DeShawn Shead got a pick six! Yes, the Seattle Seahawks may have lost Week 2 of the preseason to the Minnesota Vikings (like this matters) with depth looking grim (this does matter), but Shead had an electric 88-yard interception return.
The 30-year-old Shead has made an impressive return to Seattle too. Signed July 27th off the street, his first game back was highlighted by a safety—sacking Drew Lock of the Denver Broncos in the endzone.
Shead’s pick six was more impressive. Against the Vikings’ shotgun trips bunch formation, Seattle decided to be as risky as the bland scheme of the preseason often is; they played man coverage with what appeared to be no bunch adjustment such as “stab n deuce” etc.
The Seahawks lined up with Shead disguised as a two-high safety. Quarterback Sean Mannion clearly thought the middle of the field would be open, with Seattle sending pressure from that direction. The five man blitz was picked up well enough from the Minnesota offensive line.
But Shead was not a two-high safety. Instead, he disguised his robbing assignment well. With Tedric Thompson rotating to the deep middle 1⁄3 shell, Shead was tasked with robbing the middle of the field—primarily keying on intermediate routes as a “rat.”
The timing of the throw from Mannion with his intended receiver, Chad Beebe, did appear to be off. To Mannion, Beebe looked open as Shaquill Griffin—in man coverage—was forced to run around a lot of traffic to try and close on the intermediate crossing route. Beebe nestled down, presumably as an adjustment to the blitz or wrongly thinking the coverage was zone, whereas Mannion led him further downfield. He was slightly hurried by the efforts of Cassius Marsh, rushing from the inside shoulder of the tackle (4i technique).
And there was Shead to capitalize, robbing the pass and returning it for a touchdown that gave Seattle the lead early in the second quarter. It was an exhilarating play from a seasoned NFL veteran who it’s nice to see back in Seahawks blue:
Shead, signed late in Free Agency, could be a bargain pick up. His time in Detroit saw him learn a different form of matching coverage that will add to his coverage repertoire. Pete Carroll and the other defensive coaches clearly love the versatility and football knowledge Shead brings. It was interesting to see Shead used in the Dime (6 DB) package as a first stringer, plus he could offer potential as a Bandit (7 DB) matcher. Minnesota Tight End Irv Smith Jr. did win against him in man coverage though.
DeShawn Shead has a sack for a safety and a pick-6 this preseason. Perhaps just as significant as the big plays: he was in the dime package with the No. 1 defense & was the first safety to sub in when McDougald came out.— John Boyle (@johnpboyle) August 19, 2019
With the back injury to rookie Marquise Blair, carted off mid-game, Shead’s status on the team is becoming even more important.