To see the full list of the 30 most important Seahawks in 2012, click here.
This is essentially the post where I talk about the Seahawks’ run defense. Brandon Mebane, sure, because I like Brandon Mebane and because he’s a Seahawks draft pick from 2007. And I’ll also lump in Alan Branch because he came on like wildfire last year as a free agent out of Arizona.
Mebane – 6’1, 311 pounds
Branch – 6’6, 325 pounds
That’s your starting interior line. When you tack on Red Bryant at one end and Chris Clemons at the other, you’ve got one of the better run-stuffing units in the NFL.
I’ve talked about it a lot, but it bears repeating: as a defense, if you’re able to shut down the other team’s run to make them completely one-dimensional, you’re going to be good. Now, when you factor in our big, mean-mugging cornerbacks and safeties, THEN you’ve got something truly dominant. The only facet preventing this defense from being the very best in the entire league is the fact that they can’t generate pass rush with the starting four I referenced above. Clemons, Mebane, Branch, and Bryant. Those guys will stop your run, but they’ll generally give your quarterback all the time in the world.
Which is why we’ve had to go to such great lengths this past offseason to shore up the pass rush. Drafting Bruce Irvin. Signing Jason Jones. Going quicker and younger in our linebacking unit. The Seahawks are going to have to play mix & match. They’re going to have to pick their spots to rush the quarterback.
But, the one constant will always be Brandon Mebane. I don’t see him coming out of the game too much, except for the regular rotational breaks. But, this guy, he could be something special. I think, when we have our pass rush unit out there – Clemons, Mebane, Jones, Irvin – everyone will be so focused on the other guys, that it could very well free Mebane up for some sacks.
Mebane has a good burst on his own, no question about it. But, in the last three seasons, he has a total of 2.5 sacks. That shows me that other teams are doing a number on him. Lots of double teams, lots of cut blocks. If you can get offenses to focus on noted pass rushers (like Clemons, like Jones), I bet we’ll see a nice uptick in Mebane’s numbers. I’m not saying he’s going to be a Cortez Kennedy or anything; but I’d like to see him around the 5.5 sacks he got in 2008.
I’ve been saying all along that I think Mebane will be a Pro Bowler someday. I think that day is getting closer and closer by the season.