Bradley: Defense is in the details

Seattle's defense in 2008 struggled to do much of anything against opponents, ranking 28th in the NFL in yards allowed. With his new system already partially in place, new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley says that attention to detail early on will help the Seahawks return to the top of the league...

"They're doing a good job, a great job," Bradley told KIRO's Brock Huard and Mike Salk last week. "I think we're further along than we anticipated.

"The guys have done a nice job of picking things up. We really challenged them because I think the system that's implemented is really a detailed system and it requires guys to be extremely detailed, not that they weren't in the past, but it's a whole new system. They're learning new terms and it forces them to be detailed in those things and it's not just the linebackers and the secondary, but it's the defensive line too."

One of the players adapting to the new system is MLB Lofa Tatupu a four-year veteran who has led the team every year since he arrived in 2005 and Bradley says he can be not just great, but special.

"I think that Lofa (Tatupu) knows, with him being a great player, we challenged him not only to be great, but to be special," Bradley noted. "To be special you've got to be on your details and that's really what we're challenging the whole defensive unit with is being really sharp on the details."

Joining Tatupu will be rookie LB Aaron Curry who already has impressed the coaching staff with what he brings to the table.

"I think he exceeded our expectations," Bradley said about the All-American from Wake Forest. "Sometimes when you get a guy in here, he's the fourth pick overall, maybe he gets a little overwhelmed with everything that's going on and you probably won't see him playing very fast, but that was the opposite with Aaron. He came in here, he picked things up and even if he wasn't quite sure it didn't slow him down so it's definitely been a great acquisition.

"You don't want to jump to conclusions with him after seeing three days of practice, but I know like in the defensive line, some of the areas we're looking at with our rush ends are length, speed and power and if you have all three of those then you've got a good chance of being a pretty good rusher and as you look around the league, the great ones that have those three in combination. With Aaron, he ran a high 4.5, he's got great length, he's got power, he's 250 pounds, so really (using him as a pass rusher) something that we're looking at with his ability of maybe bringing him off the edge or put his hand down on third down so you're not really sure ‘are they in a 33 package or are they in a four-man front?' and anytime you have that in an individual like that, that gives you some versatility and that's an advantage for you."

Bradley learned from one of the best to ever coach defense in the NFL, Monte Kiffin, who is now holding down the DC job at the University of Tennessee under his son Lane, but he isn't the only defensive mind that has brought ideas into the coaches' meetings. However, at times all those different minds thinking of things can make things a little convoluted, but Bradley said they took a little over everything to make it into one defensive playbook.

"You know what we really did, we kinda tried to take the best of everything," Bradley recalled. "There's obviously some fundamentals we're basing everything on and the system that's in place is similar to what they did here last year along with some influences from Tampa, but when you've got guys like Tim Lewis and Zerich (Rollins) and (Dan) Quinn and Larry Marmie, who's been a defensive coordinator in the league at a couple of places, when you've got all those minds together you can come up with some things that are pretty detailed. I think our biggest thing is to just make it where we don't have too much."

So far, with one mini-camp out of the way and OTA's (organized team activities) already in progress, Bradley said they are working on "situational football" while trying to install their defensive scheme.

""We've got probably a quarter of our package in right now and the OTA's that we're involved in right now are really more situational football," Bradley explained. "We're in and out in a little over an hour, but each session that we have together against our offense is really about a situation.

"Maybe it's third-and-four or seven or third-and-long or second-and-medium or goal line or short-yardage, whatever the case, it's getting our guys introduced to our package and implementing it into situations we're going to see next fall so that's really what's in store from here on out through the middle of June and then they have a break and then we re-implement things for training camp."

And you can bet that during training camp, with Bradley in charge, they will be focused on the details.


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