Sea­hawk Reed steps into the void to pres­sure piv­ots

Vancouver Sun - - SPORTS - TIM BOOTH

REN­TON, WASH. When he came out of Alabama, Jar­ran Reed was re­garded as a run-stop­ping de­fen­sive tackle.

That was it.

Any­thing else he pro­vided for the Seat­tle Sea­hawks was go­ing to be ex­tra.

“He was a real ded­i­cated run de­fender com­ing out. We did not see him spe­cial­ize in rush­ing the passer. He has just emerged through his fo­cus and ded­i­ca­tion and hard work he has be­come a com­plete player,” Seat­tle coach Pete Car­roll said.

On a de­fen­sive line where pass rush was a ma­jor ques­tion en­ter­ing the sea­son, Seat­tle has got­ten an un­ex­pected boost from the start­ing de­fen­sive tackle it picked in the sec­ond round (49th over­all) of the 2016 NFL draft. Reed is sec­ond on the team with 61/2 sacks en­ter­ing Mon­day night’s game against the vis­it­ing Min­nesota Vik­ings.

But it’s more than just sacks where Reed has pro­vided help to Seat­tle’s pass rush. He leads Seat­tle in quar­ter­back hits with 17 and had six last week against San Fran­cisco to go along with one sack.

Even when he’s not tak­ing the quar­ter­back down, Reed is help­ing

pro­vide the kind of quar­ter­back pres­sure that Seat­tle’s de­fence needs.

“I think he ex­pects to get to the quar­ter­back more than he used to and he wanted to de­velop his pass rush game,” Car­roll said. “He worked hard at it and I think his men­tal­ity to rush the passer is just the best it’s been.”

Reed agreed with Car­roll’s as­sess­ment. Reed said he de­cided this off-sea­son he would fo­cus on his pass rush­ing, per­haps re­al­iz­ing the im­pact he could pro­vide to Seat­tle’s de­fence if he could get pres­sure from the in­te­rior.

With Michael Ben­nett and Cliff Avril gone, Seat­tle lost its two top pass rush­ers. Frank Clark was the only re­turn­ing de­fen­sive line­man with a track record of hav­ing suc­cess get­ting to the quar­ter­back. It’s why the de­fen­sive line — and the pass rush specif­i­cally — was such a ma­jor ques­tion for the Sea­hawks en­ter­ing the sea­son.

Reed’s suc­cess has al­le­vi­ated some of those con­cerns. He had three to­tal sacks in his ca­reer en­ter­ing the sea­son.

“The ma­jor em­pha­sis last off­sea­son was to get bet­ter at my all-around game, to be more re­li­able, to be on the field more for the team,” Reed said.

Reed said most of his off-sea­son work was done in ba­sic places. He would go to parks or foot­ball fields around At­lanta to prac­tise his skills and would work out at a gym.

If there was a sand vol­ley­ball court avail­able, he would go there to train. He chose not to go to any of the high-end train­ing fa­cil­i­ties for his off-sea­son work, with the ex­cep­tion of spend­ing some time back on cam­pus at Alabama.

“I don’t go to all the fancy lit­tle other things ev­ery­body goes and spends all that money on. I don’t do that,” Reed said.

“I just use what the Earth has. If it has some grass I can run on that. If it has sand, I can run on that. I lift at a reg­u­lar gym, for real.”

Reed’s chal­lenge on Mon­day night will be dis­rupt­ing Min­nesota’s pass­ing game.

The Vik­ings have the sev­en­thbest pass of­fence in the league in yards per game, but use a lot of short passes to make their of­fence work. That may not al­low the same op­por­tu­ni­ties for Reed to get to the quar­ter­back as a week ago.

“He was a great run de­fender and he came in here and was able to do that, but I think he’s just ex­panded the scope of his game and it’s ob­vi­ous,” Car­roll said. “He’s been a nice fac­tor.”

OTTO GREULE JR./GETTY IM­AGES

Seat­tle’s Jar­ran Reed is sec­ond on the team with 61/2 sacks en­ter­ing Mon­day’s game against Min­nesota.

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