Having K.J. Wright on Seattle radio once a week has been the second biggest treat of this season, behind only the two deep bombs that Geno Smith threw to Tyler Lockett in Week 5.
His perspective on the Seattle Seahawks, past and present, has been entertaining and deeply insightful week in and week out. Obviously, as one of the best linebackers to ever play the game, he’s been peppered with questions about this year’s defensive malpractice.
Over a few different opportunities, Wright indicated that the problems stem up front, by the defensive line consistently losing, and that it’s potentially personnel related.
Wright also indicated that the linebackers began the season by taking risks because there being blocked so often: “You can see that the guys are getting frustrated with just getting mauled and blocked by these offensive linemen so they’re taking their chances, but it’s not quite paying out.”
A few weeks later, he indicated that things had not changed. Now the Seahawks are getting burned badly on play action because the linebackers are taking two hard steps forward on every fake handoff, struggling to recover.
Newly-signed Bruce Irvin, also a standout Seattle linebacker, has different thoughts.
Bruce Irvin with a pretty detailed answer today about what he thinks have been the issues with the Seahawks defense this year: pic.twitter.com/uktwmLGjma— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) October 13, 2022
That font be tiny, so to recap, Irvin thinks the biggest issue is communication. This is interesting because that would harken back to the Ken Norton Jr. issues of, well, all of his tenure.
You have to change the strength, so you have to communicate that because the plays go from one side to the other with certain motions and stuff.
Irvin goes on to praise specifically the talent and hunger of a young defense that doesn’t have much experience with each other (which is true).
Two interesting facets about the opinions of the former players: first, the lateral movement in this new scheme is neither communicated nor executed well, indicated by both of them. Bad fit up front, per KJ, and bad recognition per Irvin.
However, their primary concerns are not the same as one another. It’s classic communication vs. poor fit and execution. And yet neither of them gravitated to what Pete Carroll has most frequently publicly, which would be the continued and infuriating missed tackles, across the board, from no-longer starters like Josh Jones to Pro Bowl vets like Quandre Diggs.
It’s more than a bit annoying that two guys who’ve both played here (and with some of these coaches!) have more than one issue with this defense. Carroll even has a third.
The tackling can’t get much worse, the pass rush can’t be much worse, the linebackers can’t play much worse, so the good news is one of these issues could potentially resolve itself simply from sheer regression to the mean.