Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 5/1/13
Sack Attack The Seattle Seahawks‘ defensive line has had some trouble getting to the quarterback in recent years. In fact, 2007 was their last decent year in the sack category. Ever since the then, however, the Seahawks have been unable to crack the top-10 in total sacks. And though that was partially due to Seattle’s defense being less than stellar in some of those campaigns, last year’s sack numbers seem very perplexing. The Seahawks were one of the top defenses in the league last year. Allowing just 306.2 yards per game, 5.1 yards per play, 15.3 points per game, 103.1 rushing yards per game, and 203.1 passing yards per game, you’d think Seattle would have managed to get to the quarterback more often than not. But that wasn’t really the case, as the Seahawks’ defensive line amassed just 36 sacks in 2012, a number that put them in a tie with the Buffalo Bills for the 18th most total sacks in the league. Now, that isn’t an awful number, but it’s not ideal. Especially for a team like Seattle that calls the loudest stadium in the NFL their home, they need to put more pressure on the opposing quarterback and take him down. Recognizing the need to bring their once dominant defensive line back, the Seahawks’ front office and coaching staff have been trying to bring in a group of players who can do just that. As it stands right now the Seahawks have 14 defensive linemen on the roster: Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Kenneth Boatright, Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, Bruce Irvin, Greg Scruggs, Jordan Hill, Jaye Howard, Tony McDaniel, Clinton McDonald, Brandon Mebane, Jesse Williams and Myles Wade. Obviously not all of these guys will see playing time in 2013-2014, but here’s who you can expect to lineup on the defensive line for the Hawks next season and up their sack total. Starters The starting defensive line right now is a little hard to predict due to the influx of new faces as well as the rehab of Clemons. But as for right now, we’ll try to do our best and say that Seattle’s starting defensive line will have Irvin, McDaniel, Mebane, and Bryant lined up. Please get healthy, Clem. Now this could easily change after spring and summer workouts as well as injury statuses and Clemons’ rehab, but this is what I see it as being. After watching tape on Hill and seeing his potential along the line, I truly believe that he will make it on the starting roster one day. That being said, McDaniel will finally become a factor in the NFL and make the starting roster for the lone reason that he has some sort of NFL experience. Irvin, for the time being, will play a fill-in role for Clemons while the disruptive DE gets healthier. He might also play some linebacker in 2013, stay tuned. Bryant will hopefully be back and healthy himself, and Mebane should continue to wreak havoc in the interior. I sincerely hope Jesse Williams is the steal of the NFL draft. A lot of people say he’s a borderline late 1st early second round talent, and we got him in the 5th round. I’m excited to see him on the field in 2013. Backups This is where the Seahawks will excel on defense this year. They are so depth-ridden that the coaches will be able to rotate players in and out without losing that much talent along their line. Veterans such as Avril and Bennett will be extremely valuable in helping Irvin and Bryant get some much needed rest while assisting Clemons in taking a steady path back to recovery. Scruggs, who showed quite the potential at times, will continue to develop into a great hybrid option for the Hawks’ line if he adds a little more weight and burst to his step. Howard, McDonald, Hill, and Williams will all see plenty of time this year but will need to develop their skills a little before really making an impact at the next level. However, they still possess the ability to give Seattle great options when their starters need a break. The health of Chris Clemons is obviously one of the greatest concerns heading into the 2013 season for Seahawks fans. And though he is expected to make a full recovery, we are unclear about when he will make his return. That being said, with the amount of young talent Seattle has brought in along the line and the players they signed this offseason, the Seahawks should improve upon their sack numbers and really be a force to reckon with on the defense. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE SEAHAWKS BLOG PAGE IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION AT NWSB!
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