By now you’ve probably heard that te MRI confirmed that Chris Clemons has a torn ACL and will be out for the remained of the playoffs. This is a huge loss for the Seahawks.
Dec 16, 2012; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons (91) sacks Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) during the second half at the Rogers Centre. Seahawks beat the Bills 50-17. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Clemons was the Seahawks most consistently productive pass rusher, and has been the only guy the Seahawks have been able to count on to get sacks over the past 6 weeks. Replacing his pass rush production wont be easy.
Seattle only has 3 other DEs on the roster. Bruce Irvin will take Clemon’s spot and play most of the downs in the Leo position. He isn’t as good in against the run, so Gregg Scuggs will take his spot in short yardage and goal line situations, but most of the snaps there will be given to Irvin.
The problem comes on the other side of the line. Red Bryant is a beast of a run stuffer, but he’s practically useless on passing downs. Providing pressure on that side was Irvin’s job, but he’ll be bust on the other side. Scruggs isn’t available either; his job on passing downs is relieving Alan Branch at the 3-tech DT spot and an providing interior pass rush.
The Seahawks need another pass rushing DE, and there isn’t one on the roster. There isn’t one on the practice squad either. Clearly they need to add one, and whoever they add will have to play a significant number of snaps on Sunday.
Had this happened near midseason, I would have expected the Seahawks to sign Cordero Law. Law was with the Seahawks in training camp and impressed. He simply lost out to the numbers crunch when the final roster was constructed.
I just don’t think that’s an option now. I don’t think you sign someone who hasn’t played or practiced since August and Expect them to be productive in a playoff game in January. The Seahawks will need to sign someone who was recently cut, or someone who is currently on another team’s practice squad.
The obvious player for them to go get would be former Falcon’s DE Ray Edwards. Edwards worked out the Seahawks around Christmas, but the Seahawks decided to add a LB to the roster instead since they had injury at that position at the time.
Pete Carroll hinted at another option during his press conference today. The Seahawks may simply add another linebacker. LBs KJ Wright, Mike Morgan and Bobby Wagner were all used as pass rushers in college. Bringing one of them up from LB to DE in the nickel defense could be a simple answer to solving this problem.
Of course, it also creates a new problem. Wagner and Wright are the best options at DE, but they are also the team’s LBs in the nickel package. Moving one of them means that someone else would have to come off the bench and fill in there.
Stay tuned. This is a burning question for the Seahawks, and one we’ll be watching very closely this week.