Nicholas Sarysz, Section Editor
In the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks selected cornerback Tre Flowers from Oklahoma State University. In his second season in the NFL, he established himself as a bigger joke then the chicken that you always hear about crossing the road. When analyzing his ability to defend the pass in zone coverage, as compared to man to man, the conclusion can be drawn that he is terrible at both. He is the only NFL player to have an overall Madden rating at least 20 points higher than his actual skillset proves.
Although his last name is Flowers, he has been nothing but a thorn for the Seahawks secondary. He has had the opportunity to play significant time, lining up against receivers in 30 games during his first two seasons. His tackle numbers were impressive, but that was simply because opposing quarterback threw the ball his way an immense amount of times because they knew it would be an easy catch for their receivers. In total, he has only intercepted the ball three times, and successfully defended a total of 14 passes.
Tre Flowers isn’t the only Seahawks cornerback with a history of poor performance, as Pro-Bowler Shaquill Griffin has also been a disappointing pass defender throughout his entire career. Earlier this season, Griffin told ESPN that although he felt overpressured to be “great,” his confidence has been restored, and he claimed to be a better cornerback than he was before. This proved to be false, as Griffin couldn’t even manage to get an interception throughout the entire season. The NFL likely put him in the Pro Bowl for publicity reasons, as he was replacing the vacancy of cornerback Richard Sherman, just as he is expected to in Seattle.
Among the worst of all the Seahawks cornerbacks the Seattle Seahawks is Ugo Amadi. He has played a total of 16 games in his rookie season, and successfully defended zero of the passes thrown against him. The only notable thing Amadi did was allow a thirty-yard completion on a third down during the divisional round.
It’s not just the cornerbacks that struggled this year, for strong safety Bradley McDougald has had his lowest tackling numbers since 2014, having a total of just 70 combined tackles on the entire season. Rookie Safety Marquise Blair only successfully defended one pass thrown against him during the season, despite playing in 14 games. Although Free Safety Tedric Thompson was able to snag two interceptions, he was placed on Injured Reserve during week nine, and never saw the field the rest of the season.
The secondary doesn’t look entirely doomed for the future. During the middle of the season, the Seattle Seahawks traded for Detroit Lions safety Quandre Diggs. Although he struggled with injury towards the end of the year, he picked off three passes and returned one for a 99-yard touchdown.
In total, the Seattle Seahawks secondary allowed 4,223 total passing yards during the regular season. This was over 1,400 yards more than the “Legion of Boom” allowed during their 2013 Super Bowl Season. Ever since the trio of Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and Earl Thomas left, the team’s defensive performance declined at an exponential rate.
Pete Carroll’s coaching philosophy has remained the same throughout his nine years of coaching the Seattle Seahawks, and I think that is immensely hurting their defense. In an interview with Bleacher Report, Carroll explained that he built his coaching philosophy with sports psychologist Michael Gervais, Ph. D., who claims, “We see every day as an opportunity to compete and be the best version of yourself. Being more present on a daily basis as you engage with whatever you do alongside society as a whole. Relentlessly competing to be your best self is an extremely rewarding process…It’s not this ugly competitive spirit, it really is a rewarding experience.”
With the current roster the Seahawks are working with, it is not a matter of getting these players to be the best versions of themselves, but a matter of getting better players. Although some players are still in the beginning stages of their career, they have had multiple chances to prove themselves in starting roles. This doesn’t mean that the Seahawks should cut all of their young secondary, rather that they should sign players that are better fit for a starting role. This would allow their younger players, such as Flowers, a little more time to bloom.
According to SportsTrac, the Seattle Seahawks have spent approximately $16 million on their secondary this season, which, in proportion to their total salary cap, ranks fourth lowest in the entire NFL. The Seahawks have an estimated total of over $68 million of cap space to work with this offseason, which is $21 million more than they spent on their entire defense this year, meaning that the future of this team now lies in the hands of General Manager John Schneider, who has already proved to be successful in the past.