Seahawks Insider

Morning links: Seattle Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons finds redemption in Seattle

Post by Eric Williams on Jan. 4, 2013 at 7:09 am with 31 Comments »
January 4, 2013 7:12 am
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons (91) participates during NFL football practice, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, in Renton, Wash. The Seahawks are scheduled to face the Washington Redskins Sunday in an NFC wild card playoff game. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

In my story today, after stops in Washington, Oakland and Philadelphia, Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons finally has found a home in Seattle.

Clemons’ name doesn’t roll off your tongue when you think of the game’s best pass rushers.

But the numbers don’t lie. His 33.5 sacks since 2010 are tied for sixth best in the NFL. All the players ahead of him on the list have been to at least one Pro Bowl during that time.

Clemons has not, though he is a first alternate this season after finishing with a career-high 11.5 sacks, tied for fifth in the NFC.

“Recognition has never really been my thing,” he said. “As long as my teammates and the coaches in this organization know how I play and how I go out and prepare each and every week, that’s all that matters to me.

“Those are personal accolades. That’s for somebody who wants to stand out. And I have nothing against it. It would be a great honor to represent my team and my position group in the Pro Bowl. But playing alongside these guys, I feel like we’ve got a better shot at the Super Bowl than worrying about a Pro Bowl right now.”

NFL SACK LEADERS SINCE 2010

PlayerNo.
*LB DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys46.5
*DE Jared Allen, Vikings45
DE Jason Babin, Eagles 37.5
*DE Cameron Wake, Dolphins 37.5
*LB Tamba Hali, Chiefs 35.5
DE Chris Clemons, Seahawks 35.5
*LB Aldon Smith, 49ers 33.5
DE Charles Johnson, Panthers33
DE Chris Long, Rams33
DE John Abraham, Falcons 32.5
*LB Clay Matthews, Packers 32.5

* –2012 Pro Bowl selection

Here’s my story on Brandon Browner, who talked to reporters for the first time since returning to the team after serving his four-game suspension. Also, Russell Wilson was named NFC offensive rookie of the month for December. The University of Wisconsin product elped direct the Seahawks to a 5-0 record in the month, completed 65.5 percent of his passes (74 of 113) for 1,067 yards and nine touchdowns. Wilson also rushed for 262 yards and four scores. His 115.2 passer rating in December was the highest in the league..

John McGrath of The News Tribune writes that Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and Washington head coach Mike Shanahan are of like minds. McGrath: “The weaving career paths of these guys have been crisscrossing for decades, which is not to say they are clones. Carroll, a defensive mastermind, is ebullient and animated, with a tendency to talk in sentences that can last longer than a drum solo. Shanahan, whose specialty is offense, answers questions with all the interactive flair of a cop jotting down a ticket for an expired parking meter. And yet their professional lives – and to a certain extent, even their personal lives – mirror each other.”

Bucky Brooks of the NFL Network provides a tale of the tape between Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch and Washington’s Alfred Morris. He also notes that eight of the 12 teams in the postseason have 1,000-yard rushers, pointing to the importance of having an every-down running back to tote the rock. Brooks rightly gives the nod to Lynch. Interesting read.

ESPN’s Mike Sando provides a statistical breakdown of the two running backs.

Danny O’Neil of The Seattle Times writes that despite the emergence of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch remains the heartbeat of the Seahawks’ offense.

Larry Stone of The Seattle Times provides a run down from Russell Wilson’s press conference with the media on Thursday.

Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com writes that cornerback Brandon Browner is excited for his first playoff game.

Brady Henderson of 710 ESPN Seattle writes that the Seattle’s run defense needs to be more consistent when the Seahawks face the top rushing offense in the league in Washington.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland provides a great breakdown of the Hawks-Redskins matchup Here is his prediction: “It’s always tough to explain this, and I’m going to pick a side by the tiniest of margins, but I think this is one that’s too close to call. Seattle is the better team in a vacuum, but they’re not the same team away from home and Washington’s strengths can match up reasonably well with Seattle’s weaknesses. The Seahawks are the healthier team, though, and I have my doubts that the Redskins will be able to stop Seattle’s running game. I think it’ll be a run-heavy, low-scoring game, but one that Seattle manages to pull out in the end. Seattle 16, Washington 13.

David Moore of USA Today profiles Russell Wilson.

Rick Maese of The Washington Post writes that Pete Carroll is rewriting his legacy in Seattle.

Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post reports that Washington’s secondary has been much better in the second half of the season.

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Leave a comment Comments → 31
  1. Two days from kick-off!

  2. Dukeshire says:

    I don’t know if it has anything to do with the game or not, but I’ve woken each of the last two nights at 2:30-3 am. I’m so excited for this Sunday and what’s to (hopefully) come after that.

    To me, Clemons represents Schneider and Carroll’s, not just eye for talent, but commitment and conviction to their vision of how they are going to build this “program”.

  3. Clemons also represents their knack to look outside the box, and find a player that may not have excelled, but with unique attributes that they can exploit/bring out. Clemons had a bunch of sacks his rookie year, then faded and seemed an undersized tweener DE/LB with no clear role…then we got him and gave him a role, tailored things to suit his talents, and the rest is history.

    I still wish Seattle and Clemons hadnt had the late-season dropoff in sacks, but then again you dont need it when youre blowing teams out.

    Still, the lack of pass rush makes me nervous. Irvin did very little over the last month of the season.

  4. Agreed, the Clemons trade was an early sign that Carroll and Schneider knew exactly what kind of players they were looking for, and at the time none of us understood what they were up to.

    I remember conversations here in 2010 when we all wondered who the Seahawks pass rushing end would be. They had a plan from day one and they executed it well. John Schneider deserves GM of the year.

  5. Dukeshire says:

    STTBM – Agreed and that’s what I was elluding to “conviction to their vision”. They do things their own way regardless what anyone else thinks is the “right” way. Don’t you love it?

  6. Been watching the coaches film online, and the more I watch Clemons in the late season games the more he impresses me. He was a demon against the Niners. He looked as fast and relentless in game 15 as he did early in the season.

    Meanwhile, I think Bruce Irvin’s performance has dropped off in recent weeks. I don’t think he has the conditioning to last a full NFL season going against the big OTs he’s been facing. Its a lot for a rookie, especially an undersized DE. I think we will see a different Irvin next year if he keeps improving his strength and conditioning.

    That said – Irvin and Clemons will be trading off Sunday rushing against RT Tyler Polumbus. Polumbus won’t be able to handle either of these guys. RGIII will be very tough to sack, but he’s going to be forced from the pocket a lot — for better or worse. I think forcing him to scramble will be in our favor because Bobby Wagner and ET will be able to chase him down.

  7. HawkFromDay1 says:

    So glad Danny O’Neil is pointing out that Marshawn remains the offensive MVP (maybe i’m imputing a little there, but you get the idea).

    Reminds me of 2005 when Shaun Alexander won the league MVP, even though Matt Hasselbeck was CLEARLY the MVP of the Seahawks. (And by clearly, I mean “clearly to me, but others are likely to violently disagree”) Russell is (and should be) getting a lot of pub, but we’re an 8-8 team without Marshawn.

  8. Dukeshire–yep, I love me some Schneider and Carrol, at least from a personnel-acquiring standpoint. Im not convinced Irvin will be better than all the other pass-rushing DE’s drafted below him in last years draft, but he did well enough to keep me from hollering, and he was the biggest supposed “reach” of their tenure thus far.

    Carpenter and Moffit I blame squarely on Cable. The guy whiffed, utterly. There’s still time for both of them to avoid bust status, but its running out–esp for Moffit. Carp we wont know anything about until he gets a full year in without any major injuries. But it looks like he’s a G for sure, and that means he wasnt a good pick at 25; he isnt DeCastro.

    Im very happy with most of thier picks, its crazy that we got guys like Lane, Sherman, and Sweezy so late. I dont even mind the failures like Dexter Davis (injuries) or the project players like Jameson. Ya gotta take risks if you wanna find diamonds in the rough…

    Ive always been Golden Tate’s biggest supporter (aside from his Mom!), and I always feel like rubbing it in when I see all the pro-Tate comments nowadays. You and I both said year 3 would be the one for him, though I had hoped he’d pick it up a little more last season. And Tate was a great pick.

    Now we need to find another stud DT to complement Mebane, and a big fast WR like Dez Bryant (with less Diva). Not to mention a fast LB with size and another G/RT. In Schneider I trust!

  9. Clemons is awesome. Love him.

    Lynch is the glue and seemingly always gets the really tough yards when you need them.

    R Dub is the unquestioned leader. seahawks.com had a great video of the game last week with him mic’ed up. Incredible poise and focus.

    You could tell he had something special in the summer. It’s been a great ride watching it all come together.

    Can’t wait for tomorrow let alone Sunday. I love Wildcard weekend.

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HAWKS!

  10. Stevos-I dont think its conditioning that is Irvins problem. The guys in better shape than anyone else on the team. Early in the season he was running around in practice like a chicken with his head cut off–guys were saying he practiced like he could run forever. While he isnt used to seasons this long, I dont think his conditioning is a major problem. He just seems to be unable to do anything except speed rush.

    Its odd to me that he’s 1 inch shorter and 10 lbs lighter than Aldon Smith, yet Smith seems so much more stout and strong; Smith is a total beast and is even good against the run, whereas Irvin is merely a speed rusher.

    I hope Irvin can become another Smith, or even close. Next year will be fun to watch him and the other second-year guys step it up!

  11. Southendzone says:

    Anyone concerned about Sweezy trying to pass protect against possibly the most creative defensive blitzing coach in the league this weekend?

    After what STL did to us last week at home, that is one of my biggest concerns going into this Sunday.

  12. jboard1 says:

    definitely worried about the pass rush this week with Sweezey in there. But it wasn’t just Sweeze that was giving up pressure, it was also Giac. SO i’m hoping they can improve that. Also, i hope they have some screens ready for when protection breaks down. And as always, with Wilson, he can scramble and make things happen. SO i’m hoping it wont be a factor in the game….can’t wait for sunday

  13. STTBM – all good points you make.

    That said, we can’t blame Tom Cable for Carpenter and Moffitt injuring their knees and having surgery. Nothing following those knee injuries can be judged fairly, in my opinion. They are both still in the midst of surgery rehab. Next year will tell us much more, they both may be solid future starters.

    Also, let’s not forget that Cable targeted and signed Paul McQuistan, who has played for four teams, but sat on the bench everywhere except on Cable’s teams, and McQ has been solid for us at three positions. Cable has had hits and misses for sure, but I think he really knows offensive line coaching.

    When I think back to Mike Solari and Alex Gibbs, and how they were supposed to rebuild our offensive line, and then I look at what Tom Cable has done, I just love this guy.

  14. nervous, stressed, and excited for Sunday . . . looking forward to this one more than any game in a very long time . . .

  15. Dukeshire says:

    I think Irvin’s issue is one of technique. He has very little in the way pass rush moves, aside from his pure speed. The overwhelming majority of the time if he isn’t able to get to the tackles outside shoulder, he gets pushed well pas the pocket / QB. And by his own admission he received little in the way of coaching at WV. He’s a work in progress that extends well beyond any physical limitations. A full off season I suspect will do him wonders regarding his consistency. Sadly, if it were a simple as a conditioning issue, he would have played himself into shape by now. I’m excited for his future; he’s loaded with talent.

  16. STTBM,

    You have my vote for most improved poster of the year. I thought you were a total jackass, but lately you’ve been a solid contributor. Keep up the good work!

  17. Audible–Like many here, I can be a total jackass from time to time. Also, Ive been guilty of allowing my personal and professional difficulties to leak over into my blog comments, which while understandable, is not conducive to rational, reasoned commenting! Thanks for the positive reinforcement though.

    Steveos–Good points, I hope youre right concerning Moffit. Knee injuries do tend to take more than a year to completely recover from, especially when youre 300 lbs.

    Alex Gibbs was burnt out, and the NFL has left him behind. Its an innovate or die league, and he wasnt innovative anymore. Solari, on the other hand, was trying to teach the ZBS to a group of never-were’s with little talent, when he was always a power-run blocking coach. The ZBS is totally different than his own style of blocking. So I dont think you can blame him for our line struggles; in fact, he’s now the coach of the Niners line, and they are kicking major ass all over the place. They are vastly superior to our line, at least so far.

    Solari is still the best line coach in the world, and I for one would love to have him back, and let him draft us a line. Since that wont happen, I will root for Cable to succeed but it still makes me gnash my teeth to see Solari’s line kicking but in San Fran…Grrr!

    Dukeshire–Yes, my thoughts exactly. Irvin is still very raw, technique-wise. I hope thats all it is, and not a lack of strength/power. He’s freakishly fast and agile, though, and that cant be taught. The rest can. He certainly seems to be a try-hard guy, too, which never hurt anyone!

  18. Irvin has a long way to go in his technique and learning, as you guys have pointed out. What I’ve noticed from rewatching the games is that he had some strength to bull rush a little bit earlier in the season – more than I expected – but I haven’t seen any of that strength in the past few games. He’s still very fast, but I think he’s worn down. And he lacks technique.

    Fortunately, he’s matched up against Tyler Polumbus this week, so he has a chance to make some big plays.

  19. On Bayless: he’s annoying. Like many East Coast Bias members, he talks about Seattle and their opponents as if Seattle has never done anything right, its simply that other teams have made mistakes. Bah! However, he has some good points;

    The Skins are fifth in rush D, five spots ahead of Seattle’s defense. They have achieved that without their two starting DE’s all year, too, which shows how smart Haslett the D-Coord is. Thats gonna be a hard row to hoe for Seattle’s O-line.

    However, the Skins passing D is not that good, and Wilson and his TE’s/WR’s are playing very well the last 5 games. As long as Seattle’s coaches dont get too conservative, and the line can pass block a little better than last week, we should move the ball.

    And I think if you look at the Skins and the Hawks over the last 8 games, Seattle is the superior team. We’ve had the harder schedule, and beaten more good teams, and won our last two road games. The fact that Seattle is 3-5 in road games this season is valid, but its not as important as the fact we’ve won the last two road games we faced, the first against a Bears team with Urlacher.

    The other guy arguing with Bayless is funny. I like his passion and intensity. And I think he’s right; if RG3 is 100%–and he might be–this is a far tougher game.

    I think Seattle wins, but a big part of this game will be clock management and scheme/adjustment by coaching staffs. And I now have far more respect for Shanahan and his staff than I did before this season. Those guys are smart. Carrol and company better bring thier A game.

  20. “I thought you were a total jackass, but lately you’ve been a solid contributor.”

    For some reason, that line made me laugh out loud sitting here at my desk.

    I think I picture hearing that in a year-end job review or something . . .

  21. RG3 has attempted and completed few passes over 20 yards–most of his passes are 7-15 yards. Seattle needs to play tough and close to the line, and beat those WR’s up, jamming them at the line to give their pass rush time to get pressure. They also need to ensure Thomas doesnt let anyone get behind him! Force RG3 to run, or throw deep with pressure in his face.

    Im worried about Mebane’s calf injury and the play of Branch and McDonald; the Skins line is playing well, and Morris is a total load.

  22. Barnwell’s article – linked by Eric above, is really a great, detailed read. It’s been a helluva year for our guys, esp the 2nd half of the season when RW and the offense too their game to a higher level. Maybe even the best stretch of quality play our franchise has had.

    This line got me too . . “The Seahawks haven’t trailed by more than seven points since Week 6 and have only been down by more than one score for a total of 28 minutes and 42 seconds all season.” That’s a fantastic stat.

  23. How does everyone *feel* today about this game? Nervous? Excited? Afraid (not necessarily scared, but afraid)?

    I’m definitely all of the above. But the one thing that stands out above all the emotions are my trust. I’ve really learned to trust what PC and the rest of the coaches/FO are doing with our team. Win or lose I trust we’ll continue to be competitive year after year for a long time to come. What more can a fan ask for? Oh yeah…a victory on Sunday! :)

  24. chuck_easton says:

    The good news for the Seattle D is that the Skins run the ‘pistol’ (is this the 2012 version of the Wildcat?) with the QB in a close shotgun with one or two RB’s behind/beside him.

    The pistol is the rage in college. RGIII ran it at Baylor. Kaepernick ran it at Nevada and now with the 9rs. Kelley runs it at Oregon. Newton ran it at Auburn. It is a one read and run offense.

    The D just saw this offense two weeks ago with SF. They did a great job of stopping it then. I think Kaep and Gore are just as dangerous as RGIII and Morris. SF has the better WR’s so I don’t think I’m as worried about the pass defense this weekend.

    Contain RGIII to the pocket and key on Morris and you stop the Skins offense.

    Sherman and Browner both have to play their best run support/shutdown pass coverage game and I think the Hawks can pull this out.

    Now, that being said, as a fan of this team I always dread the “what interesting way is the team going to find to shoot themselves in the foot this week?” thoughts. Hey, it always seems to happen.

    I’m just tired of hearing that the team hasn’t won a road playoff game since 1987. This is the year to end the drought. Just as long as Matty isn’t there to call the coin toss and exclaim that ‘we are going to score’.

    Lose this game this weekend and all the good work Seattle has done to build up their rep with the East Coast guys goes out the window without a win. Doesn’t need to be convincing. Dosn’t need to be by more than 1 point. Just WIN!!!!

    Now if Washington does pull out the W all we will hear is how much more dominant and better they are even if they win by less than 3 points.

    OK, enough of my rants. I’m going DEFCON 5 until after Sunday. Win or lose I’ll ‘see’ you all on here on Monday. My lovely spouse is at home preparing the house for hurricane Chuck as we speak. It will blow through Sunday about 3-5pm local time.

  25. Chuck–Actually, its worse: Seattle hasnt won a road playoff game since 1983.

    Until this weekend, right?!

  26. chuck_easton says:

    Yes. This is the team that can do it. You have young guys who aren’t going to know they are supposed to be scared.

    I still remember the 2005 team. As great as that team was there was still the talk that the only reason they won was because they were home for the entire play-offs.

    The team needs this win. If for nothing else but to shut up people like Skip the lip Bayless and Pete Prisco who both routinely pick against Seattle.

  27. Ewalters7354 says:

    Skip Bayless has no business being on t.v.That guy is an absolute scum.

    Knowing RW, he’ll challenge this Skins secondary if they wanna blitz like crazy(like Haslett can’t resist).Which leads me to believe that last weeks game was the perfect obstacle to overcome.The Skins are in many ways like the Rams with the overall scheme on D(minus the Skins base 3-4).So I believe Bevell and company will have this team prepared.Hopefully these guys don’t shoot themselves in the foot and give this game away.

    P.S. I’m so glad Orakpo won’t be there to embarrass Okung like he did last year…

  28. Losing on the road to AZ early in the season has absolutely no bearing on Sunday’s game. AZ was playing lights out D, and their offense was at least able to do something, the first 4 games of the season, THEN they fell apart. Also, our offense was basically operating at a Junior College if not HS level, and Wilson wasnt decisive or affective much of the time. That isnt the case now, and hasnt been since the fourth quarter of the Bears game.

    In fact, none of the losses has much to do with the current Hawks team, except the Miami game (and maybe the Detroit game). That was a game we should have, and could have won big; the players were sloppy, so Coach reined in the offense, and the D folded. I dont see that happening again, and Im kind of glad we dont have a bye week off. We do better just playing the string out, with a chip on everyones shoulders.

    I think the Rams game was the perfect opportunity to humble our guys without hurting thier spirit. The Skins D-line and LB’s arent as good as the Rams, but their coaching staff is awesome at masking their deficiencies. The Skins will try to blitz and bottle up Wilson in the pocket, and I think Seattle knows they better not run the same drop-back passing gameplan Sunday that they ran vs the Rams in the first half last week.

    Look for Seattle to try to isolate one-on-one match-ups, and for the Skins to try to use scheme to get away from that. Player for player, we got them beat; their coaching staff knows that and will try to out-think our staff.

  29. I think we need to control the run and we can win! But this game scares me, I feel we will win but I am not over confident that it will happen.

    Play-off games always worry me!!

  30. raymaines says:

    I’m going to give a big shout out Seahawk owner, Paul Allen.

    He seems to understand that being mediocre is easy and didn’t want any part of it. He hired JS & PC in part BECAUSE they had a different vision of how to build a football program, and seems to understand that such a different approach could lead to spectacular failure, but could also lead to spectacular success. He has essentially given JS & PC permission to fail, knowing that it could also lead to Super Bowls.

    So far, so good. Paul: You da Man!

    Go ‘Hawks

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