Most NFL teams have taken on their share of injuries at this point in the season, and the Seattle Seahawks are no difference. Their defense has taken a beating, with recent losses including cornerback Richard Sherman, strong safety Kam Chancellor, and pass rusher Cliff Avril.
This past week, they lost a shootout to the Atlanta Falcons, but it had more to do with offensive turnovers and special teams miscues. However, the defense has lost a significant step in its secondary. We chatted with Field Gulls editor Kenneth Arthur this week, and naturally the defense was a big question. Here’s what he had to say about where that unit stands heading into Week 12.
I think the main thing about the defense the last few weeks is that it has dominated 3-3.5 quarters and then looked ordinary-to-bad for the rest. Even falling behind 21-7 to the Falcons, most of that was on special teams and turnovers from the offense. One of the problems we're seeing with a Pete Carroll led team is that when the running game disappears, it's harder for Seattle to sustain long drives, keep the defense fresh, and hold on for wins in close games. I think the defense will do its job in shutting down the 49ers, but they might allow a big play or two that we aren't used to seeing from them.
In addition to Sherman being out, rookie Shaquill Griffin will likely also sit out the game. That's the Seahawks starting two cornerbacks and they were a pretty good tandem. Instead you'll see Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell, with Justin Coleman in the slot. That's less good of a combo. Lane was someone they tried to trade a few weeks ago, Maxwell was released by the Dolphins a few weeks before that and only just re-signed in Seattle, and Coleman they traded for just before the season. Bradley McDougald will be the strong safety in place of Chancellor and while he's a good backup, we saw last week that he's no Kam. Frank Clark is starting in place of Cliff Avril and while he can be dominant at times, we honestly haven't heard his name called much in the last couple of months.