Safety. NIckel Corner. Linebacker. Defensive End.
What’s in a position name anyways?
Technically, Jamal Adams is listed as a strong safety, and it is a position that he is expected to play for your Seattle Seahawks. But he took a lot of snaps last year at those other spots that I listed above, and that is why he is well within his rights to call himself a defensive weapon.
This is why the Seattle Seahawks are making him the highest paid safety in the league by a healthy margin. Personally, I say bravo to that.
Good. The Seattle Seahawks need dynamic players on their defense again. Bobby Wagner is a dynamic linebacker. Jordyn Brooks has the potential to be one, too. Poona Ford, if you believe the analytics of Pro Football Focus, is one of the more dynamic defensive tackles in the league. Carlos Dunlap still looks capable of being a dynamic edge rusher. I think Quandre Diggs is a dynamically underrated free safety.
Not one of these guys is the defensive weapon play-maker Jamal Adams is.
Adams is poised to be the straw that stirs the drink of the ’86 Bears style defense with Pete Carroll is transitioning towards in Seattle. Now, more than ever, it will require versatility at all three levels of the defense, and Adams is poised to be the king pin of that versatility.
Expect Seattle to pressure in more varied ways, from linebacker to safety and probably even corner. There’s a reason why they are looking at pass rushing defensive end types at strong side backer instead of bringing back KJ Wright. They want to be able to dial up pressures from multiple positions and ideally, if they have enough pass rush savvy on the field, it will be the offense’s job to guess where the extra pressure might come from.
The fact that they brought in more veteran pass rushing defensive linemen this year means that they don’t intend to always send extra. Ideally, they can show blitz and end up playing coverage. Seattle wants to play a game of rushing with four, sending more if they need to, but always showing pressure looks for which they can choose to either send extra or not.
With the right personnel, this can be a very intimidating style of defense to play against. With all respects to the Legion Of Boom, the ’86 Bears Defense was a very intimidating defense to watch, and if you are too young to have been around, go look it up. Watch the Super Bowl they played in against the Patriots.
There will be voices out there that will say that Pete Carroll is an ancient coach who wants to rekindle an ancient defense, but these assertions are nonsensical poppycock, in my views. That style of defense flourished in the nineties in Philadelphia when its architect, Buddy Ryan, brought it there. It flourished in New York some years back when his son, Rex Ryan, ran his 3-4 version of it, and he made the Jets relevant for a quick spell (and nobody else has since).
Bring it on, Pete!
Pete Carroll is about to drink your milkshake bigly
The NFL is an evolving league. This is a statement of truth, but I think there is an even more specific statement of truth out there. The NFL is an evolving and recycling league.
American football has been on this planet for a long time. It’s gone through a lot of different incarnations and I think it will continue such a coarse.
Kyle Shanahan gets a lot of credit in San Francisco by running this exotic run first offense that will likely be a new trend, but that offense has been coached since the 1980’s by his dad. Why is he considered through the media as being this innovative genius? Maybe because he’s young and fresh faced along with being a smart football coach.
Player safety will also be a factor that fuel change. As athletes continue to become bigger, stronger, and faster, and head injuries become more of a concern with parents, and for the game to survive and dominate such as it has, it will continue to evolve into something that allows it to thrive (much like how a dangerous virus will change to survive and thrive during a massive pandemic if the vast majority of the human population doesn’t vaccinate against it).
Pete Carroll’s 4-3 cover three style zone defense can physically take a toll on its own defenders. I’ve noted it here before. Recall want happened to the Legion of Boom players in 2017. Look what happened in San Fransisco last year with their version of it and how many of their players dropped like flies.
But let’s go back to, Pete Carroll.
There are loud critics of Pete Carroll who’s voices grow loader each year that the team doesn’t get back to the Super Bowl, even though he annually coaches them into the playoffs. From their perspective, Russell Wilson is the show, and Pete needs to step aside to let him cook even though, yearly, Russell Wilson is prone to have a slump at some point of the season, and has historically been a streaky passer in the league (albeit a dynamically talented one).
A current argument that has been floated out there by Pete Carroll critics is as follows. If Pete can’t coach up a top ten defense anymore, what good is he as a head coach? It’s a reasonable question to ask, I think.
I would answer it by saying that Pete Carroll continues to be a master culture builder, and most players want to play for him. If you question that, why are former Pete Carroll players who left the organization supposedly way on the outs with him so eager to come back after being away a few seasons?
Marshawn Lynch came back when most thought it unlikely. Richard Sherman wants to come back. A season or so ago, Michael Bennett wanted to some back.
Stars from other teams want to play for him. Duane Brown wants to be here and be extended, and wants to be extended again. Carlos Dunlap wants to be here and re-signed to play here for him. Jamal Adams wanted to sign this extension here.
Players want to play for Pete Carroll. That’s an invaluable benefit for Seattle.
And I think Pete Carroll is evolving his defense by recycling a version of this Buddy Ryan ’86 style Bears defense. I’m exciting about that.
This 2021 Seattle Seahawk defense has the makings of being the most versatile hybrid looking defense in the Pete Carroll era and it will be greatly aided a cat who is listed as a strong safety but plays all over the place.
Now more than ever, when the Seahawk defense lines up, your eyes will see something that will make you question whether your are seeing a 4-3 or a 3-4 style defense. The truth is that is will look like something in-between.
Seattle will deploy 4-3 personnel into something that can look like a 3-4 with three defensive linemen bunched in the middle and one defensive end wide to the outside flanked by a large linebacker at the line of scrimmage on the opposite side. If you are a running team like the 49ers, this can be an imposing front. If you are a team that likes to pass out of run looks like the Rams, pressure will be free to come in different ways.
Pete Carroll’s historically superb 4-3 cover three defense, like many other NFL trends, has largely gotten figured out. Eventually, the league discovered how to move the ball against it, and it became a defense that, if it didn’t have enough depth and talent rotating in to play it, you could dink and dunk it to death in games.
That’s been the case in Seattle up until mid season last year (when Carroll shifted into the Bear front). That was the case for Pete Carroll disciples spread through the league, as well, such as Dan Quinn in Atlanta and wherever Gus Bradley and Kris Richard have gone. It’s worked well recently in San Fransisco but let’s see if it actually sustains for long.
For those that are clamoring that Pete has lost his way about making an expense trade for a dynamic blitzing safety, instead of hanging onto his traditional defense, he drinks your milkshake. His defense is changing, and he wants blue chip talent whenever he can get it. If it is a blitzing safety, so be it.
For those such a Colin Cowherd to go on about how Pete Carroll’s ego is getting the best of him in that he will willing to pay a safety these kind of dollars instead of extending Duane Brown and building more around Russell Wilson, I hear you, I see you, but Pete Carroll drinks your milkshake. He drinks it hard.
There is time to now work on Duane Brown, if they choose, but make no mistake, Pete Carroll will always try to win with a top defense. It’s waaaaaay to late in his life to expect him to win like an Andy Reid. He drinks your milkshake.
He probably drinks Russell Wilson’s milkshake from time to time. He definitely drinks Russell Wilson’s baseball agent’s milkshake.
(He ain’t gonna be traded Russell Wilson, y’all! I’m telling ya now. Won’t happen! Milkshake drinky, drinky, yummy, yummy!)
Pete Carroll may concede to more of an uptempo offense for his star quarterback. He might even concede to a more pass to run ratio with Russ and be more willing to get him more weapons. But Pete Carroll will never ever concede his defense for the sake of his offense.
And bravo for that.
Jamal Adams is a great football player. He’s a rare defensive weapon that Seattle now has for the next five seasons.
And if you don’t like that, Pete Carroll drinks your milkshake.
Go Hawks and keep a sharp eye out for a new podcast we will be eventually starting up. It should be fun!