Two preseason games remain for the Seahawks to sort everything out before having to cut the roster to 53 for the regular season.
But two things defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said today are becoming clear are the improvement of O’Brien Schofield at the LEO, or rush end, spot; and that they like the jumbo defensive line package that features Tony McDaniel at defensive end.
Schofield has been perceived to be in a battle with Benson Mayowa and a few others for spot on the roster as a LEO.
But at this point, it’s probably safe to write in Schofield on the roster.
“O’Brien Schofield is somebody who has stood out to me throughout training camp and the first two preseason games,” Quinn said today. “I think he has improved a lot as a pass rusher and we can all feel when a guy is going for it. And I think that’s true for O.B. in this training camp.”
Quinn noted that Schofield is playing defensive end only after playing both end and strongside linebacker last season, and that he also didn’t arrive until a week or so into camp last year, as well, after being released by the Cardinals.
“He got here during camp last year and was still trying to find that identity,” Quinn said. “Now being here with the off-season and being here though it all, it’s much different.”
Quinn also said he likes what he has seen so far of the team’s “jumbo” defensive line package, in which tackle Tony McDaniel moves out to play the five-technique end spot, a role filled last year by Red Bryant. That usually leaves Brandon Mebane and another tackle (Kevin Williams, Jordan Hill) inside, as well, giving the Seahawks three 300-pound plus players on the line.
“Some of the teams we are going to see, we need to play bigger,” Quinn said. “And in those games we feature more big guys. And then there are other games where nickel will be a bigger part of the package. And that’s why we really preach versatility as often as we can to know in games when we need to have rushers available, we will do that, and for games that are power power-oriented and really strong running games, we are going to need big guys in there to anchor down.”
Quinn said today it was an alignment the Seahawks actually practiced last year at times, but rarely showed in games.
“And then we made the decision in the off-season that he can be a guy we can feature to do that,” Quinn said.
McDaniel played end in 3-4 defenses in Miami and Jacksonville “so we know he has the history of doing it,” Quinn said.