clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Reading the stats to understand the Seahawks

New, comments

The Seattle Seahawks went through a transition very similar to what the Colts worked through this past off-season. Their Hall of Fame bound head coach Mike Holmgren resigned from his job, passing the head coaching responsibilities on to his chosen successor: Jim Mora Jr. Mora Jr. was the Assistant Head Coach under Holmgren, just as Jim Caldwell was the Assistant (later, Associate) Head Coach under Tony Dungy. Mora Jr. is also the son of the man who preceded Tony Dungy as Colts head coach, Jim Mora Sr.

When Jim Mora Jr. took over the Seahawks, he started making his mark on the team much like Jim Caldwell did with our Colts. They brought in a new defensive coordinator, Gus Bradley, who had spent the past three seasons working for Monte Kiffin and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Cadlwell made a similar move, replacing longtime defensive coordinator Ron Meeks with Larry Coyer, who worked with Bradley on Kiffin's staff last year in Tampa Bay. Once in Seattle, Bradley began installing a Tampa-2 style defense for the Seahawks after four years of blitz-style attacking defense from former-coordinator John Marshall.

Marshall was not retained because the 2008 Seahawks defense was a clinic on how not to win in the NFL.

Seattle's pass defense last season was the worst in the entire league. Seattle ranked 32 overall in pass defense, surrendering 259 yards a game, 7.7 yards a completion, and and astounding 25 passing TDs. QBs averaged a rating of 96 against the sea birds, and completed 64% of their passes for well over 4,000 yards.They also surrendered 11 passing plays of 40 yards or more.

Overall in 2008, the Seattle defense defense surrendered 24 points per game, ranked 25th overall in the NFL.

Pass defense like this is why the Seahawks only won four games in 2008. Though injuries and other factors played into Seattle's pass defense woes, you must still stop the pass to win in this league, even more so than the run. If you can't, you might as well not even take the field on Sunday.

Since the shift from a more blitz-happy defense to the Tampa-2, the Seahawks have surrendered an average of only 16 points per game. They have 9 sacks already (ranked 5th in the league), and only given up 1 pass play of over 40 yards. While their run defense has been a little sketchy, giving up 139 yards a game, the defense overall is conforming to classic Tampa-2 principles: Keep scoring low, don't give up big plays, and get to the QB with your front four. The Seahawks also rank high in DVOA and DAVE, with an impressive 9th overall ranking in pass defense.

Yet, despite the improvement is very key areas on defense, there is a definite and tangible lack of enthusiasm from Seahawks fans.  For many, this game against our Colts is a strong test to see if their defense is indeed "for real." An opening week shutout of the St. Louis Rams is Seattle's only win thus far. Since then, they've been dominated by the 49ers and lost a heartbreaker last week against the Bears. However, in both their losses, it seems it was the offense's inability to generate points that did in the Seahawks. Part of the reason for this has been the health of their QB, Matt Hasselbeck, who broke a rib in the 49ers game two weeks ago.

Much like the Arizona Cardinals last week, this is an intriguing match-up for the Colts. The Seahawks run a West Coast-style offense, with slants and short passes getting more emphasis than running the ball (even though Seattle is averaging a respectable 112 yards a game on the ground with a 4.0 yards-per-carry average). With Colts defensive tornado Dwight Freeney likely out for this game, it will be interesting to see is the Seahawks single block the Colts DEs when they need to throw.