Seattle Seahawks Defensive Line Reconstructed

Richard BowlerSenior Analyst IAugust 20, 2010

SEATTLE , WA - JANUARY 03:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball against Colin Cole #90 of the Seattle Seahawks  17-13 at Qwest Field on January 3, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. Johnson ran for 134 yards to break the 2,000-yard mark for the season.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

One of the fatal flaws in the strategy of the Tim Ruskell led Seahawks was the failed attempt to use smaller more athletic defensive linemen.  Ruskell tried to remake Seattle's defense in the image of the early 2000's Tampa Bay Buccaneers led by Monte Kiffin. The problem was that the Seahawks never had the talent to run the system and often looked undersized over power.

The Ruskell era Seahawks defense often appeared like a whimpy kid refusing to give up his lunch money to the class bully.  The team often had trouble stopping the between to twenties and in situation where the offense didn't control the ball the undersized defense would get worn down.

The new regime of John Schneider and Pete Carroll have put a premium on size along the defensive line.  While pass rush is still a major concern for the team size will not be.  The roster currently has five players weighing in at a weight over 310 pounds. 

One of the first moves by Carroll was to move the massive Red Bryant to right defensive end from defensive tackle.  Bryant, a 323 pound lineman, has really taken to the position and should provide an interesting challenge to opposing offensive tackles.

On the interior of the defensive line the team added 323 pound Kevin Vickerson to a mix that already includes 328 pounder Colin Cole and 311 pounder Brandon Mebane.  Craig Terrell and Quinn Pitcock, both a shade under 300 pounds, will provide depth.

The recent addition of versatile defensive line Kentwan Balmer adds additional size and depth to the roster.  Balmer is more of a traditional 4-3 defensive tackle but he could possibly be used a end in short yardage and rushing situations.  Balmer is not a sure thing to contribute seeing as he has yet to live up to any expectation in the NFL.

The team will try to create pressure on the QB by using undersized defensive ends Chris Clemons, Nick Reed and Dexter Davis on the left side in passing situations.  Clemons is the favorite to win the famed "elephant" linebacker postion.  The Seahawks don't have an elite pass rusher and will have to manufacture their pass rush.

While it is unlikely the Seahawks will have all four of Balmer, Cole, Vickerson and Bryant on the field at the same time it would be a Mountainous group to run against.  That specific line group averages 321.75 pounds and 6 feet 4 inches.

At times the new look Seahawks defensive front will have a look similar to a 3-4 defensive alignment.  The team still has a lot of work to preseason to define it's identity but for better or worse it would look vastly different from the teams of the last few years.