Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks’ unproven pass rush even more of a concern: Dion Jordan to be out “a while”

The decision the Seahawks must make by Saturday on whether defensive end Dion Jordan will be able to return soon from a stress fracture in his leg has ramifications for other moves the team must take to get its 90-man roster down to 53 by the NFL’s deadline.
The decision the Seahawks must make by Saturday on whether defensive end Dion Jordan will be able to return soon from a stress fracture in his leg has ramifications for other moves the team must take to get its 90-man roster down to 53 by the NFL’s deadline. phaley@thenewstribune.com

The Seahawks’ successors to Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are not succeeding.

Five days into training camp, they aren’t even fully on the field.

Seattle’s issues with its depleted, unproven pass rush got more pronounced Tuesday when coach Pete Carroll said Dion Jordan is going to be out well into August because of a stress fracture in his leg. It’s opposite the one on which the pass rusher had offseason knee surgery.

“He’s going to be a while, yeah. The word is he’s going to be a while,” Carroll said following Tuesday’s fifth practice of training camp at team headquarters.

“He’s got some healing to do, so it’s going to be a while.”

The Seahawks expected Jordan to be their new starting defensive end opposite Frank Clark this season, as the replacements for the traded Bennett and the retired Avril. Jordan, 28 and a former first-round pick by Miami out of Oregon, impressed Seattle in five games last season in his return to the NFL.

Those are the only five games he’s played the last three years. He had his third knee surgery in 13 months this spring. Now, he and his Seahawks have a new concern.

Marcus Smith had been getting some fill-in time at end with Clark working back from wrist surgery in June. But Smith, another discarded former NFL first-round pick listed as a linebacker and wearing jersey number 44, is out indefinitely. Carroll says he thinks Smith has a strained hamstring.

Clark has 19 sacks the last two seasons. Seattle’s top draft choice in 2015 is entering the final year of his contract. He is also entering his first season as the team’s only proven pass rusher, because the Seahawks traded Bennett to Philadelphia months before fellow Pro Bowl end Avril retired this offseason.

Barkevious Mingo, yet another former first-round pick signed this offseason, and rookie sixth-round pick Jacob Martin were the pass-rush ends with the starting defense Tuesday. Rookie third-round choice Rasheem Green and Branden Jackson got time as the ends in base defense.

Mingo and Smith, before he got hurt, were also getting time at strong-side linebacker in base defense.

Clark has yet to practice fully in training camp. He continued to do more in position drills Tuesday.

Asked how concerned he is with his pass rush, and with Jordan’s injury in particular, Carroll said: “That was a position that we were really hoping he was going to be a factor in it. What we are seeing now is a combination of guys, and Frank isn’t getting all the work yet.

“We know Frank can be a really good edge rusher. Marcus and Barkevious are going to be big-time speed guys for us. But we are really excited about Jacob Martin. He’s showing up these first couple practices. He’s got a lot of burst and a lot of intensity in his rush.

“Those four guys may be the guys that make up the speed-rushing team.”

Not exactly a who’s-who of accomplished NFL sack guys.

Adding pass rushers had been the most obvious need for Seattle’s remade defense entering training camp. How much more are the Seahawks shopping around the league for help there now?

“We are always shopping,” Carroll said.

JANIKOWSKI BOOMS ’EM

Even Sebastian Janikowski’s misses impress Carroll.

The 40-year-old kicker Seattle signed this spring after his 18 years with Oakland was good from 33 yards, wide left from 38 and good from 43 before he lined up for a 53-yard try. The ball rocketed off Janikowski’s left foot and slammed into the upright so hard it made a boom.

The ball struck the post. Near the top of it.

“He’s pounding the ball,” Carroll said. “He knocked one up and I think it went off the goalpost today from fifty-something. The ball was two-thirds of the way up the goal post. His leg is strong as ever. He’s working really hard, he feels good.

“And it’s a great competition.”

With former Jacksonville kicker Jason Myers, that is.

Rookie punter Michael Dickson was Janikowski’s holder Tuesday. It had been veteran punter Jon Ryan on previous days.

ON THE SIDELINES

You can tell these are the first days in pads; the list of Seahawks missing practice grew Tuesday.

Wide receiver David Moore (hip flexor), defensive end/linebacker Marcus Smith (hamstring strain), rookie fullback Khalid Hill (who has a chance for a sizable role this season) joined wide receiver Brandon Marshall, tight end Ed Dickson, defensive end Dion Jordan, tight end Clayton Wilson, guard Avery Young, wide receiver Caleb Scott and defensive tackle Eddy Wilson in watching practice.

EARL THOMAS UPDATE

Carroll was asked if the team and holdout All-Pro Earl Thomas have had communication recently.

“No,” Carroll said.

EXTRA POINTS

Carroll on last weekend’s Seahawks contract extension for 11th-year veteran left tackle Duane Brown for three years worth up to $36.5 million: “He’s an amazing player (and) an amazing leader. He’s in unbelievable shape, his strength, his power...I mean, he’s got everything going for him. The fact that he comes to us and now that he’s been with us enough, that now he can assert himself as a leader, he’s going to be a big factor for us. Very, very positive move and really excited about having him.” ...The players get their second day off from practice of camp Wednesday on day six of it.

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