Guest Blogger: making a case for the defense

By Glen Peer
The Seattle defense is giving up 33.6 pts in the last five game and if you take the Arizona win out, it balloons to 37.5 pts against in the losses.  Two of those losses came with assistance from the vaunted 12th man. 

Embarrassing numbers when you really look at them. 

I have been internally debating which position is of greatest need next year in the draft in my opinion.  The most logical answer I can come up with is ‘Best Player Available’.  This team has entirely too many needs not only for starters but also for depth.  However, I think that after looking at the last five weeks the defensive side of the ball has to be the number one priority addressed this off-season…whether it’s Free Agency or the Draft.

The Seahawks have been down 13, 18, & 7 pts going in to the 4th quarter (I excluded the Giants game which was essentially over before the 1st quarter ended) in the most recent stretch of losses.  It’s clear that the defenses’ inability to get off the field on 3rd down, especially against the Saints & Chiefs (combined 22-32 or 68.8%), wore the entire unit down and rendered them useless for the final 15 minutes.  I will also agree with the argument that the offenses inability to sustain any drives in the first half adds to the pressure the defense is under.  

I attribute that mostly to a lack of offensive line consistency and talent so making offensive line priority number two I am in complete agreement with.

When healthy our starting line of Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane, Colin Cole, and Chris Clemons was very stout bolstering the second best run defense in the league and top 5 in sacks through 7 weeks with 26.5.  Three of those four have missed at least three games since week six. Bryant is out for the season, and it appears Cole is still at least a week or two away from returning.

Certainly there was a healthy rotation before injury’s that allowed Brock, Terrill, Siavii & Balmer opportunities to spell the starters, but they have not been the force the starters were now that they are seeing significantly increased roles. 

Our starting line allowed Aaron Curry, Lawyer Milloy, Roy Lewis and others free releases to the quarterback on passing downs and ate up enough blocks to allow the linebackers to stay free on run plays to get to the ball carrier.  There has been virtually no pass rush lately and the linebackers for the most part have to deal with offensive tackles and guards getting to them during run plays.

The inability to generate a pass rush with the backups has allowed competent quarterbacks the time to allow WRs to get open and expose our secondary. My initial reaction was, “we need to upgrade this secondary before we consider anything else.”  However, I don’t believe if we had Nnamdi Asomugha, and Darrelle Revis playing cornerback for us right now our secondary would be significantly better.

Quarterbacks are going to find an open receiver when they do not have consistent pressure in their face and can wait until a WR gets open to make a throw no matter who is defending the receiver 1 on 1.

Coach Carroll and John Schneider had a great first off season and need to keep it going whenever this season ends. Until we know what they do in free agency, its hard to speculate what the draft day needs will be.  If pass rush is addressed via Free Agency then certainly OL, WR, & most importantly QB step to the front of the line (my thoughts on a QB early too to come at a later date).  However if a rookie pass rusher comes in via the draft we all need to keep perspective that rookie pass rusher’s typically do not produce in their first 2-3 years (check out the links below for some more on that). 

At worst, by making the defensive line the top priority we should see a reduction in embarrassing losses.


  1. Matt

    Defense is certainly an issue, but I still go back to the idea of what would this defense be like, if it wasn’t on the field all game? The offenses inability to consistently sustain drives I think is the biggest negative on this team. Now, the offense hasn’t been completely ineffective, but it also has zero consistency. You cannot regularly play halves of football where you literally do nothing on offense. Few first downs, limited yardage, etc.

    It’s like being on a baseball team where your 3, 4, and 5 hitters can’t hit for average or power. It can be demoralizing to know that unless your team is perfect, there’s little to no room for error. So, not only the physical drain of playing with a terrible offense, but the mental strain of knowing you cannot make many if any mistakes or the game is over.

    My biggest problem with the whole BPA argument really centers around the fact that there is no QB of the future in Seattle. And we’ve seen with teams (ie 49ers), it doesn’t matter how talented the rest of your team is, if you don’t have a QB, it doesn’t mean anything.

    You gotta get a QB, because they take the longest to adjust, but also have the longest careers (if successful). I’d much rather be trying to figure out how to find a CB or DT through the draft or FA over trying to figure out who will be leading this team for the next 10 years.

    Everyone would love to have a stout defense, but the problem is, there are very, very few defenses who can actually WIN championships. This is a different era of football, and if you can’t score, you don’t win. Plain and simple. Schemes and NFL rules have been ever changing towards the advantage of the offense.

    Bottom line, every aspect (minus ST) has struggled for the Hawks. But, we have seen key personnel missing from the defense that has directly correlated with it’s demise. What that says to me, is that you find mid round prospects who can be groomed and learned behind guys like Colin Cole and Red Bryant. You are not talking about all world guys with a varied skill set, but rather guys who have a particular strong suit. These are guys that can be easily found in rounds 2-4.

    Ndamukong Suh is having one of the best rookie seasons ever by a DT or any other position for that matter. How much has he improved the Lions in the win-loss column? Sure, they have been without Matt Stafford for awhile, but what does that tell you?

    Very good read Glenn, just wanted to chime in with my personal opinion on why I think a more consistent/potent offense, can ultimately help the defense/team more, than an all world DT or DE.

    • Glen Peer

      Thanks for the comment.  I really do not disagree with anything you said, I believe that finding the QB of the future is priority number 1.  But as of right now with really only 1 “franchise” QB in the fold for the draft and potentially where we will be drafting is it smart to “reach” for a Locker type early when we have so many other needs?  I personally hope the DT/DE is addressed in Free Agency, so the draft can be focused on the OL, and skill positions, and if we’re lucky a QB like Mallett.  I have faith in Pete and John to do what’s best for this team, I just don’t think we can over look the DL. In its last two games it has given up 22/31 3rd down conversions, which subsequently keeps the offense on the bench.

      • Matt

        I could see JS and PC targeting Locker thinking they are ultimately buying low on him due to his poor year, which a lot I would attribute to just not being healthy, as well as completely unrealistic expectations thrust on him and the UW football team in general (no chance he would ever win Heisman, just like they had no chance of going to the Rose Bowl).

        If we don’t make the playoffs, I could see JS and PC to be big movers on draft day. I could see a big move up in the draft to get a guy like Luck, or I could see them trading down and accumulating picks, thinking that Locker can be their guy, and at a discounted price from where they originally expected him to be drafted. Either way, I don’t expect the Front Office to be in Neutral this off-season. They now have a full year of game evaluation and know what/who they need at what position to ultimately jump start this franchise. Drafting ET and Okung in 2010 were simple decisions considering their talent level and the fact they filled massive holes, that needed to be filled.

        Any way you slice it, I expect some exciting action this off-season, and despite a tumultuous season, it’s been nice seeing some life out of this team. Great read Glen. Look forward to more of your work.

  2. Kelly

    Hey Matt,

    I like what your saying, and I do believe there will be alot of wheeling and dealing come FA and draft day, but…your idea of the Hawks grabbing Luck is a bit unrealistic. You really gotta stop and think…why would a team like Carolina pass up on such a great talent? Especially when they have a need for the QB position and they have the money (Remember they dumped Julius Peppers 16 Million dollar salary and haven’t made any HUGE deals as of late).

    Also…does it truly make sense for the Hawks to unload 2-3 VERY HIGH draft picks in order to even get into that postion. I mean…lets say we are 11th pick this year…to move into the 1st spot, it would probably take at least the 11th pick overall, our 2nd round pick and possibly a high pick in 2012 draft. With so many holes to fill, I don’t think you can afford to unload those draft picks for any one player. And what happens “IF” Andrew Luck can’t hack it in the NFL. I know he looks awesome now, but if he ends up being a bust, Well…we just gave up another 2 years of rebuilding. I don’t think Petes wants to go down that path…

    In my opinion, Hasslebeck will either be a Cleveland Brown or Seattle Seahawk next year. If we have our sights on Jake Locker, take that 11th overall pick and start moving down the board, picking up perhaps 2-2nd round picks ect…in the process. All of a sudden you are sitting there with 25th pick, pick Locker and then in the 2nd round you have 3 picks to address the OL, CB, WR or DT positions. All of a sudden are depth looks ALOT better.

    • Matt

      Sure, it’s unrealistic, especially if you are picking at 11 or lower, but that’s not really what I’m trying to say. The point I was really trying to make was that I don’t think this front office will be just sitting and waiting on draft day, and i fully expect a lot of movement and positioning to get their guy.

      And of course, if they did trade a lot to get a guy like Luck and he busts, then that obviously hurt big time. That said, the idea behind trading up to get “your guy,” would sit well with me, because it shows conviction and a belief that the front office would believe in this guy. Is it a risk? Absolutely. But as we’ve seen, you can’t win without good QB play, and it really doesn’t matter how great everyone else on the roster is. I think this might be the most frustrating thing regarding the NFL Draft. EVERY player/position is a risk. Aaron Curry was the most sure bet at LB in 10 years. He’s not even in the 5 best LBers in his own draft class.

      When you really think about risk regarding QBs, there is risk everywhere no matter if we are talking about the #1 overall pick or an undrafted kid. A #1 QB pick is a risk because of the money involved in the situation. However, an undrafted free agent QB is also a huge risk because you are basically hoping that your lottery ticket hits. It’s a risk to put a lot of stock in a #1 overall pick, just like it’s a risk to put your hopes of finding Tom Brady in the 6th round.

      The bottom line with the Hawks (in my opinion), is that it really doesn’t matter who we draft/what we do, until we find our QB of the future. It really doesn’t. The 49ers have a budding O-line, awesome talents on defense and at the skill positions, and they still stink. It’s all because of the QB, which is why I think this front office needs to be aggressive when it comes to getting the guy they want.

      The toughest part about this discussion regarding the Hawks and the draft, is a result of them having so many massive holes. And as much as we need depth, CBs, DTs, more OL, we ultimately need a good QB to build around. I’d much rather be aggressive and get a guy we believe in, and subsequently build to his strengths and go from there. If you see a guy you want, you do what it takes to get him, doesn’t matter the sacrifice.

      • Matt

        *Obviously the Panthers wouldn’t want to pass on a guy like Luck, but like I said, the point of my argument isn’t specifically about Andrew Luck and the Carolina Panthers and trading for him, it’s the basic idea that if you see a guy you truly believe in, then you do what it takes to get him.

  3. Kelly

    Ya I understand. I just don’t see the love affair between the Hawks and Luck. Maybe there is, but there hasn’t really been anything suggesting that the Hawks have him specifically in their sights.

    Remember…not only would we lose 2-3 good pick for the next 2 drafts but your paying Luck 70 million dollars. And if…you grab a guy like Locker at 25, I think you spend roughly 15-25 million. Big difference and in my opinion less risk.

    • Matt

      I’m not saying there is a love affair. I’m approaching this as a hypothetical. This year, Luck is the guy that looks to go high. I would have used Bradford as the example last year. I’m more just talking about the idea of them targeting a specific QB and subsequently doing what it takes to get them. Whether that be moving up or slotting down, just depends on that individual.

      And I do agree that it would come at a steep price, if it involved them moving up for their guy. But, as a fan, I would feel good about the fact that they have such a belief in an individual over just waiting for whoever comes to them. This isn’t necessarily Andrew Luck specific, although I do think he’s one of the better QB prospects to come along in a long time. I see a physically more gifted Matt Ryan, which inevitably implies higher upside as well.

  4. Kelly

    Fact Check: I just looked up Tim Tebow’s contract (25th overall in last years draft). He got 33 million and 8 million guarenteed. Thats a huge difference then what Bradford got, and one can assume that Luck will get the same contract as Bradford

    • Blake

      Rookie payscale is likely to happen in order to provide pensions for players from like 1993 on. #1 pick will probably only be like 25 guaranteed over 5 with late 1st rounders possibly being six figures. That is another reason why its impossible to get Luck. They won’t trade out of a cheap #1 pick as good as he looks.

      I completely agree with Matt. He already provided the Ndamukong Suh example (great DT + no QB = still crap team). Josh Freeman and Sam Bradford have perhaps two of the 5 worst supporting casts in all of football. Every piece of those teams could be upgraded, and we are more talented top to bottom than either of them. That being said, the terriffic QB play from each has vaulted each team from nowhere to playoff contenders. Bradford is making Danario Alexander, Michael Hapofiajeofaeof, and Billy Bajema look like pro bowlers. He even made Mark Clayton look like a true #1… Mark effing Clayton. Having a QB trumps all other needs. If we could look in the magic 8 ball and know for sure that player x was going to be a franchise QB, then trading an ENTIRE DRAFT to get him would be appropriate value.

      Also-like Matt already said- the idea of being aggressive, confident, and determined is very appealing to a fan. It is stupid to limp into an NFL season with some oft injured veteran hoping that he revitalizes his career. It takes energy out of fans and often does not work. Drafting a QB high creates buzz, revenue, and usually success.

  5. Kelly


    I have a question for you. What are the prospects for 2012 looking like at QB?

    Obviously…I don’t think Seattle can afford to wait 2 years to address the QB situation, but I was curious of maybe a short list…Is Barkley coming out?

    • Blake

      Barkley, Foles, and Pryor will likely lead the class with Landry Jones, Garret Gilbert, AJ McCarron, and Aaron Murray having potential to step up and become big time underclassmen.

      • matt

        I personally would have little to no interest in Pryor or Foles. Pryor just looks so unnatural passing. Everything from accuracy to mechanics is just not very good. Great athlete, but I wouldn’t count on him doing much of anything as an NFL QB.

        Foles to me is just another stat rat in a very easy offensive system. Tons of high percentage passes (screens, slants, etc). Pretty poor mobility as well as mediocre arm strength and accuracy. I think there’s a reason when he got hurt, that his backup put up all world numbers too.

        I do really like Aaron Murray. Pretty small for a big time QB, but looks good reading the field. Good arm and accuracy. Sure, he’s throwing to AJ Green, but I was pretty impressed by his overall QB package. Mobility, intelligence, arm, accuracy are all pretty dang good. None are spectacular, but all combined intrigue me.

        • Blake

          I agree I hate Pryor’s game, but if Tebow and Newton can be drafted high so can he. Anyone with any remote skills are drafted high now because of the lack of QB quality in the NCAA. After seeing McCoy’s success maybe Kellen Moore can have some as well. Especially with new spread systems developing in the NFL like NE, Denver, Indy, and true west coast systems. Gabbert is only a junior this year as well and he could come out next year if he doesn’t receive a 2nd round status from the committee this year. I see decent downfield accuracy for Foles. I see him place fades in between the under and over cover 2 zones quite often. He does have big receivers that can go get it, but I see him being just as accurate as Mallett. In such a weak QB class, Barkley could definitely be the #1 pick for a team like Buffalo or Arizona. Even if he doesn’t step up like I think he will, he wouldn’t make it past us or Minnesota. I appreciate your reasoning, but money trumps all (except for Locker).

          • Matt

            I wouldn’t necessarily call McCoy a success. He’s played OK in a few games, but everytime I’ve watched him, it’s similar dink and dunk stuff like he did at Texas. He will struggle once there’s more tape on him.

    • matt

      I would actually be really surprised if Barkley left after his Junior season. He’s definitely good enough, but the bowl sanctions are lifted after his junior season and they have a bunch of young studs who could legitimately compete for a BCS title their last year.

      It seems to be getting tougher and tougher to find good QB prospects. The gimmicky nature of College football seems to be killing the development of these guys.

  6. Matt Q.

    I have a question, do you know anything about Torrey Smith? he looks like a good player and playmaker at WR, is he a 2nd round talent?

  7. Blake

    Watching the game today is a perfect example of why we need more of everything; go BPA with every pick. Against a rookie QB, it is inexcusable that we give up so many yards on 1st and 2nd down runs. Then our offense compounds it by going 3 and out against one of the worst stop units around. I will stand by my argument that our defensive line is tremendous when healthy (top 5 ish), but I would not be opposed to a draft pick for every other position on the team.

  8. Cliff

    We need to look at free agents on both sides that we could realistically sign. Imagine if we could sign someone like Sidney Rice to a deal. Big deep threat. Young (only 24?). We wouldn’t have to “waste” a high draft pick on another WR if Rice was signed in Free Agency. Minn’s offense was completely changed with him off the field. I highly, highly doubt they’ll let him go but there will be some players that slip.
    Finding a starting Guard/Tackle or anyone on the defensive side in FA would help significantly. A lot of our players will be free agents after this year and we’ll have a lot of cap space to sign players we want.
    *Maybe do an article on Free Agents in 2011 that could fit our scheme?

    • Cliff

      Some of the top (and young) players who may or may not be available would include:
      Antonio Cromartie could be available, as the Jets probably wont want to pay both him and Revis fat stacks. He’s doing good this year and Pistol Pete always seems a way to maximize talent.
      Lamarr Woodley, although he plays in a 3-4 he can rush and hold the edge. we need both but he is a key part of their D and odds are will be extended.
      Haloti Ngata from the Ravens is one of the top DT playing the game. they’ll resign him.
      V-Jax is young and a top deep threat. he’ll be a free agent for sure but lots of teams will be interested. We’ve been knockin on the door before so it could happen..
      One of either Richard Seymour or Nnamdi Asomugha will most likely be available. Both vvery good.
      Sidney Rice like i said but odds are he’ll be extended.
      We could always sign TO..
      Jared Gaither is injury prone but still a good RT when healthy.

  9. Jay

    This might not be entirely draft related but, what do you guys think of Walter Thurmond? What is his potential? I’ve been going back into scouting reports from last year and reading up on him, saying he was explosive, athletic and have lockdown potential. From what I can see it, he’s getting beat quite frequently. I know he had that horrible leg injury, but I just want to ask what others think of him. Is him getting beat simply cause he hasn’t fully recovered or does he just need time to develop?

    • Matt Q.

      I was hoping that he could turn in to a starting corner next year but my hopes and decreasing

    • Matt

      It’s still early and you can’t forget that he missed a ton of time last year and is still recovering from a horrible injury. CB can be a tough adjustment and I still haven’t lost any faith in him. He’s shown signs of some real awesome potential, so we need to treat this year as him just getting a taste of the NFL.

      Remember, this was a guy that was viewed as a top 50 pick had he not blown out his knee. So he was very highly thought of and to me, is simply adjusting both physically and mentally back into his game.

      • Ralphy

        I was at the AZ game and Thurmond looked great covering Fitzgerald. I love getting a value pick like Thurmond that slips due to injury. I think we just need to be a little patient with him.

        • Matt

          My thoughts exactly. Despite some struggles, he’s shown some very outstanding play. CB is such a tough position.

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