Closing the November 3 trading deadline, despite holding a 5-1 record and sitting at the top of the NFC West, the Seahawks ranked close to the bottom of the NFL in sacks and speed of pressure. They had just lost a heartbreaking 37-34 overtime race by the Cardinals, in which they scored zero goals for Kyler Murray.
Injuries certainly played a role in the ongoing struggles haunting opposing defenders like Murray. Veteran Bruce Irwin suffered an ACL rupture during the season in the second week, while second-round Darrell Taylor remained on the non-soccer injury list, recovering from off-season leg surgery, leaving the team short-haired and missing explosive athletes at the end of the defense.
As the loss in Arizona further illustrates, general manager John Schneider knew he had to make a move, but he had limited withdrawal capital available. After all, Seattle had already opted for the first and third rounds of the 2021
Fortunately, in the middle of the country, the disgruntled veteran Carlos Dunlap was ready to leave Cincinnati by force. Losing playing time for younger players in a defensive scheme that did not suit his strength well, he put his house up for sale, telling the rest of the league to call for his services.
Schneider never left a stone unturned, and as he did a year before the Lions’ Quandre Diggs landed, the Siahox managed to get Dunlap without betting on their future. The famous CEO threw the seventh round and reserve center BJ Finney to Bengals to land the two-time Pro Bowler, hoping that he could be the answer to the omission of the team, which is in a hurry.
A month later, Dunlap has already filed a lawsuit as potentially the best commercial acquisition Schneider has made in 11 years at the helm, at least in terms of denied value and positional needs. In three games, he produced 3.5 sacks and seven quarterback hits, while Seattle’s defense exploded with 13.0 sacks during that period, rocketing to 12th place among NFL teams with 25.0 sacks during the season.
It was a twist, at least in terms of omission. With Dunlap and the front line intensifying the quarterbacks’ heat, the rest of the defense also began to play better, as the Seahawks showed, avenging a 28-21 victory over the Cardinals and limiting their opponent to the season’s lowest 314 yards.
“He spends his time in his life,” coach Pete Carroll said of Dunlap’s quick start in Seattle. “He’s explosive, he’s been optimistic and energetic and he’s having fun with it.”
There is no doubt that the rest of Seattle’s defense has responded positively to Dunlap’s energy since his arrival. Now with three games under his belt, he feels completely comfortable with the team’s scheme and the results are shown on the field, providing a spark for a malicious defense that has suddenly found its channel.
What is the key to a successful start for Dunlap with its new team? Let’s check out the tape as I review the play of the veteran defender who defends running and rushes with passersby in an extensive film study of his first three games as Seahawk.