Thanks to blog follower JoeInKirkland's post last night, I did a bit of digging and found that Jordan Hill is the 17th Seahawks player to go on the injured-reserve list for the 2014 season. By comparison another division winner, Pittsburgh, had three.
Of course, usually the higher the IR count the worse a team's season sinks. The New York Giants had the most players on injured reserve in the NFL for this season, 22 -- and finished 6-10.
But this is another example of how deep and young Seattle is. It's the fifth-year product of all the roster overhaul and then constant tweaking and mixing and matching general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have done since they arrived in January 2010.
The Seahawks (12-4 entering their playoff opener Saturday night) used their depth and youth to bull through all the IR losses to become the first team since the 1989 and ’90 San Francisco 49ers to win the Super Bowl as a top seed then earn a No. 1 conference seed again the following postseason.
In any condition it's no small feat for Seattle's defense to become the first unit since those of the 1969-71 Minnesota Vikings to lead the league in fewest points allowed for three consecutive regular seasons. Or for the offense to lead the league in rushing.
It's all the more remarkable to do it while 17 guys were lost for the season on injured reserve.
I mean, Seattle has used four different starters just at center this season, including Patrick Lewis, whom the cut in August and re-signed in October. Offensive line coach Tom Cable had nine different starting blockers playing 10 different positions up and down the line. The Seahawks lost their starting fullback, Derrick Coleman, to a shattered foot -- suffered in pregame warmups minutes before the October game at St. Louis.
"I think the thing that stands out the most is I think the coaches did a really good job of developing the backup guys, so that when the time came for them to be called on, we didn’t lose anything," coach Pete Carroll said. "We didn’t have the continuity in the offensive line much of the year and I think time did a great job fitting guys together and making it work. We led the league in rushing and that’s hard to do that.
"I think that kind of across the board was the fact that the coaches continued to develop everybody on the roster and so that when they were called to play they’d fit in and they excelled and there’s numerous examples of that and we were very fortunate. I think it’s also a statement about John’s (Schneider, the general manager) work on the roster to make sure we have great depth and all of that. But we lost a lot of guys. .. we weren’t free of injury but we had very good fortune with the guys stepping up and making plays and the young guys coming through."
Hill was one of those guys who helped -- immensely over the last six games -- the defensive line's depth after nose tackle Brandon Mebane went on IR with a torn hamstring. Now it's Demarcus Dobbs turn to step in for Hill as the first defensive tackle off the sideline in passing situations Saturday night when Seattle hosts Carolina in the NFC divisional playoffs.
Dobbs himself is just getting over an ankle injury. The Seahawks got him off waivers from San Francisco in early November.
Now he's part of the mantra the Seahawks have been reciting since before August: Next man up.
THE SHELVED 17
Seahawks who've been put on the injured-reserve list for the 2014 season:
Date onto IR
WR Taylor Price 7/29
TE Anthony McCoy 7/31
DT Jesse Williams 8/1
LB Heath Farwell 8/26
CB A.J. Jefferson 8/26
G C.J. Davis 8/26
DT D'Anthony Smith 8/30
C Lemuel Jeanpierre 9/3
DB Jeremy Lane 9/8 *with designation to return
DE Cassius Marsh 10/18
FB Derrick Coleman 10/25
DE Greg Scruggs 11/5
C Steve Schilling 11/8
DT Brandon Mebane 11/11
TE Zach Miller 11/12
LB Kevin Pierre-Louis 11/28
DT Jordan Hill 1/6