Mebane Looks Forward to New Role


Posted Jun 19, 2009


Expectations have changed for Seahawks defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, and the 6-foot-1, 320-pound sparkplug is ready for the challenge. In his first two seasons with Seattle, the Cal graduate was charged with plugging the middle of line and occupying two offensive linemen so middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu could roam free of blockers and make plays.

But with fellow defensive tackle Rocky Bernard gone in free agency to the New York Giants, Mebane now will be asked to play the 3-technique for Seattle, considered more of a pass-rushing position for a defensive tackle.

Mebane's relentless motor and 5.5 sacks last season -- tied for the team lead in 2008 with Darryl Tapp -- has the Seahawks believing he can be a force in the passing game, and help improve the team's disappointing pass rush from last season.

And Mebane says he's up to the task.

"I think I can be real productive," Mebane said. "My role has changed from my first two years. There's a lot of opportunities to make a lot of plays playing the 3-technique. So right now I'm just learning from my position coach Dan Quinn. He's teaching me a lot of different things to look for to get me ready."

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

Is Aaron Curry a superstar in the making? During his short tenure with the Seahawks Curry has downplayed his star-studded potential in the NFL. "I wouldn't consider myself a superstar," Curry said during an interview with a Seattle-area radio station. "I'm just a regular guy playing ball."

But there's no doubting the talent of the explosive, 6-2, 254-pound product out of Wake Forest. The Seahawks have got a chance to see firsthand how Curry's athleticism translates on the football field. Although the team has been in just helmets and shorts during offseason workouts, Curry has shown explosiveness coming off the edge during pass-rush drills, along with the foot quickness to cover running backs and tight ends in pass coverage.

Curry said he's enjoyed participating in the team's offseason program, where he played outside linebacker and a little defensive end. "I've been having a lot of fun playing multiple positions and just going out every day and trying to find a way to get better," he said.

Seattle head coach Jim Mora has been pleasantly surprised by Curry's ability to rush the passer, which could give Seattle's defense some flexibility to use Curry as a defensive end in obvious passing situations. Curry also talked about the team's defensive scheme and how he fits in, saying it's very similar to the defense he played in at Wake Forest.

"We're going to have many dimensions to our defense as far as being attacking, or we can sit back and just play the pass," he said. "We're going to be aggressive. We're going to be relentless. So I should get a few shots on the quarterback."

Asked what will be the hardest adjustment to make in the NFL, Curry said the difference has been the attention to detail. Curry said he's also been impressed with the ability of the defensive backs' ability to cover the talented receivers Seattle has. "Every time I watch one-on-ones or I watch game film from last year, I'm blown away with their ability to cover receivers," Curry said. "In the NFL there's freaky athletes. And for the defensive backs to be able to cover, it's just amazing their ability to flip their hips, play with clean footwork, locate the ball, intercept the ball and make big plays with it.

"I just find it very amazing because it's something you don't see every day at the college level. You don't truly see these amazing corners, even though I played with one of them (Alphonso Smith, a second-round selection by Denver)."

Curry confirmed that he purchased his dream car, a midnight blue, Cadillac Escalade that is back in North Carolina. Curry also said he bought his mother, Chris, a new home in Carolina as well, and has found a place in Seattle. Asked how contract negotiations are going, Curry said he didn't know and he's letting his agent, Andy Ross, handle everything.

--The Seahawks completed their last minicamp of the offseason last week, but head coach Jim Mora doesn't want his team to forget what they've learned during their 48-day break. So Mora allowed players to take the playbook home with them, and also expects his players to continue to work in anticipation of the start of training camp July 31.

"As I told those guys during a team meeting this morning, now is not the time to slack off," Mora said. "Now's the time to pick it up and come back in the best shape of their life."

--Wide receiver Nate Burleson is headed for Arizona to train at Athletes' Performance. Burleson said he plans to be down there for a month, and that his agent Ken Sarnoff provided him with the opportunity to train at the workout facility for elite athletes. Burleson, who is still rehabilitating from reconstructive knee surgery, said it's important for him to come into camp in the best shape possible because of the competition at receiver, along with the fact that he's in a contract year. Burleson can opt out of his contract after the 2009 season.

"I don't think I can afford to relax too much," Burleson said. "There's too much at stake for this team, this organization. We're just trying to get our name back out there, trying to climb back to the top of the mountain.

"And for me as an individual, I want to go into this last year in the best shape of my career. And I know if I'm out here I might have some distractions. I might be tempted to travel or be tempted to vacate. But if I'm in Arizona and I'm working out five times a week, twice a day, I'm not going to be tempted to go anywhere because it's what I have to do."

--Rookies will report to training camp on July 30, with the veterans reporting a day after. The first Seahawks practice will be held on the afternoon of July 31.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We think that all three running backs fit our style of offense. They're all different, yet they all fit the style we want to run. I'm not going to say that there's a marquee name in our backfield that the whole nation knows, because there's not. But hopefully at the end of the year there is a marquee name, and it's one of the three guys we've got on our roster right now." -- Seattle head coach Jim Mora commenting on the team's situation at running back.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

FRANCHISE PLAYER: LB Leroy Hill: Tendered at 8.304M (tender withdrawn April 25; re-signed April 30).

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered)
--LB Wesley Mallard (not tendered as UFA June 1).
--C Steve McKinney (not tendered as UFA June 1).
--LS Jeff Robinson (not tendered as UFA June 1).
--WR Koren Robinson (not tendered as UFA June 1).

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED
--QB Mike Teel (6/178): $1.864M/4 yrs, $114,000 SB; 2009 cap: $338,500.
--S Courtney Greene (7/245): $1.793M/4 yrs, $43,000 SB; 2009 cap: $320,750.
--DE Nick Reed (7/247): $1.791M/4 yrs, $41,000 SB; 2009: $320,250.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED
--LB Leroy Hill: UFA; $38M/6 yrs, $15.5M guaranteed.
--CB Kevin Hobbs: Potential ERFA; $460,000/ 1 yr).
--WR Jordan Kent: Potential ERFA; $460,000/ 1 yr).
--LB Lance Laury: Not tendered as RFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LB D.D. Lewis: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--WR Ben Obomanu: ERFA; tendered at $460,000; terms unknown.
--WR Courtney Taylor: ERFA; tendered at $460,000; terms unknown.
--S C.J. Wallace: Potential ERFA; $460,000/ 1 yr).
--OT Ray Willis: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED
--DT Colin Cole: UFA Packers; $21.4M/5 yrs, $6M guaranteed.
--FB Justin Griffith: FA Raiders; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh: UFA Bengals; $40M/5 yrs, $15M guaranteed.
--FB David Kirtman: FA; terms unknown.
--CB Ken Lucas; FA Panthers; $2.3M/1 yr.
--TE John Owens: UFA Lions; terms unknown.

--LS Bryan Pittman: UFA Texans; terms unknown.
--DT Cory Redding (trade Lions).

PLAYERS LOST
--DT Rocky Bernard: UFA Giants; $16M/4 yrs, guarantee unknown.
--WR Bobby Engram: UFA Chiefs; terms unknown.
--QB Charlie Frye: Not tendered as UFA/Raiders; terms unknown.
--OG Chris Gray: UFA; retired.
--DT Howard Green: UFA Jets; $625,000/1 yr, guarantees unknown.
--TE Will Heller: UFA Lions; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--RB Maurice Morris: UFA Lions; $7M/3 yrs, SB unknown.
--LB Julian Peterson (traded Lions).
--FB Leonard Weaver: UFA Eagles; $1.75M/1 yr.
--OT Floyd Womack: UFA Browns; terms unknown.


Related Stories
Curry Says He's a Regular Guy
 -by NorthwestFootball.net  Jun 16, 2009
Mora Understands the Work Ahead
 -by NorthwestFootball.net  Jun 26, 2009
Redding, Branch Ready to Play
 -by NorthwestFootball.net  Jun 12, 2009

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