) and the center (Weston Richburg), giving Reed a clear path to the quarterback. This is largely a scheme sack, with Reed getting credit for finishing Nick Mullens in the open field.

Week 15 versus the San Francisco 49ers, 2:09 Q4, 1st & 10 at the San Francisco 37

Remember that inside swim move that Reed used to blow past Iupati in Week 4? Here he is using it to blow past former first round pick Laken Tomlinson in Week 15. Richburg, the 49ers center, sees what is happening but isn’t quick enough to get to Reed before Reed takes down Mullens for a loss of nine. This sack is all Reed.

Week 15 versus the San Francisco 49ers, 1:55 Q4, 3rd & 19 at the San Francisco 28

The tackle stunt worked so well in Week 13, the Hawks brought it back for Week 15. Here QJeff is seen having driven Tomlinson upfield while Richburg hasn’t been quick enough to pick up Reed working his way around to the hole that has been opened. That’s right guard Mike Person standing there blocking no one. This sack is mostly scheme, but Reed again is able to make it into the backfield because of his quickness and ability to turn the corner.

Week 17 versus the Arizona Cardinals, 0:11 Q2, 3rd & 5 at the Seattle 30

Hello, swim move. Here Reed destroys another Cardinal guard with his swim move, blowing right past former Seahawks Oday Aboushi on his way to rookie Josh Rosen. This sack is all Reed.

Week 17 versus the Arizona Cardinals, 2:27 Q4, 2nd & 9 at the Seattle 34

Here is Reed recording his second sack of the game against Aboushi. On this play there was good downfield coverage, and Rosen has stepped up to avoid the outside pressure from Jacob Martin. In stepping up, it allowed Reed to disengage from Aboushi and pursue Rosen from a highly advantageous angle. This is combination of a coverage sack, as well as credit due Martin for forcing Rosen up in the pock, while Reed gets credit for continuing pursuit and crushing the quarterback as soon as he had the angle.

Coming back to the food for though idea from above, three of Reed’s 10.5 sacks during the 2018 season came against former Cable linemen. Specifically, in his eight starts for the Seahawks in 2017 Aboushi allowed just 2 sacks, while he allowed four sacks in just six games during 2018.

In any case, the sacks Reed recorded during 2018 were roughly equally attributable to three parts:

  • Reed’s skill, whether through a power rush or his swim move,
  • Scheme, wherein Reed recorded a sack on a stunt, and
  • Coverage and effort, as the defensive backfield didn’t allow for a clear throwing target, and Reed’s motor and effort allowed him to record a sack.

Further, one key thing to note, and which will take some further digging, will be whether Reed’s sack total jumping in 2018 was largely a result of him being deployed differently during the season. During 2017 the Seahawks defensive line looked far different, with Reed likely playing much more in run support, and names like Michael Bennett, Dion Jordan and Sheldon Richardson seeing more snaps at defensive tackle in passing situations. I don’t have the data on how correct I am on this hypothesis right now, but I’ll put it on the list of things to look into during the offseason.