RENTON — The Seattle Seahawks welcomed several injured players back in Sunday’s win over the New York Giants, but they also lost one of their most important players for the remainder of the season.
Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, Seattle’s longest-tenured player, was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a hamstring injury that head coach Pete Carroll described as “really legit” a day earlier.
Mebane, who came to the Seahawks as a third-round pick in 2007 from California, was playing some of the best football of his career this season, something Carroll has noted on multiple occasions, and his impact goes far beyond the 20 tackles and one sack that show up on the stat sheet through nine games.
Mebane is Seattle’s 311-pound plug in the middle of the defense, the biggest — pun intended — reason why the Seahawks have had one of the best run defenses in the NFL this season, holding opponents to a league-low 3.2 yards per carry and just 79.8 rushing yards per game. Prior to this injury, there had been a lot of talk about Mebane finally earning Pro Bowl honors after quietly establishing himself as one of the game’s top interior linemen over the years.
“C’mon, this is probably a three-years-running Pro Bowl snub,” Seattle’s All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said last month. “Brandon Mebane is like the engine that helps our defense go.”
Bobby Wagner, who himself was playing a very high level this year before a toe injury, also praised Mebane’s impact earlier this season: “He’s the reason I play as good as I play. He does a great job keeping guys off of me. I’m surprised nobody notices how great he’s been playing.”
Carroll said Monday that the Seahawks could get by using the players currently on the roster without making any additions, relying more on former Vikings Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams, an offseason free-agent addition, as well as players like Tony McDaniel, who is already a starter, and Jordan Hill.
Carroll also acknowledged, however, that nobody on Seattle’s roster is capable of doing everything Mebane does for Seattle’s defense.
“We’ll have to see how things go,” Carroll said Monday. “Kevin (Williams) will play a lot more in that spot, Tony (McDaniel) plays there, and Jordan Hill will also play there, so we’ll see how that goes and what kind of play we’re getting from the fellas and how it fits. All those guys are good football players, they’re all doing good stuff. Their makeup is a little different in their style.
“There’s nobody like Mebane; he’s a very unique player. He’s had the best season he’s had since we’ve been here to this point, most consistent, best factor, so that’s a big hit to take, but our guys that go in play good football too, so we’ll expect them to play up and maintain that level.”
To fill the vacant roster spot, the Seahawks signed tight end RaShaun Allen off of Minnesota’s practice squad. Allen, who signed with Seattle as an undrafted rookie in May, spent the beginning of this season on Seattle’s practice squad and was signed to play against St. Louis last month, then released following that game.
The addition of Allen would seem to signal that the Seahawks will be without Luke Willson, who sprained his ankle in last week’s game. If Willson can’t play, Seattle’s only other tight end options are Cooper Helfet and Tony Moeaki, who just signed last week. Starter Zach Miller is still recovering from ankle surgery and there is no timetable on his return.
Practice squad moves
In addition to the move made on the 53-man roster, the Seahawks also added defensive end Ryan Robinson and running back Cierre Wood to their practice squad while placing RB Demitrius Bronson and defensive end Julius Warmsley on the practice squad injured reserve list. The Seahawks also released linebacker L.J. Fort from the practice squad, meaning there is currently one spot open.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org