Person of Interest: Broncos DT Terrance Knighton

Jan 28, 2014, 11:10 AM | Updated: 3:05 pm
Broncos nose tackle Terrance Knighton, known as “Pot Roast,” is the key to Denver’s run defense. (AP)

By Brady Henderson

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Taking a closer look at another key player in Super Bowl XLVIII, Denver’s Terrance Knighton:


• Position: Nose tackle, run-game disrupter
• Height: 6-3
• Weight: 330
• Age: 27
• Experience: Fifth season

The storyline

The man nicknamed “Pot Roast” was carrying around some excess beef when he signed with Denver in March after spending his first four seasons in Jacksonville.

“He worked very hard to get his weight in order,” Broncos coach John Fox said.

Losing that weight – 15-30 pounds, depending on who you ask – was a significant step in Knighton becoming a run-stuffing force in the middle of Denver’s defensive line. The Broncos finished the regular season tied with Seattle for seventh against the run, and Knighton’s presence was a big reason why.

As for his nickname, its origins trace back to a 2009 game against the Seahawks in Seattle and a dinner menu on the return flight to Jacksonville that included pot roast and shrimp alfredo.

“It was dark on the plane, everybody was sleeping and the stewardess was saying, ‘pot roast, pot roast’ and I raised my hand as if that was my name,” Knighton said. “The guy behind me was like, ‘I’m going to start calling you Pot Roast now.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, whatever,’ and it stuck with me.”

Sure beats the alternative.

“I’m just glad I ordered that instead of shrimp alfredo,” he said.

The statement

Knighton is the type of interior defensive lineman who takes up space, occupies blockers and clogs running lanes, which means he can play lights out without filling up the stat sheet.

He can do that as well, though. Just look at the AFC Championship Game when he had four tackles – including one for a loss – to help Denver shut down LeGarrette Blount. The Patriots’ running back had rushed for 166 yards in the divisional round, and when he gained 6 yards on five carries in the AFC title game, it was only the second time in postseason history that a player has been held to single digits a week after going for at least 150.

Knighton added a sack in that game just for good measure, beating Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins with a nifty swim move that showed he has agility to go along with all that power.

“He’s a monster. He’s just a monster,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s a very committed guy – when he’s going his direction, you can’t stop him and. … Very, very strong guy that has good quickness and has good sense for the game. He’s not always where we expect him to be. He can play a gap and then come back in the back door and still make his plays because he has enough quickness to do that with this wonderful strength that he has.”

The running game is the focus of Seattle’s offense even in ideal conditions. That figures to be the case for the Seahawks even more so if the weather on Super Bowl Sunday is especially inconducive to throwing. That makes controlling Knighton a priority for center Max Unger and the rest of Seattle’s offensive line.

“He’s a very, very formidable force for us, and he’s the problem that starts right in the middle of their defense,” Carroll said. “For us, it all begins there. The matchup between he and Max is very crucial in this game.”

Brady Henderson

Rees Odhiambo, a 2016 third-round pick, will compete with Matt Tobin to start at left tackle. (AP)...
Brady Henderson

Tom Cable: Rees Odhiambo, Matt Tobin are Seahawks’ preferred LT options

Tom Cable brought a bit of clarity to the Seahawks' plans at left tackle in the wake of George Fant's season-ending knee injury, saying Tuesday that Rees Odhiambo and newcomer Matt Tobin are the top two options.
5 years ago
Left tackle George Fant suffered an injury in the first half of Friday's preseason game. (AP)...
Brady Henderson

Seahawks injury updates: George Fant set for surgery, K.J. Wright returns

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday that left tackle George Fant is expected to be back by next season from the knee injury that will sideline him in 2017.
5 years ago
Matt Tobin, 27, started 21 games over seasons with the Eagles. (AP)...
Brady Henderson

Seahawks acquire OL Matt Tobin in trade with Eagles

The Seahawks have acquired offensive tackle Matt Tobin in a trade with the Eagles, making another move to shore up their offensive line after losing left tackle George Fant for the season.
5 years ago
Luke Joeckel played left tackle for his first three NFL seasons. (AP)...
Brady Henderson

Luke Joeckel? Rees Odhiambo? A look at the Seahawks’ LT options with George Fant out for the season

The Seahawks need a new plan at left tackle with George Fant out for the season. Moving Luke Joeckel there is one option, writes Brady Henderson.
5 years ago
Michael Bennett on Justin Britt standing by his side during the national anthem Friday night: “I ...
Brady Henderson

Justin Britt stands by Michael Bennett during national anthem: ‘A very emotional moment’

Seahawks center Justin Britt showed his support for teammate Michael Bennett Friday night, standing by him as Bennett remained seated during the national anthem.
5 years ago
Left tackle George Fant suffered an injury in the first half of Friday's preseason game. (AP)...
Brady Henderson

Seahawks’ George Fant needs ACL surgery, likely out for season

The Seahawks' offensive line was dealt a massive blow with left tackle George Fant suffering a knee injury Friday night that will likely keep him out all season.
5 years ago
Person of Interest: Broncos DT Terrance Knighton