When the Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII at the end of the 2013 season, beating the daylights out of a Broncos offense that had been the highest-scoring in NFL history, two preseason moves set that all-time defense up for radical success: Head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider signed former Lions defensive end Cliff Avril and ex-Buccaneers defensive end Michael Bennett. While the Legion of Boom secondary was the talk of the NFL, none of that would happened without Avril and Bennett, and the Carroll/Schneider combo realizing that you can never have too many elite pass-rushers on your roster.
Fast-forward to 2020, and this Seahawks team is very different. They’re coming off their first loss of the season, a 37-34 overtime debacle against the Cardinals in which Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray took 52 dropbacks and was pressured just 11 times — no sacks, no quarterback hits, and a handful of hurries. This was in part because Seattle was mush-rushing to keep Murray from killing them with his running ability, but still — it points to a pass-rush problem that Seattle has been dealing with all season, and if Carroll and Schneider didn’t fix it, this could be the albatross that ruins what has been an MVP season from quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ newly-open passing game.
Carroll and Schneider have always been action/impulse buyers, so it should come as no surprise that on Wednesday morning, it was announced that they’d pulled the trigger on a trade for Carlos Dunlap, the disgruntled Bengals edge defender who had been looking for a way out of Cincinnati for a while.
Why was Dunlap unhappy? He had seen his playing time drop precipitously over the last few weeks, and against the Browns in Week 7, he was on the field for just 12 snaps. But when he’s on the defensive line, he’s still an effective player — perhaps not a world-tilter, but certainly a massive upgrade over what the Seahawks have had on the edge this season.
Let’s go to the tape, and find out what Dunlap has to offer in his 11th NFL season.