The Elephant in the Locker Room: About That Pass Rush


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By Greg Wright

Prepare to hear two things non-stop tonight.

First, the thing you already know to be true: Seattle’s defense has been ransacked. Of last year’s starters, only three or four are likely to be in the lineup tonight: FS Earl Thomas (who has only been with the team a couple weeks now); RCB Shaquill Griffin, in just his second season as a pro; DE Frank Clark (who is now the lead lineman, but was previously in a rotation with Bennett and Avril); and DT Naz Jones (maybe, depending on the whims of coach Ken Norton, Jr., himself in his first year back with Seattle).

Ouch!

Second: over and over and over, your ears will probably bleed from repetition of thereisnopassrush, thereisnopassrush, whereisthepressure?

The repetition will be justified, in a way, as it was during last week’s close loss to Denver.

Then again, the pass rush really isn’t the issue. It’s the pass coverage.

Rookie Tre Flowers may or may not be in the staring lineup tonight

In past seasons, with a super-solid linebacking corps, Kam and Earl covering centerfield and tight ends, Sherm locking down the left side of the field, and reasonable coverage at right corner and the slot (last season that was  Shaq and Coleman), opposing QBs have had a hard time finding options for getting rid of the ball. That allowed Bennett and Avril to do their disruptive things and put a lot of pressure on passers, with help from their buddies in the trenches.

Well, this year… Yes, certainly, Frank Clark and (Nameless) Company are no substitute for even a gimpy Bennett and Avril. But holy cow! Look at what QBs are going be to able to make happen downfield. This week, the entire linebacking corps is fresh off the waiver wire–and one of our starters will have been with the team less than a week! Shaq is playing the left side of the field instead of the right; and of the remaining dbs, only Thomas has been with the team for more than 17 games. Sheesh. Yikes.

In short: the D is going to stretched in Chicago. The hope will hinge on turnovers and the bounce of the ball more than on pass rush… because coverage is going to be a problem. A big problem.

Just remember: it’s not just the pass rush that’s weak. It’s the whole D. First things first.

There’s always some key issue that’s getting glossed over. It’s the elephant in the locker room, if you will, and gosh darn if I’ll let that ride. 


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