TNT’s Gregg Bell on Jamar Taylor, quietly a standout this month, battered runnings backs and more from Seahawks camp day 14
While the Seahawks’ secondary got shredded in their opening game, their best cover man during training camp was at home, healthy and unemployed.
Seattle fixed that Monday by re-signing veteran defensive back Jamar Taylor nine days after the team released its starting nickel defensive back from the final two games of the preseason. That’s according to Mike Garfolo of NFL Network.
Coach Pete Carroll refused to answer a question during his press conference Monday afternoon seeking confirmation of Seattle’s agreement to bring back Taylor.
Taylor, a starter at cornerback and nickel for Cleveland in 2016 and ‘17, goes back into the competition he was in last month. That’s with rookie Ugo Amadi and Akeem King for the Seahawks’ nickel spot.
The coach said Amadi has a shoulder injury of some concern. Amadi, the team’s fourth-round draft choice from Oregon, was the first nickel back Sunday in the season-opening win over Cincinnati. Safety Bradley McDougald ran through Amadi trying to sprint to a Bengals receiver during a pass play late in the second quarter.
Amadi returned to the game later. He was the nickel back for 21 of the defense’s 77 plays Sunday against Cincinnati. That’s 27 percent of the time.
“I feel like I did good enough,” Amadi said. “I know I can do better.”
The Seahawks had been in nickel defense—five defensive backs and two linebackers—70 percent of snaps in the previous seasons. But that was with standout nickel man Justin Coleman. He signed this offseason with Detroit.
Coach Pete Carroll has a goal of playing his three Super Bowl-veteran linebackers Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks together more this season in base 4-3 defense. That happened in the first game. Wagner played every one of the 77 snaps against the Bengals, as usual. But Wright and Kendricks each played 69 snaps.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw for 418 yards and receiver John Ross repeatedly got behind Seattle’s defensive backs for 158 yards receiving and two touchdowns before the Seahawks escaped with a 21-20 victory in the season opener.
Up next for Seattle: Sunday at Pittsburgh against Ben Roethlisberger. He owns the record for most passing yards by an opposing quarterback against the Seahawks: 456, in November 2015 at CenturyLink Field.
The Seahawks lost reserve defensive back Neiko Thorpe to a hamstring injury Sunday.
Releasing Taylor Aug. 31 among the final cuts of the preseason and re-signing him now keeps the Seahawks from having to guarantee all of his veteran contract. Players on active rosters for week one have their salaries for the entire season guaranteed. Those signed after week one essentially get paid by the week.
Taylor signed a one-year, $895,000 contract this spring. So the Seahawks saved $52,647 by dropping him from the roster for the opener.
They almost paid for that with a loss.
Taylor routinely batted away passes from quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Geno Smith and Paxton Lynch to starting and reserve receivers during Seattle’s training camp last month. Eventually, he earned the first nickel back position for the final two of four preseason games.
The 28-year-old who played for Arizona and Denver in 2018 has the experience the Seahawks largely lack in their secondary.
“The tape doesn’t lie, and I know that I consistently make plays, every day,” Taylor said last month following another impressive practice on the 14th day of Seattle’s training camp.
“I mean, I wouldn’t say it’s not frustrating. Being a competitor, it is,” Taylor said of his lack of playing time with the starting defense in the first half of August. “But, then again, you’ve got to understand the dynamics. They drafted a guy (Amadi, this spring). Another guy was here last year (King).
“I know, for me, I have to just keep on digging. And if I continue to make plays in practice and then into the game, then hopefully it shows, you know what I mean.
“But I’m never getting down on myself. God got my back. If they don’t see it, someone else will see it.”