‘Bandit’ package helps bolster Seahawks defense
Seven defensive backs on the field at the same time isn’t
considered conventional in the NFL.
But Pete Carroll has never been considered a conventional
After the Denver Broncos managed to go 14 of 20 on third down in
Week 2 and Philip Rivers passed for 455 yards against the Seahawks
in Week 3, Carroll knew they needed to add a different element to
The team’s bye week in Week 5 allowed Carroll to get rookie
safety Kam Chancellor more reps in practice. The extra work helped
him earn the confidence of the coaching staff and the coaching
staff developed a scheme to get the 6-foot-3, 232-pound safety on
The wrinkle Carroll and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley rolled
out was the ”bandit package,” an alignment with three defensive
linemen, one linebacker and seven defensive backs.
The Seahawks have been able to get more speed and versatility on
the field while still being able to pressure the quarterback.
Safety Lawyer Milloy frequently becomes an extra pass rusher while
Roy Lewis, Jordan Babineaux and Lofa Tatupu all become possible
threats to blitz.
”(The offensive linemen) don’t know where to go. They point out
the protection and once you get that little small mix-up, then
someone is coming scott free,” Lewis said. ”It’s giving the
offense a lot of problems and we look forward to having those
packages on the field because we’ve got guys that can cover, pass
rush and make tackles.”
The need for a change was obvious to Milloy.
”When we didn’t do well on third down, we lost,” Milloy
”When you have six, seven guys out there as (defensive backs)
that are pretty interchangeable, it makes it really tough for a
team to know where you’re coming from.”
Seattle has the confidence in its secondary to bring as many as
seven men on blitzes or rush just four and utilize the extra
defenders to cover opposing receivers.
”If you feel OK about your guys (defensive backs) rushing,
which some teams don’t, then they can rush, they can drop, they can
cover backs. A guy who’s on the line of scrimmage can end up being
a deep defender and so you just give yourself a variety of things
that you can do and interchange some parts and stuff and try to
make it difficult,” Carroll said.
With only three defensive linemen and one linebacker on the
field, the package is susceptible to being gashed by the run, which
is why the Seahawks have predominantly used the package on third
down and predictable passing situations.
Last week against Arizona, they ran it only six times through
the first three quarters and only on third down. When the Cardinals
were trying to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter, they went
with the bandit package on 11 of 13 defensive snaps. Arizona gained
just 29 yards and the Cardinals’ only first down came via
”We’re just trying to utilize our guys’ strengths,” Bradley
said. ”Lawyer Milloy’s a good rusher, a good blitzer and can cover
and do some things with him. We said ‘All right, let’s start by
doing some things with him. Now how do we cover it up and how do we
do some things there?’ and it just kind of evolved.”
In the two games Seattle has utilized the bandit package, the
Seahawks have forced opposing quarterbacks into completing just 40
percent of their passes and offenses to convert just 7 of 33 third
Notes: G Chester Pitts will dress on Sunday for the first time
this season after offseason microfracture knee surgery. Carroll
said he would like to get Pitts on the field at either left tackle
or left guard. … CB Walter Thurmond (head) and CB Kelly Jennings
(hamstring) did not practice Friday. If they can’t play, CB Roy
Lewis and CB Nate Ness will fill in at the right cornerback
position. … Thurmond, Jennings, DT Brandon Mebane (calf), T
Russell Okung (ankle) and RB Michael Robinson (hamstring) did not