RENTON — The Seahawks defense heads into Sunday’s game against Dallas knowing the high-wire act of the first two weeks — when it allowed more total yards (970) and passing yards (831) than any team in the NFL — isn’t a sustainable recipe for success.
“We’re going to get better,’’ promised Seahawks safety Jamal Adams when he talked to the media via Zoom on Thursday. “We’re striving for that.’’
For Adams and another key member of the secondary — cornerback Shaquill Griffin — there’s personal pride riding on Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, as well.
Adams grew up in Lewisville, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, where he was never a fan of the Cowboys because his father, George, played running back for the Giants.
But he still has lots of connections there and said he’s heard this week that the word in Dallas is that “I’m struggling in coverage.’’
Pressed on who said that, Adams laughed and said he couldn’t share that information other than to indicate he got it from a chat thread with a few friends and his brother in Dallas.
“What goes on in Dallas, it always comes back to me,’’ Adams said. “I always find out the scoop. So just a little edge, you know, a little chip on my shoulder.’’
Griffin said the sight of the Cowboys reminds him of what might have been his worst NFL moment when he was picked on repeatedly by Dallas in a 2018 wild-card playoff loss to the Cowboys.
Griffin, who was dealing with a sore ankle, was targeted 13 times and allowed eight receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown in his first season playing left cornerback after playing the right side as a rookie.
“I had a bad taste in my mouth,’’ Griffin said Thursday via Zoom. “No one wants to leave the season after a game like that.’’
Griffin said that game lingered in his mind the following offseason when he lost about 12 pounds and refined his game and bounced back in 2019 and was named a Pro Bowl alternate and ended up playing in the game.
Sunday, he expects the Cowboys to target him again with some of the same looks that proved successful in the playoff game (offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, a Prosser native, was the quarterback coach that year and remained on the staff of new coach Mike McCarthy).
“I saw a lot of plays that I’m expecting to see coming back from 2018,’’ Griffin said. “So I’m excited to face them again. I was dealing with a couple of injuries then. But I’ll definitely be ready now. So I’m excited about that.’’
Adams knows the talk of the secondary needing to improve isn’t baseless, as the numbers show well.
In fact, according to Pro Football Reference, three Seahawks cornerbacks are among the top four in giving up the most yards against in the NFL: Quinton Dunbar (first, 212), Adams (second, 199) and Griffin (tied for fourth, 168).
According to PFR, Adams was targeted eight times against the Patriots and allowed seven receptions for 156 yards. That included a 49-yarder from Cam Newton to Julian Edelman in the third quarter.
Thursday, Adams took full blame for the play.
“He (Newton) scrambled and he kind of stepped up in the pocket and I took my eyes off him and he got behind me,’’ Adams said. “Listen, things like that happen and you know I’m man enough to admit that. It’s part of the game. I’m not perfect. No one’s perfect. That’s the good thing about our game is that we can always get better the next week.’’
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said earlier this week that not having Quandre Diggs patrolling the back end — he was ejected late in the first quarter for a helmet-to-helmet hit — disrupted the communication and pre-snap aligning of the back end.
Adams acknowledged the loss of Diggs was significant and said he told him this week “if he is ejected again, I’m going to delete his number and unfollow him on Instagram and Twitter. So if he leaves us out there to dry again, we’re going to have problems.’’
Griffin cited that the Patriots and Falcons accumulated a lot of yards playing catch-up in the second half (Newton threw for 312 yards in the second half and 176 in the fourth quarter).
“I feel like a lot of the leaking yards that we’re given up towards the end is because we’re playing a little soft,’’ Griffin said. “Because we’re getting a little more comfortable because we have this lead.’’
Griffin said the defense has talked this week of the need to stay focused throughout the game.
“That’s the part that we as a defense have been speaking upon,’’ Griffin said. “And we’re going to change that. If we want to win we’ve got to start aggressive, start fast and we’ve got to finish the same way. I feel like we had an issue with that last year and that’s something that we want to try to fix and work on early during the season.’’
As the defense doesn’t needs reminding this week it was a yard away from almost blowing a historic performance from quarterback Russell Wilson.
“The offensive guys are playing amazing,’’ Griffin said. “So we’ve just got to play our role, play our part.’’