The news, first broken by Fox's Mike Garafolo, is a significant blow to the Seahawks. There had been some discussion that Mebane might be able to rehabilitate the injury and possibly return this season. Instead, the Seahawks placed him on season-ending Injured Reserve Tuesday.
Mebane, the longest tenured player on the team had been enjoying arguably the best season of his career. The 6-1, 311 pounder has good quickness, power and the short squatty frame to control the middle - traits that make him Seattle's most important cog in defending the run.
The Seahawks do not possess any one defensive tackle capably of fully replacing Mebane. Second-year pro Jordan Hill has the quickness and tenacity to play a key role but he'll struggle to anchor at 6-1, 303 pounds and has been a durability concern himself. Free agent acquisition Kevin Williams is much larger at 6-5, 311 and has some experience in Mebane's nose guard role, having occasionally been asked to play this role during his time in Minnesota.
Veteran Tony McDaniel may also be asked to switch from his typical five-technique defensive end role to help out inside. Like Williams, McDaniel (6-7, 305) is much lankier than Mebane and therefore he may struggle to win the leverage battle so critical on the interior. The Seahawks will likely explore free agents to help fill this role and reportedly worked out Michael Brooks on Tuesday. Brooks was with the team in training camp but was released August 26.
Pete Carroll spoke of the value the 29-year old run-stuffer brings to the team during his weekly Monday press conference.
"We'll have to see how things go," Carroll said. "Kevin [Williams] will play a lot more in that spot. Kevin, Tony [McDaniel] and Jordan [Hill] are all good football players and we'll see how it fits, but there's nobody like Mebane. He's a very unique football player and I think is having his best season since we've been here. That's a big hit to take, but we'll expect our guys to go in and play good football."
The timing of Mebane's injury is particularly tough. The Seahawks travel to Kansas City this weekend. Like the Seahawks, the Chiefs' offense is built around a dominant running game with Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles. Following the trip to Kansas City, the Seahawks will start a run of divisional games that includes the first-place Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers. San Francisco, in particular, loves to pound the ball with Frank Gore and rookie Carlos Hyde.
Torn hamstring lands Brandon Mebane on IR
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