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John Schneider admits dissatisfaction with Seahawks’ secondary play in 2019

NFL Combine - Day 2

You normally have to read between the lines whenever John Schneider and Pete Carroll are asked for individual or group assessments regarding the Seattle Seahawks. In this instance, it was Schneider who had the telling critique.

Speaking at the NFL Combine earlier this week, Schneider was asked for his assessment of the Seahawks secondary, and he was diplomatically critical.

“I think just like every position, you’re constantly looking to tweak it and figure out how you get better,” Schneider said. “Whether it’s a strong safety, free safety—obviously we want to get better. If I told you we were satisfied with the performance, I’d be lying. We all need to get better.”

When you hear this from either Schneider or Carroll, it’s a pretty heavy criticism. This is right up there with Carroll responding “he played fine” for a player who performed terribly.

Schneider was also asked about the state of the nickel spot, which saw rookie Ugo Amadi take the starting job late in the season.

“Ugo [Amadi] did a nice job when he got out there,” he said. “We didn’t play a ton of nickel last year. You’ve got to look at the nickel position like a starter, right? Detroit got [Justin] Coleman, gave him a nice contract, he did a great job for them again. But we need to keep preparing along the way.”

Schneider’s disappointment in the secondary as a whole is not entirely surprising, but it’s still something to actually hear him say it. The stats suggest that Shaquill Griffin had a really good year (worthy of a Pro Bowl nod as a replacement selection) and Tre Flowers improved from an inconsistent rookie season.

With that said, Quandre Diggs was brought over by robbery trade for a reason. A very specific reason.

We also saw some distinctly lackluster play from Lano Hill, and Ugo Amadi was behind Jamar Taylor on the nickel corner depth chart before the Seahawks let go of Jamar late in the season.

The definition of “explosive play” varies depending on what site you use, but Sharp Football Stats defines an explosive pass play as having gained at least 15 yards. In this category, the Seahawks allowed 60, which ranks 24th in terms of sheer volume. As far as explosive pass play rate, they were a middling 17th but that’s just me not saying “mediocre.”

One can only wonder though how much better the secondary could’ve/would’ve fared had the pass rush not been so decidedly terrible for an entire season. No one is expecting Griffin/Flowers/McDougald/Diggs to be Sherman/Maxwell/Chancellor/Thomas, but even the original Legion of Boom thrived in part because in addition to being great at their respective jobs, the Seahawks pass rush of yesteryear was absolutely fearsome.

Will we see the Seahawks look at adding to its secondary depth? I would assume so, although I’d be stunned if they spent any draft picks from rounds 1-3 on a corner or a safety unless McDougald is suddenly a cap casualty candidate. The safety position seems to be in good hands with McDougald, Diggs, and Marquise Blair. Your corner positions looked to be set with Griffin and Flowers, but given Griffin is a free agent after 2020 they may want to plan ahead in case they don’t re-sign Shaquill in the 2021 offseason. As much as I’m optimistic about Amadi, in the interest of “Always Compete,” they do need more depth at corner and not duplicate the mess that was the base-heavy defense of 2019.