By Brady Henderson
Red Bryant has done a few things the last two seasons that aren’t typically asked of defensive ends.
Along with emerging as a dominant run defender, Bryant has blocked four kicks and intercepted two passes, including one he returned for a score.
Of course, defensive ends are supposed to rush the passer, and Bryant hasn’t done much of that since moving over from defensive tackle following the 2009 season.
Defensive end Red Bryant has emerged as a dominant run defender but has just two sacks in his four NFL seasons. (AP)
He’s intent on changing that.
“The next step I want to take is being a more complete player, because I’ve got a (stigma) on me that I can’t rush the passer and I don’t believe that,” Bryant told Jim Moore and Mike Salk from the Sports Star of the Year banquet last Wednesday.
“In order for me to be a more complete player, you either got to put up or shut up. So it’s time for me to start showing people that I can get to the quarterback and so that’s my goal. That’s what I talked to my father-in-law (former Seahawks defensive end Jacob Green) about, and that’s what I’m focused on this offseason.”
Bryant has two career sacks, both coming since he became a starter in 2010. He has often given way to Raheem Brock in obvious passing situations, limiting his chances at sacks.
Bryant’s weight — most people believe he’s heavier than his listed weight of 323 pounds — would seem to preclude the speed necessary to be an effective pass-rusher. Bryant provided a few examples to the contrary, saying he doesn’t think he would need to get lighter to get to the quarterback.
“Look at Vince Wilfork, New England Patriots. This man is 375 pounds — he looks 375 to me,” Bryant said. “… Vince Wilfork, Haloti Ngata, these are tremendous, tremendous athletes, big men, and the difference between their game and my game, they’re getting it done.”
Wilfork had 3.5 sacks in the regular season and has added 2.5 in two playoff games. Ngata, a defensive tackle for the Ravens who is listed at 330 pounds, has 11 sacks over the last two seasons, including playoffs.
Bryant said determination can overcome any limitations presented by size, pointing to teammate Chris Clemons as an example.
“He done had 22 sacks in the last two years if I’m not mistaken, and it’s all mind,” Bryant said of Clemons. “Clem goes out there — he might be 245, 250 — and he goes against offensive linemen that’s twice his size. I’m talking about like 330, 340, athletic, long, but he refuses to be denied.”
Whether or not Bryant can improve as a pass-rusher isn’t the most pressing question for the Seahawks. Bryant is a free agent, and despite his previous limitations as a pass-rusher he would figure to generate a decent among of interest from other teams.
Bryant stopped short of saying he would give the Seahawks a hometown discount but seemed confident that both sides will come to an agreement.
“I believe the Seahawks are going to do good by me. They’ve been doing good by me since they drafted me. The Seahawks have been extremely grateful to me and my wife and have afforded us the lifestyle that we’ve been able to enjoy,” he said.
“I feel like they’ve been so good to me so whatever they decide what my value is, I’m pretty sure me and my agent will make that decision and it’ll all work out.”
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