Pete Carroll apparently has given recently promoted DC Clint Hurtt carte blanche to remake Seattle’s defense in Vic Fangio’s image – and it certainly sounds like Hurtt knows what he needs to do.
Among his revelations in his first appearance as DC, Hurtt said the Seahawks are at least partly changing their scheme from Carroll’s long-favored Cover 3, they will be more aggressive in both the pass rush and coverage, and Jamal Adams will be used closer to the line of scrimmage (as we all know he should be). Hurtt also expects new/old sidekick Sean “Doc” Desai to help with quick in-game adjustments.
The result should be fewer D-linemen dropping, fewer open zones, more man, more blitzing, more turnovers — and better defense.
A look at what is changing and what Hurtt said about the changes:
What is changing: The Hawks are going to blitz more – but “not something crazy,” Hurtt said — and they will alter their coverages to be less zone. In other words, they are going to attack.
What Hurtt said: “One thing that is going to be significantly different this year is we are going to be aggressive.”
What is changing: The Hawks are going to use multiple fronts, incorporating Fangio’s 3-4 concepts, and they are moving to more man concepts, away from the staid Cover 3 that surrenders tons of yards in the middle of the field.
What Hurtt said: “The 3-4 system is something that I’ve really embraced and obviously Vic Fangio is a big influence. … There’s going to be some element of that. I will say we’re going to be multiple. … You have to adjust along the way, and sometimes that means you have to adjust your scheme. That’s where we’re going into a transition right now. We’re learning and adapting for where we’ve been. Obviously with my background, Sean, Karl Scott, the new guys that have come in here, we’re adjusting some things. We’re going to be changing.”
What is changing: Desai, who worked with Hurtt in Chicago under Fangio, is the new associate head coach. He knows secondary play and will be the one overseeing the switch from a Cover 3. He also brings an apparent penchant for in-game adjustments.
What Hurtt said: “You want someone who’s really strong and … that’s opposite of you (in positional focus — DB vs. DL). … I worked with (Desai) for three years in Chicago, so we already had a great relationship. We always spoke all the time. So, when the opportunity came for us to have him with us, it was a no-brainer. … Great leaders understand how to be able to delegate and trust those that you’re working with to help you put things together for ultimate success. So, to be able to get him here was a home run. I appreciate Pete and John (Schneider) getting that done.”
The pass rush
What is changing: No more defensive linemen dropping into coverage. Carlos Dunlap & Co. will be getting after the quarterback much more in 2022.
What Hurtt said: “I don’t want to see big guys walking backwards. So that should be a really quick answer so everybody understands that. The last thing I want to be doing; I’m not going backwards. I want to be going forward. Now, with that being said, are there going to be certain packages and certain situations where you could see a guy dropped on occasion? Yes. But you have to understand where schematically that plays in with trying to create issues for the QB. But the biggest thing is those guys going forward. So, I want to make sure everybody understands: Guys will be attacking a lot more going up field and not working on backpedaling, I can promise you that.”
What is changing: Everyone agrees using Adams in deep coverage is a waste. Former Seattle linebackers Lofa Tatupu and K.J. Wright both said he needs to play in the box and be around the football. Expect more of that.
What Hurtt said: “Jamal is still a difference maker. How we use him, that’s going to be on me. It’s our responsibility — my responsibility — to make sure we put him in positions so he can be at his very best, and we know how great he is at doing that. (In 2021) we put him in situations that really was not his background, so you have to give him some leeway in understanding that he was in a new world last year with some of the things he was doing, playing a quarter safety or half field safety and the adjustments he had to make along the way. And he really improved in that aspect throughout the course of the season. He’s going to continue to get better, and obviously, there’s multiple things he’s got to be able to do, so the quarterback can’t always peg him for just being one particular type of way.”