Seattle Seahawks: 2011 Defensive Preview, Part 1 of 4…The Linebacker Edition

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Seattle Seahawks: 2011 Defensive Preview, Part 1 of 4…The Linebacker Edition
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Sub-par health often resulted in Lofa being pushed aside on the field, not the year Tatupu hoped for in 2010.

The Seahawks defense is encountering a major period of flux heading into the 2011 season,  significant changes on the coaching staff and the possibility for a large player turnover both concerns for the organization this offseason. The team has six new players via the draft to work into the defense, the best case scenario being they all contribute in 2011.

The free agent group that may need to be replaced includes two safeties with nearly a quarter century of combined football experience, two career-Seahawk defensive linemen and one of the two linebackers remaining from the Super Bowl team. Not to mention there are injury concerns for key players at all three defensive positions.  

As football is currently standing still—but hopefully making progress towards having a season in 2011—I have decided to take a closer look at the potential changes to the 2011 Seahawks defense through a series of articles; first evaluating the linebackers, defensive backs and defensive line, before taking a look at the defense as a whole.

The purpose of the position specific articles will be to evaluate the performances of the players over the past two seasons—my resources for analysis being TV broadcasts from 31 of 34 games played the past two seasons.

The goal isn’t to re-hash stats or scrutinize the teams play from those two years, but more to gain knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of each player, in hopes of figuring what they potentially bring, or don’t bring, to the mix for the 2011 season—all 2009 players not on the 2010 roster are not included in the evaluation.

One crucial piece of information to note; the Seahawks primarily ran a traditional 4-3, Tampa 2 defense in 2009. In 2010, the defense stayed as a 4-3, but now featured a base “under” front with multiple variations and a more aggressive mentality.

We won’t worry about the differences and why they are important until the end of the series, when the entire defense becomes the focus.   

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