Reporting Jason A. Churchill
The statistics back it up. The Seattle Seahawks rank No. 2 in the NFL in total defense at just over 282 yards per game, No. 2 in pass defense at 191 yards per contest and No. 6 in rush defense at 92 yards per week. That run defense yields just 3.7 yards per carry, a number that sinks to 3.2 when removing quarterback scrambles. They also rank No. 4 in the league in sacks with 23 — they mustered just 36 all of last season — and are tied with the Kansas City Chiefs with 19 takeaways.
The success bleeds back to last season, but this year’s unit has stepped it up, and may be the best defense in all of football.
Tuesday on the Steve Sandmeyer Show, St. Louis Rams sideline reporter Tony Softli joined us to talk Rams-Seahawks, and when asked about the Hawks’ vaunted defense, the list of strengths he noted was endless.
“They do a great job,” Softli said. “When you really concentrate on the defense, you’re seeing a defense that can stop the run, they squeeze the pocket, and then they attack it off the edges and they lower the boom in the secondary. That’s one hell of a combination.”
Softli’s assessment comes with so much more credibility than your average reporter. He played linebacker at the University of Washington, coached under Don James at the school, then moved on to serve as scout, player personnel director and director of college scouting for the St. Louis Rams and Carolina Panthers. He knows what he’s watching and does his homework.
He continued to say “there is no such thing as a perfect defense, but they’re pretty damn close.”
With numbers backing up Softli’s scouting eye, things actually could get better for the Seahawks defense, just as it should for the offense as Russell Okung, Breno Giacomini and Percy Harvin return from injury. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner missed last Thursday’s game with a high ankle sprain, and may miss Monday night’s tilt at St. Louis, but he’s expected to be 100 percent sooner than later.
With the limitations of the offense at times in Carolina, Houston and Indianapolis, and at home versus Tennessee, the defense has had to shoulder the load a bit more than it may be asked to do once the aforementioned impact players are activated. Furthermore, the entire team will have a chance to rest and recover during the bye after week 11, too, setting them up for the stretch drive with a shot to be as healthy as they have been since before camps opened over the summer.
We discussed on the show Tuesday the potential for explosion on offense with the starters getting healthy, but if the defense improves upon what they already have shown through seven games, look out NFC, look out NFL. That’s a group that can carry a squad through the NFC playoffs and into the Super Bowl.
Inquiry memo to the league’s contenders, in Richard Sherman vernacular: You scared, bro?
- Jason A. Churchill, 1090 The Fan
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