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Pass Rushing Scheme Chad Brown is on the move in Seattle's blitz-happy Okie


It's a good thing for the Seahawks that team doctors diagnosed
outside linebacker Chad Brown's asthma early in the season and
prescribed an effective treatment. As the designated rover in
Seattle's blitz-happy Okie defense, Brown can't afford to be
short of breath.

In the scheme installed by first-year linebackers coach Jim
Johnson, Brown might be asked to rush the passer, serve as a
contain man or cover the primary receiver. After getting 13
sacks and making the Pro Bowl as an Okie linebacker in 1996, his
last season with the Steelers, Brown signed as a free agent with
Seattle. "It was frustrating last season because I was always
lined up at right defensive end in the nickel package, and
everyone knew where I was going to shoot the gap," says Brown,
who fought through repeated double teams in '97 to lead the
Seahawks with 104 tackles and finish with 6 1/2 sacks. "I'm
still the guy who gets all the attention, but now the offense
doesn't know where I'm going to be or what I'll do."

Seattle defensive coordinator Greg McMackin calls for the
Okie--a variation of the scheme originally run at the University
of Oklahoma--in passing situations, using a three-man front with
two linebackers and six defensive backs. Brown positions himself
at tackle or end just before the snap. The offense must guess
whether Brown will blitz or is merely a decoy for fellow
linebacker Darrin Smith. On some occasions Brown and Smith will
rush the passer. Or Brown might drop into coverage while Smith
and a defensive back blitz. In four starts leading up to
Sunday's 31-18 loss to the Raiders, Brown had 48 tackles and
three sacks.

In passing situations against Oakland, Brown often stuck around
the line just long enough to distract a blocker or two, only to
bolt back and cover the hot receiver. "It's scary against the
Raiders because, when blitzed, their tendency is to send
[fleet-footed running back] Napoleon Kaufman into the flat,"
says Brown, who had a team-high nine tackles. "The worst thing
that can happen is when their hot receiver is the wide man and
I'm in the interior line. I'll maybe have to sprint 30 yards. My
back is to the ball, but I have to get in position or else it
could be a big play."

--Richard Deutsch