Playbook: Seahawks’ man-pressure scheme

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Click here for the entire Inside the Playbook series.

Click here for the previous “All-22” breakdown: Ponder’s red zone TD

Let’s talk man-pressure and focus on Pete Carroll’s defense in Seattle. With the size and length the Seahawks’ have in the secondary, plus their top tier talent at the safety position, sending seven-man pressure is a smart call in 3rd and 7-10 situations. Force the ball to come out and break on the throw.

Today, let’s go to the “All-22” cut-ups from Seattle’s win over Carolina and breakdown some coaching points on playing blitz-man in the secondary.

Seahawks vs. Panthers
Personnel: Posse (3WR-1TE-1RB)
Alignment: Doubles Slot
Route: Slant-7/Curl
Defensive scheme: Nickel Cover 1 pressure


– I want to start with the Seahawks' pre-snap alignment. Press-looks on the outside (and in the slot) with SS Kam Chancellor playing in an off-man position vs. TE Greg Olsen. That’s smart football from Chancellor. Sit at the sticks, flat-foot read and play form the ball to come out.

– Up front, Seattle is showing an overload pressure look to the open (weak) side of the formation with a “Twist” stunt (DE and LB) to the closed side. A seven-man blitz scheme.

– With any Cover 1 defense, DBs are taught to play with an outside shade and funnel the WRs to their deep middle of the field help (FS Earl Thomas).


– Double slants from the Panthers with the deep 7 cut (corner route) out of the slot. However, the route to focus on is Olsen. The Panthers’ TE (highlighted in yellow) will push vertically up the field and break down at the sticks.


– This is what you get with the Seattle secondary when they align in press (highlighted in red). Mirror the release and drive to the up field shoulder of the WR. Take away the slant and force Cam Newton to work through his route progressions.

– Check out Chancellor here. As I said above, play for the ball to come out. Because of his pre-snap alignment, the SS can stay square to the QB and put himself in a position to drive downhill on the throw. Even if Olsen continues up the field (seam), Chancellor has enough cushion to open his hips and carry the TE vertically.


– End zone angle of the finish from Chancellor. And remember, this starts with technique from the Seahawks’ SS. Know the situation, play the sticks and be patient with your footwork. That's why he is one of the top players at the position.

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