If there's one area that has plagued the Seattle Seahawks most during the first 10 weeks of the 2018 season, it's been an inconsistent pass rush.
The inability to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks was on full display in Los Angeles during the team's 36-31 loss on Sunday, as Seattle sacked Jared Goff twice and registered only five total quarterback hits in the game. Comfortable from the pocket all afternoon, he completed 28 out of 39 pass attempts, torching the Seahawks' secondary for 318 yards and two touchdowns.
While these pass rushing issues remain an area of concern that may not be alleviated until the offseason, defensive end Dion Jordan has recovered from a challenging start to the season to play his best football over the past few weeks, including recording a season-best five tackles on Sunday against the Rams.
"He played really tough..." coach Pete Carroll said on Monday. "He had a couple plays he was flying across the field and giving great effort to just chase the ball and he's played really solid."
After recording 4.0 sacks in only five games for Seattle last year, the team re-signed Jordan as a restricted free agent after placing a first-round tender on him. The organization hoped the former first-round pick could build off his promising 2017 stint and emerge as a secondary edge rusher opposite of Frank Clark.
Unfortunately, knee surgery and a chin injury prevented Jordan from practicing at all during Seattle's offseason program, training camp, and the preseason. Stuck playing catch up and still not 100 percent healthy, he recorded only two tackles during the first six weeks of the season playing limited snaps.
Coming out of Seattle's bye in Week 7, however, Jordan finally started to resemble the athletic force that shined during the second half of last season for Carroll's defense.
Consistently collapsing the pocket off the edge in Detroit, Jordan doubled his season total with four tackles and a quarterback hit in a Week 8 win at Detroit. Though he still didn't get his first sack of the season, he forced Matthew Stafford to step up multiple times, including a play where he lost a fumble while being chased down by defensive tackle Jarran Reed.
After a fairly quiet game against the Chargers in Week 9, the 284-pound Jordan enjoyed his finest performance of the season on Sunday in Los Angeles. Along with getting his first partial sack, he finished tied for second on the team in tackles despite only playing half of Seattle's defensive snaps.
Once again applauding Jordan's toughness, Carroll added, "I think this game showed him a couple times when he got to run across the field and chase, you could see the athleticism and his mentality. He's been a really good contributor."
Heading into yet another game against a talented quarterback in Packers star Aaron Rodgers, the pass rush-needy Seahawks hope Jordan's resurgence signals more sacks and quarterback hits coming in the very near future.