With the first game of the preseason in the books for the Seahawks, it’s time to take a good look at their one true fantasy gem, the defense. Though it’s a little presumptuous to assume that the Seahawks are going to have one of the league’s top tier defenses, they’re a sure lock for high fantasy performance.
2011 Stats: 303 points allowed, 33 sacks, 1 safety, 22 INTs, 9 fumble recoveries, 5 TDs, 6 blocked kicks, 1,606 return yards.
Since Carroll grabbed the reigns of the Seahawks two seasons ago, he has done almost everything possible to reshaped this defense. The goal has been to make a defense that would be an NFL powerhouse. It’s not optimism to say they’re on their way.
The defensive line had a respectable 2011 season allowing only 10 rushing touchdowns and averaging 112 rushing yards allowed per game. The line was faulted, rightly so, with not getting enough pressure on the QB throughout last season but look for Bruce Irvin to help add that pressure. The Seahawks retained all their key linemen and added a rookie whose primary job will be get the QB. This line will dominate early and consistently.
The linebackers are the weakest portion of the Seattle D but showed amazing progress towards the end of last season. Leroy Hill was back to full speed and ended the season with 86 tackles and 4 sacks. K.J. Wright looked like a seasoned veteran by the close of 2011 finishing his rookie season with a respectable 65 tackles and 2 sacks. Wright is a tall linebacker at 6’4″ so expect his sophomore season to be filled with tackles and a handful of interceptions. Also, keep an eye on the two ILB’s taken in the draft, Bobby Wagner and Korey Toomer. Pete Carroll is a defensive minded coach and has drafted amazing defensive talent in his two years in Seattle. Wagner is already turning heads after his first preseason game. It looks as if Carroll is forming a solid group with plenty of depth.
The Seattle secondary is already considered to be a top tier unit throughout the NFL. But here’s a fun fact: without Marcus Trufant’s 10 years of experience the average tenure of this secondary is a scant 3 years. Trufant was once, before he injured his back, one of the best CB’s in the NFL. It’s clear that he’s doing an amazing job of mentoring this next generation. Rookie Brandon Browner might have had his stretches of pass interference calls last year but he still racked up 54 tackles and 6 interceptions. And Earl Thomas, a draft pick dynamo, was only 2 tackles short of a 100 and grabbed 2 picks as well. The two INT’s against the Titians are only a glimpse of things to come.
There’s one other point to consider concerning the Seahawks’ defense; the offense. It wasn’t your imagination if you thought their defense was on the field longer than usual last year. According to teamrankings.com, the Seattle defense was on the field almost 53 percent of the time. That ranks 28th overall with only the Rams, the Cardinals, the Titans, and the Colts with defenses that stayed on the field longer. Compare that 53 percent with Pittsburgh whose defense was on the field only 45 percent of the time. If Flynn is the fix to the anemic offense and can give the defense the rest they need with sustained drives, the defense production will increase dramatically.
Final Verdict: When it’s time to draft a defense, usually around the 6th round, the Seahawks are well worth a first look.