For Seattle Seahawks fans, the 2020 team has been both exhilarating and disorienting. For all those who have been begging for head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to “let Russ cook,” the season has been exhilarating. Quarterback Russell Wilson leads the league in touchdown passes with 22 and is tenth in the league in passing yards with 1,774 behind several QBs who have yet to have a bye week as Wilson has. But for those fans who have shared an identity with the Seahawks as a defensive force, this team has been disorienting to say the least.
According to DVOA (Defense adjusted Value Over Average) at Football Outsiders, the Seahawks defense ranks 28thin the league, ahead of just Houston, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Jacksonville. To make matters worse in the pass heavy game as it exists today, that 28th overall ranking is bolstered by a run stopping component that ranks 9th in DVOA. It’s unclear whether the squad’s top third of the league run defense is a result of skill or whether it is a result of opponents rarely implementing the run game in favor of airing it out against a Seahawks defense that ranks 30th in the NFL in DVOA against the pass.
Through six games the Seahawks have given up the fourth most yards in the league with 2,875. All three teams above them in the yardage yielded standings have played seven games. The Seahawks defense is allowing 479.2 yards per game, the most in the NFL. And opposing quarterbacks are torching the Seahawks for 386.7 yards a game, the highest in the league. With such success through the air, why run the ball? To the Seahawks “credit” the 172 points allowed is “only” the fourth worse among teams who have played only six games. (That’s called sarcasm). In other words, the 2020 Seattle Seahawks are not your father’s legion of boom.
In an effort to bolster the defense and try too get more pressure on the quarterback, the Seahawks traded offensive lineman B.J. Finney and a seventh round draft pick to the Cincinnati Bengals for the Bengals career sack leader, two-time pro bowler 31 year old Carlos Dunlap. Dunlap had raised eyebrows on social media earlier in the week when he listed his house in the Cincinnati suburbs and offered to sell it “furnished or unfurnished.” Dunlap was clearly ready to get out of town.
Despite Dunlap’s career 82.5 sacks, in 2020 through seven games he has 1 sack and 13 solo tackles. He has assisted on another 5 tackles, with 2 for losses. Dunlap has hit the QB a mere 4 times this season, way off even his age 30 pace of 21 over a full season. The jury is still out on whether Dunlap will make much impact on the abysmal Seahawks defense. Will he be rejuvenated by a change of scenery or will he simply get sticker shock to see how much higher Seattle real estate prices are than Cincinnati, Ohio?