It was well-noted that the Seattle Seahawks moved on from every single member of the unwatchably porous defensive line in 2022, save only for Uchenna Nwosu.
Poona Ford, gone. Shelby Harris, gone. Al Woods, gone. Quinton Jefferson, gone. L.J. Collier, gone before you ever knew he was actually here.
John Schneider set out swiftly and decisively to re-tool the defense this offseason, and through three games it’s working.
In particular, one well-known member of the Russell Wilson era of Seahawks ball has returned in the middle of the defense, and has made an immediate impact on the run defense.
I am, of course, talking about Jarran Reed.
Reed returned to Seattle on a two-year, $9 million contract and has looked more like his elite 2018 form that got him paid than anything else.
It’s hard to say who the best player on defense was against the Carolina Panthers, as the team played a pretty complete game with big days from 6-8 starters.
But man, Reed had a sack and a half, another tackle for loss, 3 QB hits, and a pass knocked down. Dude was everywhere, and throughout the whole game.
His game was certainly noticed.
Pete Carroll says on @SeattleSports that Jarran Reed played through a second degree groin strain and played what Carroll said was "the best game I've ever seen him play.''— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) September 25, 2023
I hate PFF numbers but they made a point of emphasis all offseason that above 90 is very good in their opinion.
Top Seahawks Grades on Defense vs Panthers:— Brian Nemhauser (@hawkblogger) September 25, 2023
90.9 Mario Edwards
90.4 Jarran Reed
80.1 Boye Mafe
72.6 Julian Love
70.2 Cameron Young
70.0 Devon Witherspoon
Side note, not a single one of those players was on the roster last year. I do not consider 2023 Boye Mafe the same person as rookie Mafe, which we’ll certainly cover in another piece soon.
Through three games, against a powerful Detroit Lions offense, a giant question mark Los Angeles Rams offense, and a Carolina Panthers offense that really really wants to be good at running, the Seahawks have given up 2.9 yards per attempt on the ground.
Felt like they gave up 2.9 extra yards per attempted tackle last season.
In their two wins, Detroit has run 4.1 and 4.5 YPA with their running backs, and Seattle almost halved that.
It was a strange ending to the Jarran Reed relationship the first time around, with the tense contract negotiations and the departure to Kansas City on a nothing of a one-year deal.
But the relationship is not bad, the vibes are solid, and the effort thus far is incredible. He’s clearly still motivated to play at 31 years old, and check out this pursuit from the Carolina game:
Jordyn Brooks miss the tackle.— Rapinas do Mar (Cortes) (@cortesrapinas) September 24, 2023
PS: Check Jarran Reed effort. pic.twitter.com/8dTlzqCGro
That’s your tackle shooting the double team and making a tackle nine yards downfield. He’s playing on fire the whole game, and it’s made a big difference.
Reed and Seattle play a New York Giants team on Monday that has been de-Saquoned, and without Barkley it’s looking extremely likely that the Hawks will come through four games with one of the three or four best run defenses in the NFL.
At one point in late March the Seahawks had zero nose tackles on their roster. We sat around and wondered “could Seattle possibly find some way to be even like the 20th best run defense in the NFL, wouldn’t that be incredible??”
Reed has come in, with Mario Edwards and Dre’Mont Jones on either side, and they’ve completely flipped the script from what teams were able to do to this defense a year ago.