The Seattle Seahawks are kings of the NFC West, over the Los Angeles Rams. It was a most satisfying victory against an ever-difficult divisional opponent.
It was also an incredible game as it pointed towards the future of this team - specifically, the defense.
Jordyn Brooks, Jamal Adams, and D.J. Reed led the team in tackles on Sunday. All newcomers to the team, all with potential to be Seahawks for another five years.
Now obviously we don’t use total tackles as an indicator that a cornerback had a great game. It usually works in reverse. But Reed actually did play well, and Los Angeles has Goff do so many of those stupid four yard routes that everyone gets plenty of work.
Reed has been the most perfect happy accident of GM John Schneider’s past few years, without a doubt. Seattle traded a fifth-round pick to acquire Quinton Dunbar specifically because the team couldn’t trust Tre Flowers. A fifth doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is how they landed a Pro Bowl free safety. Dunbar got hurt and was apparently never healthy, so Flowers stepped in and excelled. We’d almost forgiven Flowers for his priors, and then he also got injured. Heading towards a playoff run against teams like the Rams, Green Bay Packers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this team was down to their fourth cornerback. Fifth if they had needed to rely on Ugo Amadi there instead.
But, Reed has surpassed any and all expectations, and I have full confidence in him as CB2 of this team against any of the potential matchups.
The outlook is simple: Dunbar’s contract is over after this year. I simply cannot see him returning. Flowers has one more year on his rookie deal, ending next season. But the most likely scenario is that this starting spot is now Reed’s to lose. If he starts next year, it will be for $920,000. Another good year here and he already feels like a more likely candidate for contract than Flowers.
Jordyn Brooks is a good first-round pick.
Jordyn Brooks really had 8 tackles on just 28 snaps— Joe Fann (@Joe_Fann) December 28, 2020
What an uncomfortable doozy of a job to walk into. For anyone who felt pressure at being the Seahawks’ next cornerback, free or strong Safety because of the former Legion of Boom members, imagine trying to be the next linebacker while the Hall of Fame guy(s) is/are still here. Not an enviable position.
The statistical likelihood is that Brooks will not be the all-time player of Bobby Wagner or K.J. Wright, but he’s faster today and that’s all I care about right now. He is exactly what this team needs to complement their two all-stars, and he’s proven he might be what they can build around whenever those guys hang it up. You just simply don’t see or hear about Brooks making multiple rookie mistakes. Instead, he’s combining with guys like Wright to make massive plays under pressure.
.@JordynBrooks_ with a huge stop! #SSGFam | #Seahawks pic.twitter.com/WUIV5rdc2L— Select Sports Group (@SelectSports) December 28, 2020
Just like with Reed, if Brooks is starting LB next year or beyond, I have nothing but confidence.
The Strongest of Safeties
What. Is. This.
Jamal Adams saved a touchdown with his speed @Prez @Seahawks— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) December 27, 2020
#LARvsSEA on FOX pic.twitter.com/a5ZdTlsYgg
Sean McVay seemed to have personally designed this McLane for Adams to run through and go wreck his running back.
This play is a near-perfect illustration of who Adams the player is. He’s lined up here in likely blitz formation, as he plays on the line of scrimmage more frequently than any safety in the league.
It is things like that people have used against Adams, as “every time he rushes means there’s one less person in coverage” has become a sentence I never need to hear again. Yes. He’s weird. And is incapable of catching the ball when it hits him in the hand it seems.
But Adams is capable of making up for his unorthodox positioning and playstyle in a way that other players are not. Los Angeles, in run-right, simply lets Adams go free. But he immediately recognizes the handoff and propels himself like one of those magnetic train launches behind the offensive line to ultimately save a touchdown.
Adams will not play normal strong safety and make normal coverage plays. And normal people will continue to be mad about it. Pete Carroll, however, prefers giving up 99 yards and making goal line stops to pity things like being a good third-down team. That sentence was a joke, but here’s a real one: Carroll needs a disrupter. I don’t think he knows how to run a defense without one. Michael Bennett, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, people who like to go break stuff.
Adams breaks stuff.
He comes at $9.8 million next year, then would be set to hit free agency. With how this defense has grown around him, I’m comfortable saying the trade would be a loss if they don’t extend Adams. I believe that is what they want to do, I believe that’s what he wants to do, and I believe that’s what they need to do. If they time it right they’ll eventually be trading out high-priced Bobby Wagner for high-priced Jamal Adams.
Like Russell Wilson always says it’s one game at a time, but some encouraging signs are coming from the defense each week and 2021 in particular looks to have the vast majority of these guys still playing on defense.