One of the quieter offseason returns to the Seahawks was that of defensive lineman Tony McDaniel.
After an effective season on the interior — McDaniel had 53 tackles and two sacks in 15 starts — he became an unrestricted free agent. As was his hope, McDaniel came back to the Seahawks on a two-year, $5.75 million deal.
“They gave me a lot of opportunity, which I never had in my career,” McDaniel, entering his ninth NFL season, said. “I had the opportunity to start. Got a ring. Got another chance to get another ring. I was excited that they wanted me back and glad we came to terms.
“The whole time, even during the season last year, I knew my contract was going to be up and there were going to be some things that had to be handled. Immediately after the Super Bowl, I had my fingers crossed, hoping Seattle was going to try to sign me back. There was a lot of other teams that were trying to get me, but, at the end of the day, I really wanted to be here. So, I was happy that they showed interest.”
Pete Carroll said McDaniel will replace Red Bryant at five technique. That will be a smaller adjustment for him than last year, when he was playing three technique. McDaniel was often outside during his four seasons with the Miami Dolphins before coming to Seattle.
“A lot of people probably don’t know much about me and that I played there before,” McDaniel said. “I’ve got the body type — 6-7, 320. I definitely fit the body type to play end. It wasn’t a big deal to move out there.”
Jamming things up on the outside is not a position of glory, something McDaniel is aware of. But, it’s an important spot for the Seahawks, primarily on early downs. Seattle can do a lot of mixing and matching — like last year — with McDaniel outside and possibly Kevin Williams, Jesse Williams or Jordan Hill at an inside spot with Brandon Mebane. As you’ll recall, Bryant played a much higher percentage of snaps against run-dominated San Francisco as opposed to the rest of the league last year.
“You might be in the fit correctly and the guy next to you makes the play,” McDaniel said. “As long as you handle your gaps, you know that you’re playing well.”
And, really, he has affinity for either spot. His preference depends on mood.
“When I’m at the 3-technique, it’s a little more physical and rough and banging,” McDaniel said. “Then, when you’re out at the edge, you’ve got to be a little more finesse and you’re kind of more on an island. Some days, I feel like fighting and battling more, some days I feel like being out finessing. Kind of work hand-in-hand.”