Sunday night reminded America’s audience that, indeed, defense wins championships. The game was a clinical gun show for the Seahawks, as the Legion of Boom flexed its muscles in front of the entire NFC conference. What ensued was an uproar from the sports media in awe of the Seattle defense, and a clamor for their respective teams to somehow match the modern-day Pantheon of NFL defense.
While many NFL fans now see Seattle as a benchmark for success, the truth is that Seattle is merely an exception to the norm. No defense since the 2000 Ravens has dominated the NFL by storm. To win a Super Bowl, a team needs a stout defense, not a legendary defense.
Seattle’s defense builds itself upon its pass rush and unique 4-3 shifted scheme similar to Philadelphia’s scheme. Against the run, they employ a “LEO” as a DE/OLB as one defensive end, and a clinical 4-3 defensive end on the other side. This allows Seattle to rush the passer while still protecting against the run. The Eagles can find a “LEO” in the draft to pair with Connor Barwin as OLBs. This hybrid player would excel in attacking opposing quarterbacks. While Seattle may not employ a space-eating nose tackle, the Eagles would be wise to sign one cheaply in free agency who could play 25-30 snaps per game. As a result, fans will no longer have to see Billy Davis frozen on the sidelines, unable to adjust as the Saints rush for 185 gut-wrenching yards.
On the back end, the Seahawks have been heralded for their playmaking abilities. Seattle built its secondary without emptying their local Bank of America. Earl Thomas cost the most resources, as Seattle spent a first-round pick on him. Philadelphia’s cornerbacks are relatively sturdy, though a developmental player could be added. The safety position is where Howie Roseman will make his money. Adding a hard-hitting, yet ballhawk safety will change the defense.
Of the past thirteen Super Bowl winners, few boasted legendary defenses. Most, however, played solid defense and let their offense capitalize on opportunities. If the Eagles build on their current squad, they could make the NFL forget about world-beating defenses like Seattle.