Brandon Mebane explains Kam Chancellor’s unique role in Hawks’ defense
The first time Brandon Mebane saw Kam Chancellor, he wasn’t quite sure what he was looking at.
“I was like, ‘Man, I don’t know if they got a linebacker or D-end or what,'” Mebane told 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton Monday. “Because the way he was built, it was just different from all the other safeties I’d seen throughout my career.”
One day after Chancellor appeared to announce his retirement from the NFL, Mebane joined Clayton to offer an interesting look back on the four-time Pro Bowler’s beginnings in Seattle and his impact on the team’s record-setting defense.
Mebane was in his fourth year as a defensive tackle for the Seahawks by the time Chancellor entered the league. Seattle had selected Chancellor in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft and he began the season third on the depth chart at strong safety.
“Kam was one of those players who when he came in, he came in quiet and did what he needed to do,” Mebane said. “(He) learned the defense, and took it to a whole ‘nother level. A whole ‘nother level.”
Chancellor recorded his first career tackle in September of that year – forcing a fumble from then-Chargers’ running back Darren Sproles on a punt return – and over the course of eight seasons with Seattle, ultimately finished with 489 tackles, two sacks, 15 interceptions, and one touchdown (regular and postseason).
Mebane also explained Chancellor’s vital role to the defense, one especially suited to his body type and athleticism.
“He was very intimidating to a lot of teams, because if you look at the defense, Kam would be in the box. And when Kam is in the box, Kam is the unblocked player,” Mebane said. “And so you can’t really account for him. It was pretty hard to block that eighth person because say, like, if you singled me or somebody on the defensive line and you try to go up to (Chancellor), then you’re probably going to get a tackle for loss. So you’ve got to pick your poison: are you going to get a tackle for loss or maybe try to get a four or five yard gain and hope he don’t read it and come up like a linebacker at safety. Those are some of the great things that Kam did … When you see defenses spread throughout the NFL, you see a lot of coaches (try) to mimic and have the type of guy in the box that’s like him. It’s going to be hard to try to replace that type of player.”