Seahawks' defensive coordinator said the return of Kam Chancellor definitely helped the Seattle secondary last week.
Seattle defensive coordinator Kris Richard got a Gatorade bath after last Sunday’s win over the Bears, celebrating the first shutout of his young career in charge of the Seahawks’ defense. Seattle beat the Bears 26-0.
A repeat of that feat figures to be trickier Monday night against a Detroit Lions’ team featuring Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.
But there was also no question that the Seattle defense was better in week three than in weeks one and two when it allowed a combined 61 points in losses to Green Bay and St. Louis (admittedly, not all the points the fault of the defense, but the number is what it is on the stat sheet).
And the most obvious reason was the return of strong safety Kam Chancellor.
When he met the media this week, Richard said one of the biggest differences with Chancellor back was its defense over the middle — there’d been a lot of crossing patterns caught on Seattle the first two weeks.
“Ultimately, everyone’s game elevated,” Richard said. “It started in the middle with our safeties and our linebackers, those guys in there filling up spaces, getting to their landmarks and where they have to be on the field. Definitely, you could see it.”
Chancellor played 40 of 50 defensive snaps, with the team intentionally holding him out of part of one series in the first half to make sure he wasn’t overworked in his first game back. But Richard said Chancellor looked as good as ever.
“He was sharp,” Richard said. “It looks like he picked up right where he left off. That was part of the emphasis during the week, we knew we were getting him back, ultimately, we knew the things we had to work on to make sure that he was going to be game ready.”
Expect Chancellor to be able to play as much as the team needs Monday against Detroit.
And there’s also no doubt that the Lions will pose a stiffer test for the Seahawks than did the Bears and backup QB Jiummy Clausen (and also without leading WR Alshon Jeffrey).
Johnson and Tate will provide what might be the toughest one-on-one matchups this season for Seattle cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Cary Williams — and for Williams, maybe his most high-profile assignment in his young Seahawks’ career.
Richard, though, says Williams is ready, having grown acclimated to the Seattle way of doing things, particularly a step-kick technique (explained here) at the line of scrimmage that requires some patience for the cornerbacks.
“He’s grown a lot,” Richard said. “Leaps and bounds. Ultimately, what it comes down to, he’s really grasped a hold of the technique. He’s found a home with it. He’s getting his hands consistently on wide receivers at the line of scrimmage and putting himself in positions to be successful. Again, over the past few games, he’s looked really good covering.”
Williams has said the technique is not one he has done much of in the past.
“It is a big adjustment,” Richard said. “Really, the biggest advantage is the wide receiver making his declaration in the way he’s going. Once he makes a declaration to us, he’s the one confined to timing and spacing. We don’t know where he’s going, so we’re just covering. We’re reactors. Again, once he makes his declaration, it allows us to react.”