Pete Carroll is a defensive minded coach. He’s known for his particular prowess in developing defensive backs, and gained a reputation as architect of one of the best defenses in NFL history. Seattle has also been defensive-minded in the draft recently, with 10 of their top 15 selections in the past three years being defensive players.
But here’s the deal. Last year, by DVOA Seattle was a better offensive team than defensive team (9th in the league compared to 14th). This year, the disparity could be even bigger.
With the first of week of real practice out of the way, the Seahawks have shown early signs that it might be more reliance on offense that keeps them in a playoff hunt this season.
Frank Clark is gone, Jarran Reed will miss 37.5% of the season, and the incident with L.J. Collier is disheartening. Marquise Blair is missing valuable preseason time, knocking out significant preparation opportunities for this year’s top two defensive picks.
Meanwhile, Russell Wilson is as sharp is ever and the receivers are competing fiercely. Brian Schottenheimer can only be more familiar with his roster, DK Metcalf looks like a potential steal, Will Dissly likely plays more than four games this season, and first round pick Rashaad Penny is getting a full preseason of solid, praiseworthy work.
Obviously, this is not a detailed statistical analysis. But it’s hard not to see the likelihood for Seattle’s offense to improve and its defense to maintain or regress.
The NFL is a funny thing. When Seattle won its Lombardi trophy in 2013, they had the best defensive squad, not just that year but potentially of the decade. Yet they beat the Denver Broncos 43-8. Last year, neither the Los Angeles Rams nor New England Patriots had a better defensive team than the 2019 Seahawks by DVOA (19th and 16th, respectively). Yet that 13-3 snooze fest gave no indications whatsoever to their defensive mediocrity or season-long offensive prowess.
I’ll admit to falling victim to some of the national narrative on the Hawks. When the talk is about Seattle running the ball, protecting turnover ratio and relying on Wilson’s efficiency, I’ve tended to interpret that as low scoring. I got used to Seattle being We’ve already covered that ESPN has no faith in offensive Seahawks not named Russell Wilson, and I responded by pointing out that being 7th in the league in ppg has to come from somewhere.
What if that 7th ppg mark goes up? In one sense it might have to, especially if their 21.8 points allowed per game increases at all.
So much on the roster this year is unproven, on both sides of the ball.
Completely agree.— John P. Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) July 31, 2019
And right behind CB is many fans' belief in the WR corps, simply because the team invested multiple draft picks at the position.
Both groups could be good, but both are filled to the brim with youth and very little actual proven experience. pic.twitter.com/93dMruMKKn
Being a run-first team with question marks at both guard position and WRs 2-4 largely untested (or underused) will pose a significant challenge for Seattle to climb the offensive rankings this year.
But there are two obvious takeaways from early into training camp. First, the defense, apart from Tedric Thompson, has yet to show any significant individual improvements over last year, all while dealing with two injuries and a suspension.
Play of the day from Seahawks camp: Tedric Thompson ripping the ball away from John Ursua as both players were going to the ground for an interception. Reminiscent of a play Bobby Wagner made at San Francisco two seasons ago.— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) July 30, 2019
Second, that identity crisis meeting from week three last year seems unnecessary this go around. While we have absolutely no idea how good they will be, Seattle’s coaching staff is already determined to spread the ball around and see how good the receivers can be. Particularly Jaron Brown.
This will in no way resemble 2017 when Russell had more rush yards than the other RBs. But we may be in the middle of a season where the Seahawks’ offense has to carry the defense for a while. With their new $35 million-dollar man, they better be at least up to the challenge.