Seahawks Insider

Hawks rev up version of “NASCAR” package

Post by Eric Williams on May 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm with 29 Comments »
May 15, 2012 12:00 pm
Bruce Irvin (51), the Seattle Seahawks' top NFL draft pick, tangles with Seahawks tackle Alex Barron, front right, during an NFL football rookie minicamp on Friday, May 11, 2012, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

For Pete Carroll this offseason the idea was simple – add more speed to the team’s pass rush to create more sack opportunities, similar to the way New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell drew up his NASCAR package with four defensive ends on third down, Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka

As pointed out by Pat Kirwan in this article for CBS Sports I linked to yesterday, the Seahawks struggled to get pressure on the passer on third downs with just 12 sacks last season, fourth-worst in the league.

With big bodies like Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane and Alan Branch, the Seahawks have been effective stopping the run the past two years. But they need to give defensive end Chris Clemons some help on passing downs.

The Seahawks believe they have done that by adding Jason Jones in free agency, and drafting Bruce Irvin, Jaye Howard and Greg Scruggs to rush the passer in obvious throwing situations.

Seattle Seahawks' Bruce Irvin pauses after running drills during an NFL football rookie minicamp, Friday, May 11, 2012, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Those young players combine with guys already on the roster like Dexter Davis, Jameson Konz and Pierre Allen to give Seattle several options to bring off the edge.

Add to that mix athletic linebackers like K.J. Wright, Leroy Hill, Korey Toomer and Bobby Wagner rushing in blitzing situations, and Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has an arsenal of new weapons to scheme with in passing situations moving forward.

“We’ve got first and second down players that can rush the passer a little bit,” Seattle defensive line coach Todd Wash said. “Not very many people can run the ball on our first unit. But we went into the draft with an idea that we’ve got to increase our pass rush on first down. And we’ll see if we did it or not.”

Even though many believed Irvin was a reach in the draft, Carroll said he’s already seen enough in the first three days of rookie minicamp to confirm the feeling that his team made the right decision of selecting him in the first round.

“He’s just what we thought he was,” Carroll said. “He’s very, very fast. He’s very instinctive. I think now that we’ve had him in the meeting rooms and watched him learn and pick stuff up and ask questions, and ask good questions and then be able to apply the stuff on the field, he’s going to be able to come in and help us immediately.

“That’s all you could probably hope for in your number one. How far he can take it, I don’t know. But he’s definitely going to be a guy that we’re going to find ways to use him and it’s really going to fit in the pattern that we had thought.”

Wash said a key to Irvin’s development will be closely monitoring his transition to the NFL, and not giving the West Virginia product too much too soon.

“We’re not going to give him a million things to do,” Wash said. “It’s a situation where we’ve had some rookies before in the past where I’ve been, and we tried to do everything with them – teach them every little thing there is in the book. And all of sudden they start playing slow, and you’re going, ‘Where’s that athlete that we’ve seen on tape?’

“So we’re going to get it to where he can play fast. And we’re going to teach him as much as we can as we go along. But once we get to a point where maybe he’s not playing as fast as should be, then obviously we’ve got to back up and let him be able to take it on as he can.”

Xs and Os
Leave a comment Comments → 29
  1. Palerydr says:

    Sounds great so far but we can’t use a “Nascar Package” we need our own moniker. I’m not an exceptionally creative person so don’t kill me too bad how about a “Lumberjack Package” you know represents the NW by “cutting down” the QB?

  2. jchawks08 says:

    I like the idea of not giving Irvin too much to think about. I always wondered if that was what happened with Curry. Being a LB naturally comes with more responsibility. But no, I think in Curry’s circumstance, he was simply a borderline re-tard. Irvin just needs to get after the QB. That’s it. Feed him additional responsibilities as he’s ready.

  3. Macabrevity says:


  4. chrisj122 says:

    I say mildly.

  5. Strategicdust says:

    I’d be more inclined to call them the Killer Whales. If you’ve ever seen an Orca hit a seal at full speed, you’ll know what I mean. I”m interested to see how Irvin adjusts his game going against some higher quality linemen. Alex Barron is one step on the path but his pass rushing will need some more diversity. I think he’s with a team and coaches that will be able to bring this out in him.

  6. Ewalters7354 says:

    I see Robert Mathis all over Bruce Irvin.Elite speed and about the same size.He will give opposing lineman the blues.Mark my words…

  7. RDPoulsbo says:

    It looks like Barron is about to get flagged for a facemask in that photo.

  8. Dukeshire says:

    Good piece, Eric. Seattle’s version may be something like Irvin, Mebane, Jones, Clem, which we’ve discussed quite a bit here. I really like the idea of Seattle adopting this situational scheme. I wonder when teams are going to begin copying Seattle’s secondary scheme; big, long levered corners, lightening quick FS, and heavy doses of cover 1…?

  9. Strategicdust says:

    Perhaps the black and blues brothers?All right, I’m done.:)

  10. RDPoulsbo says:

    The one thing I’m worried about with this is all of the NFCW opponents are run first teams. None are like what the Giants faced in a team run by Tom Brady. That’s going to mean less chances this kind of package will be successful. Not saying it won’t, but it sounds like the Bandit package with more down linemen. It doesn’t sound like there will be many situations when you can use it.

    Wash mentions adding speed to pass rush on early downs, but on the DL the only addition I see is possibly Jay Howard possibly replacing Branch on early downs, but I’m not seeing any other improvements to the pass rush on 1st and 2nd. Maybe it means they plan to blitz more now that they have faster LBs?

  11. just reported that they have signed Barron OT,Liscowski CB,Helfet TE,Mitchell OT.

    CUT Osbourne OG,Moten LB,Durham DB and Opperrud from 90 man Roster!

  12. Dukeshire says:

    RD, This isn’t a base package scheme. It’s a sub package, so regarding NFC West, they may not use it as often as they will against the Packers, Pats, etc…

    Regarding blitzing more, I think that is a distinct possibility from Wright at Sam, much like we saw the last month of the season, last year.

  13. mach1na says:

    If speed is primarily going to define our pass rush, how about the “Formula 12″ package?

  14. RDPoulsbo says:

    Duke: I just don’t see many opportunities to use it in the NFC West, just like the Bandit last year. Using the 49ers as an example, if they see this package come in, I see audibles to a draw or screen to Gore and it suddenly becomes a liability.

    A few years back, I remember a ton of people were up in arms with all the draw plays to Strong on 3rd and long. I was nerdy enough to go back and see how successful it was over the course of the season. Turns out in 3rd and 5 or longer situations, they got the 1st down on that draw play at twice the success rate compared to when they called for a pass. I can see how the tables can be turned if the other team has a decent sized RB to run over smaller defenses in the same situation.

  15. I’ve never seen that “3rd down sacks” stat before – that’s a very good one. We all know the trouble our D has had getting off the field on 3rd downs, and that stat backs it up.

  16. Dukeshire says:

    I see your point, but it’s not as if the Giants have a ton of opportunities in their division either; Dallas, Washington (Eagles they can, of course). But it’s a nickle-type package and as good as their run defense is, they ought to have plenty of chances to use it. Seattle was in nickle 60% of all defensive packages last season. Got to get after the QB is those sets.

  17. raymaines says:

    Mike Holmgren could be the most charming man on earth when he talked to the press but he never actually said anything. PC has his own special communication difficulties of course, but he actually says stuff worth listening to. And he seems totally honest, maybe not direct but honest, which I never thought MH was.

    Win/loss record aside, I think the SeaHawks are in much better hands now than four of five years ago.

    It’s going to be fun to watch the progress of the Browns and ‘Hawks over the next 3-5 years. So far, I think we’re ahead.

  18. mkniffen says:

    I would be shocked if Holmgren is there in 3 years. Browns finish last in their division again this year.

  19. Holgrem drafted Weeden in the 1st, his time in Clevland is about to expire. Probably the worst pick of the draft.

  20. Skavage says:

    It should be called the “Jet Package”. It’s fast! And it respresents the Jet City of Seattle. (And it beats the hell out of calling it the Emerald Package.)

  21. Holgrem of coarse is not the coach of the Browns.So how can you compare them

  22. Duke,
    Just comment on todays transactions from,

  23. seahawk44 says:

    Skavage …that’s the one. I will second that. The Seahawks’ Jet Package will bring a top 10 sack total this season.

  24. LouieLouie says:

    Hey TruBlu- I think your wrong about Weeden. I think he’ll be this draft’s Andy Dalton.

    If we’re going to name the Seattle pass rush gang, the name should be something that get’s opposing QB’s attention: How about the “Psychotic Episodes.”

  25. LouieLouie says:

    How about the Psychos.

  26. richardfg7 says:

    Nobody knows this defense like Pete Carroll does. He knows what type player he needs at each position. These guys that think he “reached” for a player or whatever the problem they have are laughable. They would let the mock drafts assemble there rosters for them and wonder why so many guys fell short. We are very lucky in Seattle to have the front office players we have. THANK YOU, Mr. Paul Allen!

  27. Patches_Pal says:

    “Eagle Attack” package

  28. HeinieHunter says:

    For a nickname I like “The Bruise Brothers” lol

  29. mojjonation says:

    Maybe the package can be called “Ugly unies coming at you so you better run”. So along with false starts and holds, Barron has now added illegal hands to the face. This guy is awesome. Glad everyone thinks he won’t be on the final 53.

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