The Seahawks defense has been drastically underwhelming through three games. We all know that. The pass rush has struggled to finish plays and the secondary has been a mess.
In Chris Simms’ weekly chat with NBC Sports Northwest, he explained that Seattle’s recipe for winning is sustainable. It’s possible for the defense to make just enough clutch plays while the offense simply scores more points than anybody else can keep up with.
However, there’s one aspect of Seattle’s defense that drives him nuts.
“The dumbest thing Seattle does in my opinion, other than being a little predictable at times, is the stupid five-man rushes,” Simms said. “It bothers the crap out of me.”
Simms recalled Cowboys receiver Cedrick Wilson’s first of two touchdowns against the Seahawks in Week 3, a 40-yard catch-and-run on a shallow cross that he took to the house. Wilson caught the pass against K.J. Wright and had a wide open field in front of him despite it being such a short completion from an air yards standpoint.
“If you rushed four, the middle linebacker would have been there and you wouldn’t have let him run free across the middle of the field,” Simms said. “Or how many short shallow crosses (have they allowed)? I know they have a limited pass rush, I get that, but they’re not getting there with five, either.”
Seattle ranks seventh in the NFL in blitz rate at 36.4%. Part of the equation is taking advantage of Jamal Adams’ ability as a pass rusher. However, some of the blitzing is out of necessity because the Seahawks have struggled to get home with a four-man rush.
In Simms’ opinion, those five-man pressures have done more harm than good and have contributed to the historically bad start from Seattle’s pass defense. No team has ever allowed more passing yards through three games than the Seahawks (1,292). Seattle also leads the league in pass plays allowed of 20+ yards (18) and 40+ yards (6).
“Use the extra guy to take away some of the easy completions in the pass game,” Simms said. “I know they’re going to blitz at times. They’ve got to. I get that. But it’s too much of the five-man rush where I sit there and go, ‘What’s the point? I don’t understand.’ It leaves a huge gap in your pass coverage and never gets to the quarterback. Never. And they’re one of the league leaders in five-man rushes.”
Pete Carroll said he expects the pass defense to tighten up significantly over the next few weeks. Next up for Seattle is a road game against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins on Sunday.