The Seattle Seahawks defense has stayed the same for years under head coach Pete Carroll. Last season the Seahawks defense used a base defense for 69% of the snaps, which is three times the average. Why did a base defense work with the Legion of Boom, and why is it not working now?
The Seattle Seahawks once had a top five defense
At the beginning of the 2010s, the Seahawks base defense gave birth to the Legion of Boom. With the offensive strategies in today’s NFL, most defenses have gone to a nickel package due to more teams going with a three-receiver set. Back at this time, they had the best defensive backs in the game with great coverage linebackers.
The Seahawks usually ran a 4-3 base defense, which is your traditional four defensive linemen, three linebackers, and four defensive backs. This defense is often a monotonous sequence of events for a defense, but when they had skilled players everywhere, it worked. The skill came from defensive backs Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Byron Maxwell as the years went by the LOB disbanded due to costs or to injury.
Last year’s defense had not many players left from that top-five defense they had at the start of the decade. They finished 18th on defense, and they are still using the same 4-3 base defense. They are finding it is harder to use that defense with their linebackers playing horribly in pass coverage.
There is a discrepancy in the percentage. The defense was 12th in defense using base but was dead last while using a nickel package. It tells us two things. The Seahawks need to look into getting hybrid linebacker/safety players and a nickel corner if they want to continue with a 4-3 base the majority of the time.
The Seahawks drafted Jordyn Brooks, who was one of the better run-stopping linebackers in the 2020 draft. He joins All-pro linebacker Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright that are still here from the Seahawks last Superbowl. They didn’t help themselves with their secondary as they will continue to go with 2nd-year nickel back Ugochukwu Amadi.
In the offseason, the Seahawks didn’t help their secondary enough to break away from continuing a 4-3 base. Even though the secondary didn’t receive attention, adding Brooks will add to the run-stopping but not to the coverage game. Will it be enough, though? They need to take more time to evaluate what personnel they have. Will the defense be able to continue playing a significant percentage of base defense with a very power-driven passing offense division? Time will tell.
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