Now that the regular season is officially underway, the Seattle Seahawks said their goodbyes to defensive tackle Jarran Reed, who began serving his six-game suspension at the start of the week.
“He’s on his own now,” coach Pete Carroll commented after Monday’s practice. “They really have to be separate from the program so we will have no contact. We’ll see him six weeks from now.”
However, even after losing Reed for nearly half the season, Carroll isn’t concerned about their depth up front.
That’s in part due to the pass-rushing duo of Jadeveon Clowney and Ezekiel Ansah, who should do an excellent job of getting to opposing quarterbacks while also containing the edge and allowing Seattle’s interior guys to focus on disrupting the run game between the tackles.
That’s music to Poona Ford’s ears, as he excelled as a run-stuffer in his rookie season, and looks primed to be one of the best run-stoppers in the NFL in year two.
“We’re really excited about what Poona has been doing,” Carroll said on Wednesday. “He’s had a great camp and he’s looked right on it. I think he’s going to do a fine job for us.”
Ford will be joined up front for the first part of the season by veteran defensive tackle Al Woods, who Carroll has praised all offseason for his veteran savviness and his experience at three-tech.
“What I really like about what Woods has done is he’s played big and played solid and really given us good effort,” Carroll continued. “That’s all we’ve ever hoped for out of the three-technique position. You go back over the years and there’s been a bunch of big guys that have been there and filled a really good role for us and Al is right there. Al seems to be more active than maybe some of the guys and he’s learned it. He’s been a great guy on the team in the meetings and locker room and all that.”
Carroll said he’s counting on Ford and Woods to be his starters, but indicated there will be plenty of movement and rotations up front during the season.
That could be a sign Rasheem Green, Quinton Jefferson and possibly Branden Jackson will see some time on the inside, even though they primarily play out on the ends.
It’s also a good sign for undrafted free agent Bryan Mone out of Michigan, who is taking the Poona Ford path to an NFL job this year.
“He’s been really consistent for a young guy,” Carroll said about Mone. “We didn’t put him in any situations he hasn’t played before. We really tried to bank on what he’s done in the past. He was a very, very effective college player. They played great line defense where he came from at Michigan and all. We’ve just asked him to do what he’s good at. He’s huge and he plays big and strong and tough. He’s had some big plays in crucial situations. He’s come through with really good technique and clarity of effort and stuff at the right time to get in the back to make some crucial plays in short yardage. He doesn’t have any problem playing. He’s going to be in the game rotating.”
While the team will certainly improve dramatically with Reed’s return – which will allow Woods to transition into a depth role and pushes the others outside – the team does have enough depth up front to still shut down opposing run games.
Seattle will put that theory to the test for the first time in the regular season on Sunday afternoon against the Bengals at CenturyLink Field. Kickoff is at 1:05 p.m. PT.