Overview: Bryant participated in four games. He missed most of training camp with a knee injury and more than half the season with a high ankle sprain.
What Went Wrong: While Bryant avoided the dreaded three letter injuries, and will not need doctors to cut up his bone attempting to simulate cartilage, a high ankle sprain is severe and can be reoccurring. Seattle needs a starter ready defensive tackle. That could be Bryant, but it can't be just Bryant. Assuming Rocky Bernard's departure, Seattle is very thin at defensive tackle and especially thin at the pass rushing, play making three tech tackle position.
Though Bryant flashed promise as a rotational tackle, his lone extended action, week four of the preseason, was an outright embarrassment. There's nothing wrong with an awesome rotational one tech. Seattle could have used one in its divisional matchup against Green Bay.
Quintessential Game: Oakland at Seattle
Bryant subbed in on Oakland's third offensive drive, replacing Craig Terrill. Excepting his occasional looks at the nose on goal-line five man fronts, Bryant played exclusively from the left defensive tackle position. In five of the six plays, Bryant was easily blocked out of the play, mostly by third string center (but playing right guard) Chris Morris. Morris, an organizational player on the bubble, must have thanked his lucky stars he pulled such an easy assignment in such a crucial game. Bryant's lone acceptable play, a read and react where he kept Morris out of his body and coasted left collapsing the hole, was noteworthy only because it broke the monotony of ineffectiveness. Bryant recorded the tackle, but really was but one in a sea of Seahawks defenders.
Morris made the team, but started only one game.
What Went Right: Bryant covered for a suspended Bernard and looked decent against the Bills. In that game, Bryant rotated with starter Craig Terrill. Bryant contributed three tackles, one for no gain, one after one yard and all four before the run "succeeded". Bryant wouldn't play again until week 7. Bryant played rotational mate to Brandon Mebane and looked like a natural at the one. That's probably his future. Though Bryant may have the potential to transform into a top notch three tech, it's more likely he sticks at the one and provides the kind of stout yet play-making depth Seattle expected out of Green.
Quintessential Game: Seattle at Tampa Bay
In that mold, after horrifying me in the preseason, Red Bryant looked lively and hard to block against the Bucs. He doesn't have Brandon Mebane's power at the point, but sheds blockers and is deceptively accurate seeking the ball carrier in close quarters. Two arms from under a body, tackling. It would be surprising to see Howard Green get back into the mix. Bryant is younger, developing and offers more as a run stuffer and future pass rusher. My only question is who assumes the 3? With Bernard likely ending his Hawk career this year, I'd think Mebane or Bryant would shift right, but while Bane is the better pass rusher, he's also the better run stuffer. Something to ponder as this season staggers, slumps and collapses dead.
Outlook: Bryant turns 25 on April 18. A season of lost development is absolutely not what he needed. Bryant played under Dennis Franchione at Texas A&M, and Coach Fran ran a defense designed to stop the option. Bryant looked outright awful at times at Texas. He looked outright awful in the preseason. He looked good in his regular season action, but played in the meager half of a rotation. Right now, whatever Bryant's potential, and it's still very, very good, Seattle must see Bryant as a rotational player that could be more.