Saturday, May 28, 2011

SEAHAWKS: State of the Defensive Ends

Chris Clemons
The 2010 defensive end spots were a mix of surprise, injury and depth.

Chris Clemons broke onto the scene last year, accumulating 11 sacks with his speed and tenacity. The 6-3, 254 pound Clemons anchored the left defensive end spot so he could come from right-handed quarterback’s blind side.

The other pleasant surprise was 6-4, 324 pound Red Bryant. Wait, 324 pounds for a defensive end? Wouldn’t he be too slow to even make an impact? You would think so, but Pete Carroll used Bryant in a very unique way.

To Continue...

Red’s job was to basically hold his ground, take on two blockers, and watch for any running back coming his way. He did exceptionally well in this role, and when he was placed on injured reserve after week 8 vs. Oakland, the Seahawks’ run defense suffered dramatically.

Barring any defensive scheme changes on defensive coordinator Casey Bradley’s part, Clemons and Bryant are locks for the starting lineup next season. But defensive ends are the most commonly injured players, so teams need depth.

Our current backups UNDER CONTRACT are Kentwan Balmer and Amon Gordon. Balmer is in the Red Bryant mold with him being 6-5, 315 lbs, which is one of the reasons why Pete Carroll chose him to fill in for Bryant. He did alright, but wasn’t even close to the level Bryant was. As for Gordon, I can’t tell you a lot. He came in off the bench once last season in week 16.

So as you can see, after the lockout the Seahawks need to re-sign backups from last season or go out and sign free agents. Raheem Brock played well last season, as he accumulated 9 sacks. The Seahawks drafted one defensive end in the draft, taking Lazarius Levingston with their 7th round pick. Expect these two to be signed.

All and all, the Seahawks’ defensive end spots should be largely the same as last season, if not completely the same.

2011 projected starting lineup
Starters: Red Bryant, Chris Clemons
Backups: Raheem Brock, Kentwan Balmer Lazarius Levingston,

Reach Nathan Parsons at