It’s time for part three of our bold prediction series as we continue to preview the Seahawks 2020 season. These predictions were sent in by fans via Twitter. I picked the five best and discussed each with Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.
We decided whether or not we are believers for all five takes.
Part 1: Russell Wilson will win his first MVP award in 2020.
Part 2: The Seahawks will beat the 49ers twice this season.
Part 3: The Seahawks defense will record 40 sacks in 2020.
Seattle’s pass rush was abysmal in 2019. You know this and are probably sick of hearing about how the Seahawks tied for second-to-last with just 28 sacks. You’re probably also frustrated by the team’s inability (or unwillingness to this point) to pony up and pay a big-ticket edge rusher.
Jadeveon Clowney remains a free agent. The same goes for Markus Golden and Everson Griffen.
So while the Seahawks did address the defensive line, both in free agency and in the draft, have they done enough to get to the 40 sack milestone? Bob and I decided “yay” or “nay.”
“I’m going to sell that, too. I think their pass rush will be better even if they don’t make another significant move – which I still think they’ll make some kind of move. They’re not the biggest blitzing team in the world, which I know is another thing that drives fans crazy. They’ve always been very selective about it, and it’s always been part of Pete’s philosophy to try and not give up the big play and try to keep things in front of them. It’s to win each drive rather than turn every play into a boom or bust kind of thing.”
Condotta added that Seattle rarely put up monster sack numbers even in the height of the “Legion of Boom” era. The Seahawks, despite having the top defense in the NFL from 2012-15, only topped 40 sacks in 2014 (44).
“I think an increase of 12 seems like a lot. I’ve sort of thought all along they would get to the mid- to high-30s kind of range.”
I’ll come clean: I initially said this would happen when Bob and I discussed the topic on the Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast. However, after further consideration, I just don’t see it. I don’t think 40 is a ridiculous number as 18 teams reached that mark in 2019, but it feels like a big jump from a team that (to this point) doesn’t have a premier edge rusher and, as Bob pointed out, isn’t known for its innovative pressure packages.
There aren’t many top-level pass rushes void of a singular elite figure. The Seahawks “sum of the parts” approach features massively improved depth and overall quality, but, again, it’s hard to figure out where the 40 sacks are going to come from.
I think Bruce Irvin (8.5) and Benson Mayowa (7.0) will have a hard time getting back to their 2019 totals. Was Jarran Reed’s 10.5-sack season in 2018 a fluke or was that replicable production? I don’t think we know for sure. Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson might have a hard time contributing right out of the gate given their lack of an offseason program.
Here’s a conservative breakdown of how things could end up:
Reed – 6.5
Irvin – 6
Rasheem Green – 5.5
Mayowa – 5
Darrell Taylor – 4
Alton Robinson – 2
Shaquem Griffin – 2
Other – 6.5
Total – 37.5
Again, I don’t think 40 sacks is completely out of the question, but it’s hard to bank on at this point. Of course, that all changes if Seattle were to sign Clowney, Griffen or Golden.