LOCALS IN THE NFL

Bumpus: Why Marquise Blair Has Gained The Most Out Of Seahawks Camp

Aug 30, 2020, 3:21 PM

Marquise Blair #27 of the Seattle Seahawks...

Strong safety Marquise Blair #27 of the Seattle Seahawks warms up prior to the game against the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field on August 8, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

SEATTLE, Wash. – Along with the pass rush – or lack thereof – on the Seahawks’ defense in 2019, another commonly concern regarding that side of the ball was why Seattle didn’t play more nickel defense despite the team’s struggle in the against the pass.

The Seahawks, when they did go with five defensive backs – which was roughly 30 percent of the time, far and away the least in the NFL – had players like Jamar Taylor and Akeem King man that spot until late in the year when rookie Ugo Amadi got the role. Seattle still opted to use three linebackers or “base defense” well over half of the time.

Entering the offseason, head coach Pete Carroll said the nickel corner position was Amadi’s to lose. And even before the Seahawks acquired All-Pro safety Jamal Adams, Carroll said the team would experiment with 2019 rookie safety Marquise Blair at the nickel spot. Now, it looks like Blair may be the nickel corner the Seahawks were desperately missing in 2019.

Former NFL wide receiver Michael Bumpus joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant and said that Blair has gotten more out of the Seahawks’ abbreviated training camp than any of his teammates, and that he could be a real difference maker for a team that’s looking to rebound after fielding one of the worst defenses in franchise history.

“He is going to be the reason why you get out of that base defense,” Bumpus said. ”Everyone wants to see the Hawks play more nickel, they didn’t play nickel last year because they didn’t have the guys. I am confident that Marquise Blair can be that nickel spot guy.”

Blair is also coming off a stellar showing in the Seahawks’ second mock game on Wednesday, where he was perhaps the game’s best defensive player.

“He had two picks during the mock (game) and one of them was off a deflection by (Pro Bowl cornerback) Shaquill Griffin – a name that you also want to hear when it comes to making plays – and the other one was just my boy (undrafted WSU rookie quarterback) Anthony Gordon closing his eyes, making a wish and tossing the ball up and (Blair) just made a play,” Bumpus said. ” … People are going to say ‘it was a mock game, he’s supposed to do that,’ but what if he doesn’t make those plays? What are we saying? We’re still addressing it, we’re still saying he needs to step up. He is doing what he has to do.”

Paul Gallant, who was also at the mock game, asked if Blair had been showing that kind of ability in practice, as Gordon had a rough game overall. Bumpus said Blair’s good practices carried over to a game situation.

“What I’ve seen out of Blair is he’s just in the right position. He’s where he’s supposed to be and he looks confident,” he said. “He doesn’t seem like a guy who’s second-guessing himself or who’s hesitating, he looks like a guy who’s playing fast and who is attacking the football when it’s in the air and that’s what you need. He’s playing a spot he’s never played before so there’s going to be some adjustments there, but I’m loving what I see … He’s doing everything he needs to do.”

Listen to the full second hour of Friday’s Danny and Gallant at this link.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Michael Bumpus on Twitter.

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Bumpus: Why Marquise Blair Has Gained The Most Out Of Seahawks Camp