The Elephant in the Locker Room: The Defense’s Greatest Strength


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By Greg Wright

I’ve gotta say that my analyses have been pretty much on the mark this season… but I honestly thought I might have gone a bridge too far, as they say, last week. Predicting that opposing coaches would be fired after playing the Hawks? Insane! 

Well, not so much. And I really feel kind of bad for Minnesota’s OC John DeFilippo, who lost his job the day after the Vikings got pummeled by Seattle on Monday Night Football. DeFilippo had already been on tenterhooks with head coach Mike Zimmer, but still… nearly being shut out with all the weapons he had at his disposal was just too much. And now the national press is lauding Seattle’s defense as a force to be reckoned with. Especially after a game in which Seattle dominated the opposition while QB Russell Wilson had one of the worst games of his career.

And so we come to this week’s elephant in the locker room.

Seattle’s defense is not having the success it is because it is one of the best in the league.

The D is dominating because Seattle has one of the best offenses in the league.

Say what?

Yes, I know where Seattle’s offense ranks. 22nd in total offense. 30th in passing offense. 20th in first downs.

But Seattle is number 1 in one key team stat: rushing.

And that yields one other extremely important result: controlling the tempo of the game. Right now, Seattle is 8th in the league in the crucial time-of-possession battle, and the offensive has only gotten in a groove the last few weeks.

Remember how inept the offense has been the last three years? How often they went 3-and-out in the first halves of games? How looooonnnnngggggg it had been since they actually scored on an opening drive?

Before this season, do you remember the last time Seattle’s offense took 8 or 9 minutes off the game clock on a single drive? Or took control of the 4th quarter?

As fans, we do develop awfully short memories. And that’s what writers like me are here for. To jog your memory.

To tell you: pay attention to this offense, and the way it can control the clock even when Wilson is having an off day with his arm.

And think about how rested and potent a defense can be when it’s not on the field for the better part of the first half of the game.

Seattle’s defense is pretty darned sound. But it can be ferocious when it is fresh.

Thank Wilson, Carson, Britt, and Co. for that. And the coaching staff. This is all by design.

Remember how the formula worked in 2012 and 2013 and 2014? Oh! That’s right. And we thought that was all about Marshawn. Not.



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