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On the Seahawks' defensive line shuffles

7/31/2011

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks' thinking on their defensive line came into clearer focus Saturday.

The newly signed Alan Branch will indeed back up Red Bryant at defensive end, but that's not all. Branch also projects at defensive tackle and could start at the three-technique spot. The versatile Brandon Mebane will move back to nose tackle, a position he played early in his career. Mebane recently signed a long-term contract to remain with the team.

What does Mebane's move mean for veteran nose tackle Colin Cole? Coach Pete Carroll was vague, noting that Cole would be sidelined indefinitely while recovering from an ankle injury.

"It would be great to have him competing at the spot if he’s right because we know he’s played," Carroll said.

Carroll was much more effusive about Branch, who signed in free agency from Arizona.

"Alan Branch was a really important guy to get," Carroll said. "He tore us up last year. He is a guy that has not been maybe recognized yet and we're hoping to bring him out. He’s one of those guys that needs to emerge into the talent level and the potential that he has. Hopefully we’re going to be able to do that and he’ll help us. "

Carroll envisions Mebane and Branch pairing together on the interior. Branch will also back up Bryant.

"He has a unique body type, a monster of a guy, 6-5 and 330, just like Red," Carroll said. "We think where it was difficult in the draft to find that guy, we have been looking for this guy to come to us. We thought he had the ability to fill that dual role for us."