Chris Clemons hoping to apply pressure off the edge

Published on May 27, 2010 by     

Two sacks. That’s what the Seattle Seahawks defense managed over the final five games of the season.

And that was before Tapp was traded, Patrick Kerney retired and Redding left for Baltimore as a free agent.

That doesn’t necessarily place pressure on Chris Clemons, the one pass-rushing addition Seattle made this offseason. More accurately, the question is whether he will provide the pressure coming off the right end position that is referred to as the Leo in Seattle’s defensive schematics.

“Chris Clemons has really improved a lot,” coach Pete Carroll said earlier this week. “I think that was a very good move for us. Chris has shown terrific speed. He’s really into what we are doing. He is a disciplined football player. I really like him at the spot we are playing him. So far that has gone well.”

Clemons was acquired from Philadelphia along with a fourth-round pick in the trade for Tapp. A linebacker in college at Georgia, he entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2003 and found a foothold in the league because of his pass-rushing skills.

He played the past two seasons in Philadelphia where he was used sparingly, estimating he was on the field for 100 or so plays last season. More than half of those called for him to drop back into coverage.

The trade to Seattle opens up a fresh start.

“I felt comfortable when coach [Andy] Reid told me they were trading me out here because I knew looking at the situation in Seattle, they didn’t have the pass-rushing pressure they wanted last year,” Clemons said earlier this month. “I knew I still had that skill set. And that was something that I wanted to still prove to myself first of all that I could still do it. I never doubted myself, but you wonder what everybody else is thinking because they’re not allowing you to do what they brought you in to do.”

Well, he’s going to have that chance this year. He’s currently the first-team Leo, a spot where Nick Reed and Canadian import Ricky Foley are also playing.

Aaron Curry is strictly a strong-side linebacker at this point, but Carroll is looking to rush him from that spot as well.

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