Second-year Seattle Seahawks cornerback Riq Woolen was one of the standout players of the 2022 season, but in 2023, he hasn’t had the same impact.
Former Seahawks wide receiver Michael Bumpus says that’s due to the corner’s “hesitancy” in the secondary, and the WR-turned-radio-host wants to see Woolen step up in the Seahawks’ Week 10 tilt with the Washington Commanders.
Michael Bumpus Wants Riq Woolen to Be More Aggressive
There are very few expectations of fifth-round picks in the NFL. So when a fifth-rounder like Riq Woolen out of the unheralded University of Texas-San Antonio comes in and makes the Pro Bowl as a rookie, it’s pretty incredible. That’s exactly what Woolen did in 2022, though.
In his first NFL season, Woolen was incredible, racking up 63 tackles, 16 passes defended, 3 fumble recoveries, and a co-league-leading 6 interceptions, one of which he took back for a touchdown.
This year, Woolen hasn’t found the same level of success. Through eight games he has 24 tackles, four passes defended, and just 1 interception. Some of this is due to the respect he earned last season and quarterbacks staying away from his receiver.
That said, Bumpus said on his show, Bump & Stacy on Seattle Sports radio, that he thinks there’s more to it than that.
On the Thursday, November 9 episode of Bump & Stacy, co-host Stacy Rost asked Bumpus who he wants to see step up in the Seahawks’ Week 10 showdown with the Commanders, and “Bump” identified the Seattle CB.
“I’m looking at Riq, man,” Bumpus said. “He already has an interception — could have had two — but there are little things that I think he needs to clean up on.”
As for what he needs to “clean up,” Bumpus talked about the CB hesitating instead of being aggressive while trying to make plays in the secondary this season.
“I think if he has a big game – and he doesn’t even have to have an interception,” Bumpus added. “Just get back to the fundamentals, man, and the guy that we saw last year. I think he’s getting closer. There’s just a little bit of hesitancy in this game right now. If he can get rid of that, I think the back end is that much better.”
A great game from Woolen would be huge for the Seattle defense, which is still reeling from the 34-point beatdown by the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9. However, keeping the Commanders’ stellar wide receivers under wraps will be tough.
Seahawks Secondary Has a Tough Matchup in Week 10 vs. the Commanders
In the Seahawks Week 10 matchup against the Commanders is a challenging one for the defensive backfield. Woolen, Devon Witherspoon, Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, and the rest of the secondary will have their hands full with the Washington wideouts.
Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson are two incredibly dangerous WRs. McLaurin has 47 catches for 568 yards (both top-20 numbers) this season, and Dotson has 34 for 360.
And despite the team’s 4-5 record, the offense — especially the passing offense under offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy — has been surprisingly good. The team is sixth in total passing yards (2,178) and ranks 13th in the NFL with a 71.5 overall offensive grade from PFF. A lot of that comes from the fact that they are the most pass-happy offense in the NFL this year, with a league-leading 353 attempts.
All those passes mean the Seahawks defense will have a chance to make big plays, though.
Commanders QB Sam Howell is the co-league-leader in interceptions (9) and the most-sacked signal-caller in the league, hitting the deck 44 times this season.
These numbers suggest there is a big opportunity for Woolen and the rest of the Seahawks defense to get back on track in Week 10.
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