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Seahawks Head Scratchers: Dropping linemen into coverage

Chicago Bears v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The year is 2021 and the Seattle Seahawks are careening down a slippery slope, headed straight for a crash course with the inevitable implosion that is certain to come sooner than later. But as the waning days of the earth’s rotation around the sun draw to a close, we are left with little to look forward to as football fans in the northwest, unless you love tumultuous offseason uncertainty with no recourse for improvement in the form of the typically high draft pick that is commensurate with a season such as this. So while the phrase “rebuilding” is sure to be thrown around with reckless abandon in 2020, I don’t want to go there yet; that would require that the team actually have the tools to rebuild, but they sold most of these tools for a shiny new box safety and not a whole lot else. This is like trading your table saw for a diamond tipped saw blade. Sure, it is nice, but it is absolutely meaningless when you have no way to use it. But enough with the construction metaphors, as this is far from the only bad decision that has put this team in this place.

Among the many errors that this coaching staff has made to sweep the legs out from under this team, perhaps one of the more perplexing is their apparent affinity for dropping defensive linemen into coverage. And not just the speedy EDGE guys, but players like Al Woods, Poona Ford, and Bryan Mone have all spent time doing their best Red Bryant impersonation. Unfortunately, though, none of these guys are Big Red and none of them secured a Big Man Pick 6. And not only that, but they have allowed a damn near 100% completion percentage across the board and generally look exactly like you would expect them to look when playing bizarrely out of position. See the tweet below for the precise info.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Seahawks D-line has allowed 25 completions on 26 targets. And of course, this only tells a portion of the story; how many times have we seen Ken Norton Jr. send players into coverage who have no business playing off-ball? Many, many times. Just look at this play below from the loss to the Minnesota Vikings, where Alton Robinson looks about as lost as you would expect trying to find his assignment.

Or even this play against the Washington Football Team, once again featuring Alton Robinson dropping back on the zone blitz. And even though the pass ends up far away from the former Syracuse star, this cute little play design never had the Football Team confused for a second. It is just a pointless misappropriation of personnel.

This isn’t to pick on Alton, as I think he has a bright future as a pass rusher and seems like a great later round pickup. But why would you be dropping a talented pass rusher into coverage on a team that struggles to pressure the quarterback? These head scratching moves are a microcosm of the head scratching decisions that the Seahawks organization has been making all season; they just seem to too often try to be what they want to be rather than just trying to be good at what they are, although I am still trying to figure out exactly what that even means anymore.

Given that we are now moving into some final irrelevant weeks of football for this Seattle team for the first time in over a decade, I intend to turn some focus to the biggest head scratching decisions that have impacted this team over the course of this season, including some decisions made prior to 2021. If you have any particularly head scratching moments of your own to share, please leave them in the comments below.