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Big returns on a little wrinkle by Clare Farnsworth

The more Pete Carroll sees of Red Bryant at defensive end, the more the Seahawks coach likes the idea of giving the converted tackle a chance to make the defense bigger – and better

Since taking over as coach of the Seahawks in January, Pete Carroll has made enough adjustments to the roster and tweaks to the lineup to qualify for his chiropractor’s license.

None, however, have been bigger than giving Red Bryant a shot at playing defensive end.

The 330-pound Bryant has played sparingly at defensive tackle since being selected in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL draft. But his position, and participation, could be in for an overhaul if Bryant can play as well at end as once the pads go on as he has the past three weeks in practice.

“Probably of all the little things we have looked at and trying to experiment and such, that is the one thing that looks to be really, really positive,” Carroll said Monday after the team’s third OTA practice, but the first with the rookies participating.

What started as a why-not idea by defensive line coach Dan Quinn is blossoming into a possible look-what-we-found move.

Carroll likes to play a little lighter and a lot faster at the opposite end – a position he calls “Leo” and is being manned by 254-pound Chris Clemons. To make it really work, however, there must be some bulk on the other side – the end position that plays across from the tight end.

That’s where Bryant’s size could give the Seahawks a hefty advantage.

“The other end in the system really needs to be a very effective run defender first,” Carroll said. “We always want to rush the passer out of the defensive ends. But in the status we are in right now in the program, we have to get the five-technique position filled up with a guy that we know can play the running game.”

And the 6-foot-4 Bryant can fill that role. As Carroll put it, “If we were able to man the defensive end with a guy that weighs 330 pounds that is a good thing.” Then he cracked, “That is, if we can get Red down to 330. We are working on it.”

This the-bigger-the-better approach is an abrupt change for the Seahawks, who have played light at the end position for several seasons. The past three years, just-retired Patrick Kerney, a 272-pounder, was paired with either Lawrence Jackson (270), a first-round draft choice in 2008; or Darryl Tapp (270), who was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in March for Clemons and a fourth-round draft choice the club used to select 289-pound defensive end E.J. Wilson.

Jackson still is around, and played for Carroll at USC.

“The coaches are trying to figure things out,” he said. “And I’m trying to figure out the best way to prepare myself to perform, at whatever role they put me in. I’m a professional, so I’ve got to be able to do it.”

Whatever “it” eventually might be.

The coaches also can use Bryant and Jackson is running situations to maximize the bulk factor. In passing situations, they can go smaller and dip into a group of pass-rushers that include Clemmons and fellow ends Nick Reed, Dexter Davis and Ricky Foley, as well as linebacker Aaron Curry.

The wild card in all this potential shuffling is Bryant.

“You see we’ve moved some guys around,” Carroll said. “We’re trying to figure it out with Red Bryant over there right now. He’s been a very bright side of this change right now. We never thought of him as a defensive end when we came in here.”

Until Bryant forced them to think again.

“He’s worked really hard in the offseason program and he seems to be moving well and has taken to the position,” Carroll said.

Bryant would take to any suggestion that will get him on the field more after being active for 10 games in his first two seasons.

“It’s a great opportunity for me,” he said. “Any way I can help the team, any way I can get on the field, I’m going to take advantage of it.”

So far, better than good.

“We have a chance to find a lot of plays out of Red,” Carroll said. “He’s done a very, very good job. I know he’s in the best shape he’s ever been in. He feels good about himself and he knows his stuff and he’s looked effective.

“Until we get the pads on, we won’t know though.”

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One Response

  1. great Article Hope the seahawks can make the playoff this season since the mariners need help

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