RENTON, Wash. – The biggest concern about the Seattle Seahawks’ overhauled defense entering the season was probably the pass rush.
The worries proved to be true in the season opener when the Seahawks generated just one sack and very little pressure against a quarterback who mostly sat in the pocket.
The challenge in Week 2 will be different with the Seahawks facing the mobility of second-year Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, but the need to wreak at least some havoc in the backfield remains the same.
“Anytime you play you want to get the quarterback off the spot. Anytime you end up with one sack, everyone would like to have three or four,” Seattle defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said. “It’s something certainly we want to get better at. … No question you want more pressure.”
Seattle’s pass rush was perhaps a bigger worry going into the season than any of the changes that took place in its secondary. The Seahawks played most of last season without Cliff Avril due to a neck injury but still had Michael Bennett teaming with Frank Clark and finding success. Seattle finished last season 13th in the league with 39 sacks and was in the middle of the pack in the league rankings on the percentage of dropbacks that resulted in a sack. They were decent numbers considering the changes Seattle went through midseason with the loss of one of their top pass rushers in Avril.
The overhaul in the offseason left most of the burden on Clark as really the only proven pass rusher on the roster. Avril hasn’t completely shut the door on playing again, but it seems unlikely. Bennett was traded to Philadelphia as part of Seattle’s changes.
The opener against Denver showed there is still plenty to figure out.
Clark had Seattle’s lone sack, but just one of the five quarterback hits on Case Keenum. Seattle rarely brought pressure and the front four was unable to generate enough heat to make Keenum uncomfortable.
“We got stuck on the line of scrimmage on play passes and was really the part that was really disappointing that we didn’t respond better to get into our pass-rush mode,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “It just happened. That’s one phase of it and we would have liked to have got off on the edge a little better than we did. It’s just stuff we’ve got to keep working on.”
Getting Dion Jordan on the field more would be a big boost for Seattle. Jordan was limited to just 15 plays in the opener after missing all of training camp with a lower leg injury. Jordan was only activated to from the physically unable to perform list when Seattle made its final cuts, and his inclusion in Week 1 was a bit of a surprise considering the time he missed.
“Not having those reps for a while I was definitely a little rusty but other than that I physically felt really good,” Jordan said.
Jordan flashed late last season when he finally was healthy enough to get back on the field. He had four sacks in five games last season and was seen as a major piece of the pass rush moving forward. Jordan said he should be on the field more considering the way he felt coming out of the opener.
“We’ve got to do a better job this week of sticking to our rush plan, sticking to it, and executing,” Jordan said. “Understanding that certain quarterbacks and (offensive coordinators), they’re going to try and get the ball out quick and block them up with eight guys in there so we can’t get to them. We have to understand that and find a way around it.”
NOTES: Carroll didn’t have updates on the timelines for three injured players: WR Doug Baldwin (knee), LB K.J. Wright (knee surgery) and G D.J. Fluker (hamstring). None of the three participated in practice Thursday. … LB Bobby Wagner (groin) and rookie CB Tre Flowers (hamstring) also sat out practice.
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