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Thursday in Hawkville: Seahawks piecing together their pass rush

Posted Oct 31, 2013

After waiting to get Chris Clemons, Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin back, the Seahawks have needed some time to figure out what their best pass-rushing combinations are and can be.

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 31, when the players held a Halloween practice to prepare for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at CenturyLink Field:

WORD OF THE DAY: COHESION

That’s the word defensive coordinator Dan Quinn used after Thursday’s practice when asked about the Seahawks’ still-evolving pass rush.

It was coach Pete Carroll who had said that it would take a while to figure out who should rush from where, and with whom, as the team was getting Chris Clemons, Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin back. Clemons missed the first two games while completing his rehab from knee surgery in January, Avril sat out the opener with the same hamstring problem that bothered him during the preseason and Irvin was suspended for the first four games.

But all are back, and joining a group of linemen that also includes the versatile Michael Bennett and defensive tackles Clinton McDonald and Tony McDaniel.

“One of the things that’s helped us is now that we’ve had a few weeks to have guys work together,” Quinn said. “Who’s a rusher, who’s the end, who’s the tackle? Or you’re running games or doing things together where they had to get some time accumulated together.

“Clem wasn’t here. Bruce wasn’t here. Cliff missed time. So now with those guys all being available they’ve had more practice ops together. So I think that cohesion is better.”

It certainly was against the Cardinals during the Week 7 game in Arizona, when eight different players combined for a season-high seven sacks. The Seahawks added three more sacks in Monday night’s game against the Rams in St. Louis. That pushed the season total to 26, after the defense produced 37, 33 and 36 in Carroll’s first three seasons.

The individual tally board now looks like this: Bennett 4.5; Avril 4; Clemons 3.5; McDonald 3.5; Irvin 2; and McDaniel 2. Six others also have gotten in on this improved rush: linebacker K.J. Wright 1.5; linebacker/end O’Brien Schofield one; linebacker Malcolm Smith one; cornerback Walter Thurmond one; and end Red Bryant and tackle Jordan Hill, half-a-sack each.  

The object of their attention Sunday will be Mike Glennon, the Buccaneers’ 6-foot-6 rookie quarterback. He has been sacked 10 times despite putting the ball up an average of 45 times in the past four games.

INJURY REPORT: MARSHAWN LYNCH SITS OUT TO REST KNEE

The official report, as issued by the team:

STAT DU JOUR: RED ZONE? NO, DREAD ZONE

The goal-line stand to preserve Monday night’s 14-9 victory over the Rams might have been the defense’s most memorable effort in the red zone during the Seahawks’ 7-1 start. But the Seahawks have allowed their opponents seven touchdowns in 20 possessions inside their 20-yard line for one of the best percentages in the NFL. Here are the leaders in that category:

Team Poss. TDs Pct.
Ravens 19 5 .263
Chiefs 10 3 .300
Seahawks 20 7 .350
Panthers 16 6 .375
Patriots 25 11 .440

Did not practice
FB Derrick Coleman (hamstring)
OT Breno Giacomini (knee)
SS Jeron Johnson (hamstring)
RB Marshawn Lynch (knee)
NT Brandon Mebane (not injury related)

Full participation
DL Michael Bennett (illness)
OG J.R. Sweezy (elbow)

Bennett and Sweezy were back after sitting out Wednesday’s practice, while Mebane was given the day off. Lynch did not practice for the second consecutive day, but he is expected to play in Sunday’s game.

Carroll also told Sirus XM Radio what has been apparent: wide receiver Percy Harvin will not play this week. “He’s getting close, but not close enough,” Carroll said of Harvin, who had hip surgery Aug. 1 and has yet to be added to the 53-man roster. 

For the Buccaneers:
Out
RB Jeff Demps (groin)
OG Carl Nicks (foot)

Did not practice
RB Doug Martin (shoulder)

YOU DON'T SAY

“He’s a lot taller than me. It’s like a giraffe compared to – what am I? – a zebra.”

QB Russell Wilson, who’s 5 feet 11, on Buccaneers QB and former North Carolina State teammate Mike Glennon, who’s 6-6

Limited in practice
S Mark Barron (hip)
LB Mason Foster (hamstring)
S Dashon Goldson (knee)
DT Derek Landri (back)

Full participation
OG Davin Joseph (knee)
WR Chris Owusu (foot)
DT Akeem Spence (wrist)
S Keith Tandy (ankle)
LB Dekoda Watson (shoulder)

UP NEXT: HELP TACKLE HUNGER DRIVE

“Turnover Thursday” gives way to “No Repeat Friday,” as the players will hold their final full practice before Sunday’s game.

But turnovers always are a theme for any team coached by Carroll. The Seahawks lead the league with 21 takeaways and are tied for the NFL lead with 13 interceptions, and they’re also 22-3 under Carroll when they win the turnover battle – including 5-0 this season.

Sunday also is the Seahawks’ Help Tackle Hunger drive, so fans are asked to donation nonperishable food items and/or money to benefit Northwest Harvest, which provides assistance to 360 hunger relief programs across the state.