Focus on: Clinton McDonald

Posted Dec 19, 2013

Since being re-signed by the Seahawks two weeks into the regular season, versatile tackle Clinton McDonald has been cleaning up by doing the dirty work for the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense.

The Clinton McDonald who was released by the Seahawks on their roster cut to 53 player in August is not the same Clinton McDonald who has been a cut above since being re-signed two weeks later.

Just ask Pete Carroll.

“I’ve asked him and talked to him about that, because he’s been different,” the team’s fourth-year coach said when asked about the versatile defensive tackle. “He’s more active. He did lose some weight. He just seemed to be quicker and more active and by far the best we’ve seen him.

“And he’s been very consistent, too. He’s played real well and done a great job. It just seemed like something happened. It’s like the light went on or the sense of urgency changed.”

That will happen when you’re not only released, but a surprising release – and surprised by the release.

“He said that he had never been cut before; he’d kind of been released and brought back. This was the first time he really felt it, and sometimes you’ve got to learn the hard way.”

McDonald is not only back, he’s returned with a vengeance.

Entering Sunday’s big rematch with the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field, McDonald has 4.5 sacks, which ties him for third on the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense. He also has 27 tackles, which is third among the D-linemen behind tackle Tony McDaniel (46) and nose tackle Brandon Mebane (33). And he has 10 QB hits, which is fourth on the team.

In Sunday’s 23-0 win over the New York Giants, the Seahawks’ first shutout since blanking the Cardinals 58-0 at CenturyLink Field last December, McDaniel was ill. So McDonald stepped in to start and was a disruptive presence.

Asked about all this, McDonald, who’s down to 285 pounds after playing this summer at 297, decided to let his action speak for him.

His actions, as well as his coaches – who were more than happy to oblige.

“Clinton is a guy who’s having a terrific year,” defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said after Thursday’s practice. “He plays in all the packages and he’s really provided some inside rush for us. The ability to have a guy who can push the pocket where the QB can’t step up and now have some of the outside guys get him, that’s the dirty work.

“And Clinton is a guy who can push the pocket. He provides a lot of value to our team.”