Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Seattle stockpiling defensive linemen
By Terry Blount
RENTON, Wash. -- The Seahawks continue to stockpile defensive lineman, adding two more in the past two days. Seattle now has 11 defensive lineman who were not with the team one year ago.
The John Moffitt trade, which took two tries (first to Cleveland, that was voided, then to Denver the next day) resulted in Seattle acquiring Broncos defensive tackle Sealver Siliga.
The Seahawks also added defensive tackle Dewayne Cherrington, a rookie free agent from Mississippi, after releasing kicker Carson Wiggs on Monday.
Siliga, 6-2 and 325 pounds, is in his second season out of Utah. He had two assisted tackles against the Seahawks in the preseason game Saturday night at Seattle. Siliga already was at practice Wednesday.
“A true pro in the way he worked,’’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said of Siliga. “You could see his strength right away.”
Cherrington (6-3, 335) played college football at Richmond. Cherrington was not drafted, but signed with New England as a free agent before being released last week.
Both Siliga and Cherrington are longshots to make the 53-man roster, but the Seahawks coaches are trying to make sure they don’t come up short with the players on the defensive front.
The others who are new this year include Cliff Avril, Tony McDaniel, Michael Bennett, O'Brien Schofield, Martin Parker and Michael Brooks (veteran players who were signed and brought in), draft choices Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams, and rookie free agent Benson Mayowa.
Obviously, some of these men will be gone when cuts are made to get down to the 53-man roster (and eight possible practice squad players) before the regular season begins.
But a few of the newcomers have stood out, especially Mayowa and Schofield. Mayowa, a rush end from Idaho, has 2.5 sacks and four quarterback pressures in the first two preseason games.
Schofield, a fourth-year player from Wisconsin, has a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Schofield knocked the ball out of quarterback Brock Osweiler’s hands and recovered it in the backfield in the Denver game last weekend.
“We started him at linebacker and then moved him back to Leo (rush defensive end),” Quinn said of Schofield, who played three seasons for the Arizona Cardinals. “He’s doing well.”
Hill, a third-round pick from Penn State, also has looked strong at defensive tackle. He’s in the running for the starting spot at the 3-technique defensive tackle, a spot vacated when Seattle lost Alan Branch to free agency in the offseason. Quinn said no decision had been made there, but McDaniel and Jaye Howard probably have the best chance of earning the first-team spot.
Avril and Bennent, two proven pass-rushers, and McDaniel, a defensive tackle in his eighth season, were the biggest off-season acquisitions on defense. Bennett has played both tackle and defensive end. Avril has yet to get in a game, and missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury. He also missed mini-camp and OTAs with a foot injury, but the Seahawks are counting on him to be a major contributor this season.
It was clear after the 2012 season that the Seattle coaches wanted to upgrade the defensive front and improve their rush. With defensive end Chris Clemons still recovering from off-season ACL surgery and defensive end/outside linebacker Bruce Irvin suspended for the first four games, the Seahawks are trying to ensure they have enough quality depth to make an improvement in that area.