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A happy XXXL-birthday to Brandon Mebane
Brandon Mebane does everything in a big way.
From blowing up running plays with his disruptive presence in the middle of the line for the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense, to collapsing the pocket with his brute-force bull rushes on pass plays, the Seahawks’ 311-pound nose tackle does have a nose for the ball, as well as the size and strength to smother the player with the ball.
Wednesday is Mebane’s 29th birthday, so we send only the biggest birthday wishes his way.
Usually, we ask a teammate what he would get the birthday boy, if cost and circumstance were not an issue. But with Mebane, it’s so obvious there’s no need to ask: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Over the past three seasons, Mebane’s 157 tackles rank him second in the NFC among interior linemen – behind the Giants’ Linval Joseph (167); and fifth in the NFL – behind the Browns’ Ahtyba Rubin (179), Bengals’ Domata Peko (171), Joseph and the Titans’ Jurrell Casey (159).
He also has three sacks, eight passes defensed and two forced fumbles. But Mebane is one of those selfless players whose true contributions can’t be measured in mere statistics.
Mebane earned alternate status to the Pro Bowl in 2012, but it’s past time to erase the “alternate” and send this guy to Hawaii. As former defensive tackle Alan Branch said last December, “On the field, I’ve never seen a player like him. If he doesn’t go to the Pro Bowl, I’ll be surprised.”
Also count defensive coordinator Dan Quinn among the fans of all the things Mebane brings.
“Brandon has always been a guy inside that had really good strength,” said Quinn, who was Mebane’s position coach in 2009-10. “One of the things I think that sets him apart, throughout the league at defensive tackle or any specific guy at nose tackle, for a big guy he’s rarely on the ground. And inside, that’s easier said than done.
“There are so many combination blocks and double-team blocks where he gets underneath people and he can get a guy knocked back. He’s really strong. I think that’s the one thing, when he can get underneath you, it’s hard to deal with it. And I think one of the things that sets him apart is his balance.”
Mebane shares his birthday with opposite ends of the Seahawks’ historical spectrum, because Wednesday also is the 55th birthday of Ring of Honor strong safety Kenny Easley and the 24th birthday of rookie tight end Luke Willson (yes, he was born in 1990).