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This has to be the end for Ken Norton Jr

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
Norton finds an open receiver for 60 yards in pre-game warmups.
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The 2012 Baltimore Ravens fired embattled offensive coordinator Cam Cameron after they lost to Washington in overtime. They dropped to 9-4 on the season and were still in the driver’s seat to win the AFC North. Jim Caldwell replaced Cameron and they obviously won the Super Bowl, in large part due to Joe Flacco turning in one hell of a series of playoff performances.

I led with that paragraph because it shows that just because you’re winning most of your games and you’re leading your division does not mean you cannot shake up your coaching staff when things aren’t working.

That has to be the case for the Seattle Seahawks at this point.

I tried to avoid another “Fire Ken Norton Jr” piece after the playoff exit last year, but it is quite evident after Sunday’s 44-34 loss to the Buffalo Bills that the Seahawks season is going to end exactly like last season if changes aren’t made. Whether or not it’s “really Pete’s defense” or whatever line you want to push, Norton has demonstrably never put together anything close to a competent defense either with the Raiders or Seahawks.

44 points was the most that the Seahawks have ever allowed under Pete Carroll, and it was to a team that didn’t even get a touchdown against the winless New York Jets. It honestly should’ve been more but the Bills got robbed of a TD and never challenged it.

Have you ever seen a more meaningless seven-sack performance from an NFL defense? The pass rush and heavy blitzing got to Josh Allen plenty of times in what was the best game of his entire career. He threw for over 400 yards, three passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, and zero turnovers. Everyone was wide open even on 2nd and 27 and 3rd and 16. Buffalo didn’t try to run because they didn’t have to run. Seattle has a really good run defense but that has diminishing value in this pass-heavy era of football. This pass defense is serving up giant portions of suck on a near weekly basis and the excuses are running out.

Every team is dealing with injuries to some extent. It sucks that Shaquill Griffin is hurt and Marquise Blair and Bruce Irvin are out for the season. But they still got players back and even had a new addition in Carlos Dunlap. They look poorly coached and consistently outschemed for going on three seasons. They entered today ranked 30th in pass defense DVOA and the only reason why they might not drop to 32nd is the Jacksonville Jaguars are also pathetic. I said earlier this season that a defense this bad cannot just rely on turnovers as their primary form of generating stops, and you just saw what a horrible defense looks like when the turnover well runs dry. Over the last 25 games (playoffs included) the Seahawks have finished with negative EPA on defense 22 times. Two of those positive EPA games were against whatever rag-tag group of players the Philadelphia Eagles could muster up in both matchups.

The optimism about how well this defense could perform has waned. If they look like world beaters against the New York Giants and New York Jets then it’s meaningless. Those teams aren’t in the playoffs and you have to play competent offenses (except the NFC East winner) for the rest of the postseason. The secondary is a mess. They play miles off receivers and are consistently not able to make plays on the ball. Getting after the quarterback with heavy blitzing is almost mandatory, because rushing with four is unlikely to generate consistent pressure and the secondary is unable to cover their assignments. The game is too easy. And every quarterback in the NFL knows it.

No team has faced more pass attempts than the Seahawks. They’ve let Russ cook and graciously decided to let everyone else who faces them to do the same. It’s noticeably worse when the play mobile quarterbacks compared to Jimmy Garoppolo or Matt Ryan or even Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Fire your buddy, Pete. It’s time. And don’t ever say something like this out loud again.