The Seahawks have placed run-stuffing, blocker-devouring defensive tackle Brandon Mebane on injured reserve because of a torn hamstring, ending what had been a standout season on the inside for the eight-year veteran.
The team brought back tight end RaShaun Allen by signing him off the Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad to fill Mebane’s place on the 53-man active roster.
The loss of Mebane comes five days before the Seahawks (6-3) play at Kansas City (6-3), which has the NFL’s fifth-ranked rushing offense with All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles, to begin a rugged, six-game stretch that will define the Super Bowl champions’ season.
Mebane was having the finest season of his career before he limped off early in last weekend’s win over the New York Giants.
“I mean, there is nobody like Mebane,” coach Pete Carroll said after the breaker of opposing offense’s double-team blocks got hurt.
“Kevin [Williams] will play a lot more in that spot. Tony [McDaniel] plays there and Jordan Hill will also play there so we will see how that goes and what kind of play we’re getting from the fellas and how it fits. All those guys are good football players. They’re all doing good stuff.
“Their makeup is a little different and their style. I mean there is nobody like Mebane. He’s a very unique player. He’s had, I think, the best season he’s had since he’s been here to this point — most consistent, best factor — so that’s a big hit to take. But our guys go in play good football too, so we will expect them to play up and maintain the level.”
Carroll says for now the Seahawks are happy with in-house options to fill-in for Mebane.
“We were really pleased with Demarcus Dobbs,” Carroll said of the newly signed free agent defensive lineman from San Francisco who made his Seahawks debut last weekend. “He did a very nice job in the snaps that he had, played really good in special teams too. That was a tremendous pick up. And (newly signed fullback) Will (Tukuafu) can play in there also, so we don’t have any problem.
“We’re always looking though. We’re always competing to find somebody.”
The return of Allen, who had been on and off the Seahawks’ practice squad this season, is an indication starting tight end Zach Miller isn’t likely to be coming back soon in his seven-weeks-and-counting recovery from ankle surgery. It also suggests Luke Willson’s sprained ankle from the Giants game may not be healing quickly, and that former Chiefs starter Tony Moeaki, signed last week, is not only going to make his Seahawks debut this weekend but will likely have a prominent role.
Moeaki has had 47 and 33 receptions in his only two full seasons in the league (2010, ‘12). He missed all of 2011 due to a knee injury and recently got an injury settlement with Buffalo to become a free agent. Quarterback Russell Wilson marveled last week how well Moeaki was catching passes in his first practice with Seattle.