Jarran Reed received a standing ovation during Monday’s team meeting, his first since returning to the VMAC from his six-game suspension. But that’s the extent of the honeymoon welcome back period for Reed’s return to the Seattle Seahawks active roster. That’s because Seattle desperately needs Reed to jumpstart its struggling pass rush.
Reed spoke to reporters on Wednesday and covered the standard clichés of needing to stay within himself and do his job. But he also made it clear that he expects to be thrown right into the fire on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
“I’m fully game ready,” Reed said confidently. “I worked my tail off. Trust me, I’m ready.”
Reed rejoins a Seahawks team that fared remarkably well in his absence, going 5-1 in the first month-and-a-half of the season. But Seattle’s pass rush ranks among the league’s worst. The Seahawks have just 10 sacks through six games. Only five teams have fewer, two of which have played one less game. Seattle’s last sack came in Week 4, and the Seahawks failed to hit Baker Mayfield once last Sunday.
“It hasn’t been very productive for sacks. I wish we had more. We’d like to have more,” Carroll said. “We’re a work in progress. We’re not a finished product yet.”
Al Woods has never been known as a pass rusher and Poona Ford hasn’t taken a step forward in that regard. Reed’s return gives Seattle a much-needed interior pass rush presence. His impact should have a trickle-down effect throughout the entire defense, but Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah should be the primary benefactors.
Both are stuck on just one sack, but Clowney has been easily the more impressive of the two despite seeing more double teams than any other edge defender in the NFL.
“Jadeveon has been all around the quarterback,” Carroll said. “His pressure numbers are good. He’s been close. He could have had four or five already. I think you’ll see a difference now that J. Reed is back. I think the complement that he brings, not just what he’ll do but how he’ll affect the other guys.”
Ansah, strictly from a pass rushing standpoint, has been underwhelming. Carroll, especially in terms of the coach’s vernacular, was fairly critical of Ansah’s first four games in Seattle.
“He hasn’t gotten free like we would hope,” Carroll said. “He’s still working at it and getting his timing down. I can’t imagine him not continuing to improve and find it.”
Reed hopes he’ll be able to benefit from the presence of Ansah and Clowney as well. It will be critical for the three of them to work in unison if Seattle’s pass rush is going to take a step forward.
“I feel like we all can help each other. We’re going to really work on that and pick it up these next few weeks.”
Reed, who posted 10.5 sacks in 2018, watched the first six games from his home. He wasn’t allowed to contact anyone within the team during his suspension. So he paced around his house while his teammates battled their way to a 5-1 start.
Now that he’s allowed back in the building, Reed hopes he’ll never have to watch another Seahawks game on TV.
“Never again,” Reed said. “I’m ready to get back and play.”