Analysis: Seahawks Midseason Defensive Report Card

CorbinSmithNFL

Sitting atop the NFC West with a 6-2 record, the Seahawks have officially reached the midway point of the 2020 NFL season.

Through the first nine weeks, Seattle has been able to overcome an atrocious defense that has allowed 30 points per game and given up more total yardage and passing yardage than any team in NFL history in the first eight games of a season. If they maintain their current pace, they will shatter the Packers previous record of 4,796 passing yards allowed by nearly 1,000 yards.

Reviewing the first half of the season, how have the Seahawks defensive positional groups fared? Outlining noteworthy stats, here are report cards for each player who has played significant snaps in the first eight games.

Defensive End

L.J. Collier

Noteworthy Stat: 6.9 percent pressure rate per Sports Info Solutions

Grade: B-

Coming off a difficult rookie season marred by injury, Collier has generated 12 quarterback pressures this year and has shown a penchant for making plays in the clutch, including upending Patriots quarterback Cam Newton at the goal line to salvage a Week 2 victory for the Seahawks. His overall production has been underwhelming, particularly in the pass rushing department, but the former first-round pick has held up well as an anchor against the run and made substantial strides in his second season.

Benson Mayowa

Noteworthy Stat: Three swatted passes at line of scrimmage

Grade: C

Given his first chance at a full-time starting gig at the LEO defensive end spot for Seattle, Mayowa has made a few splashy plays in key situations but overall, he's been disappointing logging 345 defensive snaps this year. After recording 7.0 sacks for the Raiders a year ago, he has only a pair of sacks and four quarterback hits in 2020. With the arrival of Carlos Dunlap, he's likely done starting, but that ultimately could improve his production returning to a reserve role in the second half.

Alton Robinson

Noteworthy Stat: Four tackles for loss in six games

Grade: C+

Despite impressing in training camp, Robinson was inexplicably held out as a healthy scratch for Seattle's first two regular season games. Once the rookie earned a chance to play in Week 3, he made his first NFL sack and also produced a tackle for loss in a win over the Cowboys. He's been wildly inconsistent to this point, but the fifth-round pick looks to be a solid find in day three of the draft and should factor into the Seahawks' pass rush plans moving forward.

Damontre Moore

Noteworthy Stat: Six quarterback hits in seven games

Grade: C+

Along with making a couple bone-jarring hits on special teams, Moore proved to be one of Seattle's more consistent edge rushers in the first half. According to Sports Info Solutions, he generated an 8.7 percent pressure rate on 127 total rush attempts and 11 total pressures. That's nothing spectacular, but given the team's pass rushing woes, he provided valuable snaps in a reserve role until being slapped with a six-game suspension and could return later if needed.

Jonathan Bullard

Noteworthy Stat: Two quarterback hits in four games

Grade: C+

Signed off the Cardinals practice squad prior to Week 5, Bullard played quite well in his team debut with multiple pressures against the Vikings. Since then, his play has leveled off and he hasn't been overly effective with limited snaps playing base defensive end and 3-tech defensive tackle for the Seahawks.

Rasheem Green

Noteworthy Stat: 9.4 percent pressure rate per Sports Info Solutions

Grade: C+

Due to a lengthy stint on injured reserve with a neck issue, Green has only played in two games for Seattle this season. Despite playing limited snaps, however, he has produced four pressures on 43 pass rush attempts and has a respectable 64.5 grade from Pro Football Focus for those two contests.

Defensive Tackle

Jarran Reed

Noteworthy Stat: 23 tackles in eight starts

Grade: B-

From a pass rushing standpoint, Reed had disappointingly been a relative non-factor for the Seahawks until breaking out with 2.5 sacks in a Week 9 loss to the Bills. According to Sports Info Solutions, he has a lowly 3.4 percent pressure rate and only seven quarterback hits this year. For most of this season, however, he has been stout defending against the run, playing a key role in the team's success limiting opponents to under four yards per carry on the ground.

Poona Ford

Noteworthy Stat: Four tackles for loss in eight starts

Grade: B

Though Ford hasn't registered a sack yet this season, the third-year defender has remained highly effective as a run defender at the nose tackle position and is tied for the team lead in tackles for loss. Playing with relentless effort, he can be seen chasing down screens and has been more of a nuisance for opponents collapsing the pocket as a pass rusher, as indicated by his 10 pressures so far. He currently has a 78.5 grade on Pro Football Focus, significantly higher than Reed's midseason score.

Bryan Mone

Noteworthy Stat: Seven tackles in eight games

Grade: B-

When called upon, Mone has come up with a few crucial plays for Seattle's defense stuffing the run in the middle, including bringing down Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for a safety back in Week 3. Arriving at camp at a lighter 340-pound playing weight, he's been a serviceable reserve on 175 defensive snaps and even generated his first career sack.

Linebacker

Bobby Wagner

Noteworthy Stat: 240 yards surrendered in coverage

Grade: A-

Once again on pace to top 150 tackles, Wagner continues to play at an All-Pro level in the middle of Seattle's defense. He's bounced back from a rough 2019 season in coverage, limiting opposing quarterbacks to an 85.4 passer rating and 9.6 yards per completion. Due to the team's pass rushing woes, he has also blitzed more than at any point in his career and capitalized on those chances with a trio of sacks and eight quarterback hits.

K.J. Wright

Noteworthy Stat: 77.6 grade on Pro Football Focus

Grade: B+

Now in his 10th NFL season with the Seahawks, Wright has shown few signs of slowing down and has adapted well to playing strongside linebacker. While he has given up three touchdowns in coverage, he also has six passes defensed and made a one-handed highlight reel-worthy interception against the Vikings. Still the king of blowing up screens, he's on pace for 84 tackles and eight tackles for loss and has recovered a pair of fumbles, continuing to stuff the stat sheet at 31 years of age.

Jordyn Brooks

Noteworthy Stat: Three missed tackles in six games

Grade: C

It's been a disappointing first season for Brooks, who suffered a knee sprain during his first NFL start in Week 3 and has recorded only 14 tackles in six games. Despite the tough start, however, the first-round pick out of Texas Tech has been playing better as of late, earning a 75.5 game grade on 22 defensive snaps against the Bills last Sunday. He will have a great chance to improve upon his grade as a full-time starter in the second half.

Cody Barton

Noteworthy Stat: 22 tackles in eight games

Grade: C

Following Brooks' injury, Barton received a pair of starts and performed inconsistently, missing a couple of tackles while also helping blow up a fourth down run late in a win over the Vikings. He hasn't played many defensive snaps in Seattle's other six games, but he did force a pivotal fumble in a Week 8 win over San Francisco and should continue to make an impact on special teams.

Shaquem Griffin

Noteworthy Stat: 7.3 percent pressure rate per Sports Info Solutions

Grade: C-

It's been a season of peaks and valleys for Griffin, who was waived coming out of training camp and started the year on the practice squad before being promoted back to the roster in Week 3. The third-year linebacker had a strong pair of outings against the Cowboys and Dolphins with three quarterback pressures and a pass defensed, but he's been quiet ever since and hasn't played any defensive snaps in the past two games.

Cornerback

Shaquill Griffin

Noteworthy Stat: Two interceptions in six games

Grade: B-

Early in the season, Griffin endured plenty of struggles, including getting torched for several explosive plays against the Cowboys in Week 3. But before suffering a concussion and hamstring strain, he was playing some of his best football in wins over the Dolphins and Vikings, intercepting a pass in each game and producing a combined five passes defensed. The Seahawks desperately need the Pro Bowler back healthy for the stretch run.

Tre Flowers

Noteworthy Stat: 60 percent completion rate since Week 5

Grade: C

Like Griffin, Flowers didn't start off his third season on the right note, allowing opposing passers to post a rating of 126.0 and complete 82.3 percent of their passes against him in the first four games. Since Week 5, however, he's sharpened up his play in all facets, improving his passer rating in coverage by nearly 20 points and dropping his completion rate by 10 percent. As his confidence keeps growing, he could be in line for a big second half in a secondary that needs a boost big-time.

Quinton Dunbar

Noteworthy Stat: 111.0 passer rating in coverage

Grade: D+

Currently with a Pro Football Focus grade south of 50 and coming off arguably the worst performance of his NFL career, Dunbar would be in line for an F on his grade card if not for the fact he's clearly being hobbled by a chronic knee injury. He's already given up four touchdowns in coverage, twice as many as he surrendered in 11 games for Washington last year, and he's yielded more passing yards than he did in either of the past two seasons. If he can't get healthy, Flowers could take back a starting role from him in the second half.

Ugo Amadi

Noteworthy Stat: Four passes defensed in six games

Grade: B

A hamstring strain has kept Amadi out the last two weeks, but before suffering the injury, the versatile second-year defender was performing admirably as a replacement for Marquise Blair. While opponents have completed nearly 75 percent of passes against him in coverage, he's limited receivers to under 7.5 yards per completion and has done a solid job limiting yards after the catch. He currently has 25 tackles and remains a valuable special teams asset for the Seahawks.

D.J. Reed

Noteworthy Stat: 128 yards allowed in coverage on 10 completions

Grade: C+

Since being activated from the Non-Football Injury list two weeks ago, Reed has battled inconsistency in two games replacing Amadi as the nickel cornerback. He enacted revenge against his former team with an interception against the 49ers and also impacted the game as a blitzer, creating sacks for Bobby Wagner and Rasheem Green. But he also has allowed nearly 13 yards per completion in coverage and has botched a few coverage assignments in limited snaps.

Safety

Jamal Adams

Noteworthy Stat: 3.5 sacks in four games

Grade: B

To this point, Adams hasn't been the game-changing talent the Seahawks hoped he would be, but he has provided much-needed punch to their pass rush. Despite missing four games, he's still tied for the team lead in sacks and quarterback hits, generating a ridiculous 46.2 percent pressure rate as a blitzer per Sports Info Solutions. Where he needs to improve most is in coverage, where he's allowed 272 yards on 15 completions and an opposing passer rating of 116.0.

Quandre Diggs

Noteworthy Stat: 15 percent missed tackle rate per Pro Football Reference

Grade: C

After intercepting three passes in five starts for the Seahawks last season, Diggs hasn't been able to replicate his dominant play at free safety through eight games this year. While he does have two interceptions, he only has one pass defensed and has allowed 77 percent of passes to be completed against him in coverage for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Returning to his 2019 form would be a significant game-changer for a struggling defense.

Ryan Neal

Noteworthy Stat: 64.7 passer rating in coverage

Grade: B

Filling in admirably for Adams in three starts, Neal always seemed to be around the football, producing 28 tackles, three tackles for loss, and an interception in his absence. As a reward for his efforts, the Seahawks are still using him in sub-packages defensively even with Adams back in the lineup and he could be in the mix for some work at cornerback with Dunbar and Griffin ailing.

Lano Hill

Noteworthy Stat: 10 tackles in two games

Grade: D+

Unable to stay healthy, Hill has been on injured reserve since October with a back issue and may not be able to play again this season heading towards free agency. If that's the case, his career in Seattle didn't end on a strong note, as he allowed six completions on seven targets against him in coverage for 84 yards and a 116.7 passer rating.

Comments (4)
No. 1-3
The Tez
The Tez

THANK U Corbin for finally referencing what I've been saying for a while now about D coaching staff for basically all aspects of their duties.... DC Norton, the D passing game coordinator Andre Curtis, I'd include Assistant HC & DL coach Clint Hurtt at minimum, Secondary & Nickel specialist Sorenson could go either way (secondary hasn't played well at all, but apparently did well with Blair as NCB before injury, kinda did decent with Amadi, DJ Reed had 1 good game as NCB). There's some argument to be made to upgrade/replace LB coach Glenn as well, he's had 2 great vet LBs and KJ succeeded with move to SOLB and LBs had success as ST guys, but youngsters development and basic 43 LB play & fundamentals on regular defensive snaps has been concerning, poor fundamentals, technique, gap & assignment integrity, missed tackles, poor pursuit angles, poor play in coverage man & zone, etc... pandemic offseason, youth & lack of NFL experience does mitigate some things to some modest extent, but similar to secondary, young LBs lacking mental preparation & execution in too many plays.

Really basically need a complete D coaching staff upgrade & overhaul or we're going to end up looking like Atl the past few years under Quinn, a very productive O with unsound, apathetic, mistake ridden, lacking fundamentals, mental preparedness, aggression, confidence, physicality & good enough talent D despite having good D minded HC (similar instances are there throughout somewhat recent NFL history of HC strength is weak point of team while opposite of HC strength is strong). While maintaining player friendly HC & culture has generally been a positive, they need to change D side of ball coaching mentality & culture... need more accountability, more discipline, more aggresive, hard nosed, fiery, physical & tough, better at teaching, coaching & strategy who's more savvy with imparting knowledge, vet tricks of the trade & understanding mental aspects of the game, good to superb at knowing how & when to motivate individual players & pos groups without compromising relationships with players, always coaching em up & driving home successfully the fundamentals and nuances of game & position, good at using constructive criticism without humiliating/creating friction with individual players or pos groups, more passionate side but still more or less relatively modest even keeled temperament, inspires belief & full buy in by players, etc, etc...
Need MUCH better leadership qualities, X's & O's, ability to rectify issues in season, adapt successfully, make in game adjustments, play calling, game planning from DC who far better inspires & belief in D, individual players, pos groups, his staff & in him, his abilities, playcalling, methods & scheme, etc. Has bit more edge to him but doesn't clash with PC & his ways, isn't negative but isn't seemingly outta touch with reality with assessments & opinions on players/pos group, talent/ability, on field performance, development, injury/durability issues, etc... more grounded in reality, uses analytics to help assess things but doesn't allow analytics to surpass the proverbial eye test of on field play, getting tunnel vision on potential additions to roster like PC admittedly does, hopefully has good eye for potential talent that PC & JS consider seriously, etc. I still think Sea should go find and add best pass rush specialist position coach they can and add them to staff (great at developing young talent very well and getting most from vets, teaching nuances & tricks of pos mentally, pass rush plans & technique wise) as well as add a Safety position specialist coach especially if Jamal Adams is the long term plan, ideally someone from Vic Fangio/2018 Chi coaching tree who's very good with S play & knows how & when to best, creatively & unpredictably use Adam's skill sets & talent without compromising/exposing D especially in coverage, as well as great at that Fangio style of disguising coverages until last possible second, helping DL, coverage & D in the process.

Seavike
Seavike

Great comments Tez, on defensive woes, incite full, positive stuff, agree have watched fundamentals drop, since last year. I am wanting to believe, defense will be better in LA; Dline curing, CDunlap immediately provided JReed w room to maneuver, will now have a combo on the line, maybe PFord and RGreen will Likewise find additional space. Coverage, UAmadi back, TFlowers,inspite of history, may finally solidify, is Reed or Neal going to step up to CB position... my glass is half full, whiskey of course... cause center replacement may derail offense, hope Fuller is stepping up, damn, may need to add more to that glass...

Seavike
Seavike

Corbin agree w grading and comments for most part, especially noticing QDiggs has disappeared, hope SHarrison gets to energize QDiggs in some way, am looking forward to some mayhem in LA. The Defense is going to rise, no the whiskey is still in the glass...


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