Earlier in the week we reviewed five offensive plays from the Seahawks first preseason game against the Steelers. In this article we are going to be reviewing five plays involving Seahawks rookies from the defensive side of the ball.
Seahawks undrafted LB Vi Jones (@TheViJones) finished with six tackles and one sack in his first preseason game.— Cory Smith (@RCorySmith) August 14, 2022
That sack was tough. #PackPros pic.twitter.com/QbWaohg5Vl
On this play Jones is a delayed blitzer. Off the snap he flips his hips to be parallel to make it appear that he is dropping back into coverage, only then to come downhill on a blitz. The hope with a delayed blitz like this one is that either a guard sees his hips flip and goes to help either his tackle or center to the inside or the running back looks off of him if they are blocking. The Steelers running back Mataeo Durant is able to pick him up as a blitzr late and take him head on, but Jones absolutely flattens him at the contact point giving him an easy lane to Kenny Pickett. The Seahawks UDFA is able to fight through the stiff arm by the quarterback and wrangle him down to the ground for the sack.
I thought both Tariq Woolen & Coby Bryant had solid reps in their DEBUT. Been thrown into the fire since camp against some elite talent & went against another high-potential rookie yesterday. They’ll face talent all year. Lot to like from both #Seahawks pic.twitter.com/1WOC3nO9xj— Maliik Obee (@NFLMaliik) August 14, 2022
This is a great coverage rep by Woolen. The UTSA product starts off with a really good base, with his shoulders only marginally ahead of his feet. His feet are extremely quiet off of the snap and he gets right on his toes which makes it easier for him to flip his hips if needed. He does wait a bit too long for my liking to get his hands on the receiver, although when he does Woolen does a great job of using the contact to usher Pickens right to the sideline. He stays patient throughout the route without overcommitting too quickly to what he sees off of the line of scrimmage. It is only a single rep but nonetheless it is a very encouraging rep against a rookie of the year candidate in George Pickens.
George Pickens and Coby Bryant: both playing some serious football already pic.twitter.com/6NMal2qjlL— John Fraley (@johndavidfraley) August 13, 2022
Bryant is too passive on this play for my liking. He’s left an island on a 3rd and 13 and rather than trying to make some form of contact with Pickens 7 or 8 yards down the field, he goes into a pedal and lets him run right by him. He is able to flip his hips quickly but with Pickens at full speed as well as him giving a slight push off, he simply is able to run right by Bryant.
Pickens does give another push off with his left arm which may have been offensive pass interference. However, there was not enough contact there to give Bryant a pass for getting beaten. Besides the lack of physicality Bryant also does need to work on getting his head around rather than attempting to defend the catch point. Had the ball been underthrown Pickens almost certainly would’ve jumped back into Bryant which would have resulted in a defensive pass interference.
Teachable moments for one of Seattle’s promising rookie corners.
A little rookie on rookie crime from the Seahawks-Steelers game last night. Boye Mafe showed off his burst chasing Kenny Pickett down for a BIG 4th down sack. pic.twitter.com/E80AGmpdFE— Seven Rounds in Heaven (@7RoundsInHeaven) August 14, 2022
Coming into the season I thought Boye Mafe might be a sneaky Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate and this preseason game only raised my confidence levels in him. On this play he displays great recognition by swimming the tight end in front of him, dodging the running back (who many edges would’ve tackled on a play-action) and then chasing down Kenny Pickett. There are a few minor things that Mafe did throughout the play that have to be highlighted besides that.
—When Mafe thinks the running back is behind him he raises his outside arm to help take away the passing lane for Pickett. Then once he recognizes he is not passing it he puts it down.
—Additionally, when Mafe is about to sack Pickett, he notices he takes one hand off of the football. Mafe initiates the tackle with his left arm and goes for a swat with the right in an attempt to force his second sack of the game.
Didn’t take long for @boye_mafe. #Seahawks pic.twitter.com/dnjCp6QHsp— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) August 13, 2022
This highlights a lot of what we are going to see as an edge rusher from Mafe this season. Once the tackle flashes his hands to make contact with Mafe, he is quickly able to swipe through the tackle's hands giving him an open lane to his outside shoulder. He then uses his balance and bend to beat him around the corner giving him a free shot at Mason Rudolph. The tackle does a good job of recovering and forcing Mafe up field which takes away the clean sack opportunity. As a result, the second-round pick does what all good edges do, which is go for a strip sack. The former Golden Gopher is going to make a major impact for the Seahawks this season and these two plays highlighted some of the reasons as to why that is.