Leading With The Shoulder

A Smart Defense

The Seattle Seahawks defense has shown that advanced tackling techniques can protect players and achieve great results.

"There's a shoulder tackling technique that we have emphasized for a number of years now," said Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. "You can teach it before you ever have any pads on, before you're ever hitting anybody."

Making a Great Team Better

The Seahawks have been shoulder tackling since 2012, but the method is rooted in football further back in time.

"We have captured the old style in tackling, from when helmets weren't around," said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

The team practices leverage-based shoulder tackling—which maintains the toughness and physicality of the game, but also focuses on safety.

"Now, if we have a new player, this is just how we do it," said Rocky Seto, a former assistant coach with the Seahawks.

A Better Way to Play

"There's no head involved in these tackles at all," said Coach Carroll.

Coach Carroll believes it's a more effective tackle than traditional methods.

"This was a better way to get guys on the ground sooner," he said.

Coach Carroll said he has seen a positive impact on the field.

"We've got a pretty good defense around here, and we have terrific football players and we've had a lot of success," he said. "I think it's improved our play."

The Seahawks also emphasize the use of shoulders in blocking.

"This is the Seahawk way…and is what makes our players great," said Seto.

Sharing Progress

The Seahawks share their shoulder tackling philosophy with all levels of football.

"During the offseason, we'll do clinics with high school coaches and youth coaches," said Seto.

"We're just trying to help the game by giving the coaches at those levels tools to help players tackle properly."

"I hope other coaches will give it a chance," said Coach Carroll.

"We're proud of the way we're doing it. We think it's a great way to play the game," he said.