Twenty Reasons Why the 2019 Seattle Seahawks Will Make the Playoffs: Reason 8; Ezekiel Ansah

The 2019 Seattle Seahawks will be a playoff team, and they might even be a Super Bowl team. Don’t feel like you need to adjust your eyes after reading that. I’m serious. Super serious. I think they can make a super serious run. Why this confidence you ask? Simple. I think their defense is going to be a whole lot better than people think, and this guy is going to be a big part of it.

Defense end Ezekiel Ansah

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

Why is Ansah going to help elevate the defense?

Because this veteran addition to the defensive line is an answer to the pass rush woes, even with the loss of Frank Clark. In fact, in 2018, Pro Football Focus rated Ansah as the most productive pass rusher in the league when combining sacks, hits, hurries and pressures, and he didn’t even play a full season. Let this plurality “pressures” sink in for a moment because that is going be a thing later in this piece.

I think this was the plan that Seattle had in place when they ended up trading Clark to Kansas City pre-daft. They weren’t necessarily looking to replace Clark with a rookie. Ansah was most likely going to be their guy. I believe this to be true because I feel Pete Carroll tipped his hand in a few offseason press conferences.

When asked about the pass rush and how Seattle will look to improve, he talked about the importance of quarterback pressures. Even more than sacks, Carroll wants his rushers to make quarterbacks uncomfortable. The reason for this is that Carroll wants his defense to create turn overs, and the best way for that to happen is to get a quarterback throwing when he doesn’t want to. That leads to inaccuracy or balls getting tipped and that can lead more easily to interceptions. Carroll wants turnovers more than sacks. He will gladly take sacks because that can lead to fumbles, but he absolutely wants defensive created turnovers more than anything else.

When talking about pressures, Carroll was quick to praise rookie Jacob Martin for his ability to create pressures as the season went on, and he stressed the importance for Rasheem Green to step forward in 2019. He also said that when they were looking to this draft, they were looking for guys that were keenly adept at creating pressure, and to no surprise, defensive lineman LJ Collier was one of best last year in college at quarterback pressures. That why he was drafted where he was in the first round, and that is why they also sought to bring in Ansah after trading Clark.

Some folks will worry about his injury history and age, and it’s valid. I’m not going to be one of them, and the main reason why is that Pete Carroll’s ideal is to have a rotation with his defensive line, and probably prefers not to be reliant on one superstar player (hence the reason he was willing to trade Clark when his price tag got too big). He is also probably wanting to give younger players like Green, Martin and Collier a chance to blossom. He also loves to have a steady mixture of veterans in the mix and Ansah, Jarran Reed, and Cassius Marsh are all that. I’m pretty comfortable saying that this particular cocktail might be more than enough.

So much so that Seattle may not have to rush Ansah into the start of the season, if his offseason shoulder surgery is not a hundred percent healed. If you remember back in 2013, they rested newly signed free agent pass rusher Cliff Avril during the preseason and the early portion of the regular season, and it proved substantially beneficial. Seattle got by without it’s best pass rusher early to have the whole pass rush, as a collective, clicking on all cylinders as the season went on. Not having Cliff early allowed others to emerge, and a chemistry to form. The same could be the case with Ansah this year.

Rotation, rotation, rotation.

That should be the mantra for Seattle’s 2019 pass rush. Last year Seattle had Frank Clark and Jarran Reed collecting all the sacks. This year, I expect Ansah to probably be the main threat, but I also expect Reed to continue to be quite effective, and I expect leaps out of Martin and Green with Marsh and Collier also in the equation.

This could be a lot of fun to watch. I can’t wait.

Go Hawks.



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