Seahawks defensive end Lawrence Jackson is trying to find his place on the D-line
Jackson, a former first-round pick who has started 24 of the 31 games in his career, is returning from a hamstring injury, but he is also finding himself stuck somewhat in the middle when it comes to the Seahawks' defensive end positions.
Prior to the start of training camp, Jackson lost his starting job to former defensive tackle Red Bryant, a move that signaled a shift in the philosophy of Seattle's defensive line.
Rather than have two more traditional ends, players who are built more like the 270-pound Jackson, or like Patrick Kerney, a starter for the past three seasons before retiring, the Seahawks have two distinctly different ends. Bryant plays what is known as the five-technique, a big-bodied run stopper that normally lines up on the same side of the field as the opposing tight end. Chris Clemons is at the "Leo" spot, a smaller, pass-rushing end who will also be asked at times to drop back and play like a linebacker.
So where does that leave Jackson? Somewhere in the middle. But for now Jackson isn't concerning himself with that, saying he just wants to improve and fit in wherever he is needed.
"I'm not worried about it," he said. "You look at some things and it's the reality, I'm kind of in the middle of both the extremes. That's one thing that has served me well my entire time in football, being able to play the run and to be able to rush the passer, be an every-down player. The coaches coach, the players play, so I just go out there and do what I've got to do to get better."
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that Jackson will be used more at "Leo" and as an end in nickel packages. And while Jackson is more than willing to play that role, he also admits it isn't an exact fit for him.
Asked if the "Leo" position fits him well, he responded, "Um ... I can play it, that's not a problem, but obviously you see a size difference between me and the other guys. But in that, I can do some things differently than they can, and they can do some things differently than I can. I just have to put all of my tools together and make it work for me."
Balmer not talking about the past
Defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer practiced with his new team for the first time, a day after being traded from San Francisco. Despite being asked numerous times, Balmer wouldn't talk about what led to his departure from San Francisco, which traded the former first-round pick to a division rival, reportedly getting only a six-round pick as compensation.
"What happened in San Francisco is in San Francisco," Balmer said. "I'm happy to be here as a Seattle Seahawk."
He repeated a similar answer several times when asked about what led to him first leaving the team with an excused absence, then not returning to training camp, eventually leading to a trade.
Balmer did say, however, that whatever personal matter he was tending to has been resolved.
"I would definitely say so," he said. "I had some time to stay in shape and to get my mind right. Like I said, I'm turning the page and I'm pretty sure they've moved on as well."
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh missed his second straight day of practice tending to a family matter... RB Adrian Peterson, who the team signed just five days earlier, was released to make room on the roster for Balmer... With K Olindo Mare nursing a calf injury, the team signed K Clint Stitser. Stitser played at Fresno State, then was out of football for two years before signing with the New York Jets in April. LB Alvin Bowen was released to make room on the roster.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog
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