When the Seattle Seahawks lined up on defense in base personnel last season under defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, it was predominantly in a 4-3 formation.
This year it will be more of the same…kinda.
The Seahawks have been running more and more 3-4 looks out of base personnel at training camp, a strategy that could be used more often by new defensive coordinator for a multitude of reasons. In fact, Quinn has a history of switching between 4-3 and 3-4 looks in his time as defensive coordinator at University of Florida.
“What defense Florida decided to play was based on the offensive personnel groupings, down and distance, and style of play of the other teams. This multiplicity is something that he may implement on the Seahawks this season,” says Aaron Sims at FieldGulls.com.
The Seahawks won’t be completely overhauling their defensive scheme, such as the Saints or Cowboys have done this offseason. But increased 3-4 looks will probably be seen from Seattle’s defense, which could provide a boost to their pass rush; in Seattle’s unique 4-3 over defense, there is usually only one edge rusher on the field at the “Leo” position, while the other defensive end position is taken by Red Bryant, whose main purpose is to stuff the run. Playing out of a 3-4 look would put two potential edge rushers on the field and at the line of scrimmage, one at each OLB position.
The Seahawks already incorporate certain 3-4 concepts into their 4-3 defense, such asking certain defensive linemen to use a two-gapping technique to stop the run instead of going upfield to rush the passer. Therefore, the transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 on certain plays shouldn’t be too complicated for Seattle’s defense, and the main benefit will probably be a more varied pass rush.
The front seven was a problem at times later in the year for the Seahawks. It looks like new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is trying to fix that problem with more varied looks, hence this new wrinkle in Seattle’s defensive scheme.