Friday, April 6, 2012
What a rush: Seeking pressure from interior
By Mike Sando
Cortez Kennedy heads to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer while his former team tries to ramp up its pass rush, inside and out.
Finding an outside pass-rusher to play opposite Chris Clemons remains an obvious need for the Seahawks heading toward the draft. The inside pass rush, which Kennedy provided in abundance, tends to get overlooked among areas where Seattle's otherwise strong defense was lacking in 2011.
Signing Jason Jones in free agency will help if the former Tennessee Titan proves to be an upgrade over Anthony Hargrove.
Jones, 25, has seen his sack totals decline by a half-sack in each of his four seasons, from five as a rookie to three last season. Seattle expects increased production as Jones, 6-foot-5 and 276 pounds, transitions from end to tackle.
The chart, from Ryan McTigue of ESPN Stats & Information, shows where teams running 4-3 schemes ranked in sacks from players lined up at defensive tackle last season. Seattle and Carolina were tied for ninth with 6.5, 11 behind league-leading Cincinnati.
Hargrove and Alan Branch had three apiece. Red Bryant had one-half sack from the interior.
Kennedy had at least 6.5 sacks in six of his 11 seasons, including 14 in 1992, working in a scheme requiring him to play the run first.
The Seahawks aren't going to get Hall of Fame production from Jones, of course, but they'll turn him loose against the quarterback on passing downs, welcoming whatever pass-rush spike they can get.