Seahawks nose tackle Brandon Mebane will be placed on season ending IR, according to a report by Mike Garafolo (and confirmed by Dave Mahler), another huge hit to Seattle's defense. Mebane is one of the more irreplaceable cogs in Seattle's system because his unique combination of power, ballast, speed, quickness, and savvy. Bane's job of absorbing double teams and holding at the point of attack is unheralded, and his ability to anchor on the line allows Seattle's linebackers and safeties to fill in and make tackles. Simply put, Mebane has been a huge part of the reason that the Seahawks lead the league in run defense. Things will get a little dicey with him now out for the rest of the year.
In his place, the Seahawks will likely rotate a combination of Jordan Hill, Kevin Williams, Tony McDaniel, and Demarcus Dobbs at the nose tackle spot. Jesse Williams would have been an interesting option in relief but as we know, he suffered a knee injury in camp and was placed on the IR prior to the season. Greg Scruggs, likewise, could have been an option as a nickel nose tackle, but he was placed on the IR two weeks ago with a knee injury. DT D'Anthony Smith was with the team in camp but he is on the IR too. The hits just keep on coming for Seattle.
Seattle is working out DT Michael Brooks today, per reports. He had been with the team the last couple of seasons but got injured in training camp. He's apparently healthy now and could be signed this week if the Seahawks want to add some depth. I've liked Brooks in the past -- he's quick off the snap and does a good job of getting penetration to rush the passer, so he could be an option in some sets if the team decides to sign him.
The Seahawks could also shift to a heavier focus on their "Bear" fronts -- which resemble 3-4 looks with two defensive ends/outside linebackers stood up outside of three down linemen. Seattle's "Bear" fronts don't make Seattle a true 3-4 defense, but it allows them to go "heavy" on the inside with three bigger linemen, and let their linebackers get more action in the run defense. With the personnel that Seattle now has available to them (Bruce Irvin, O'Brien Schofield, Mike Bennett, Cliff Avril, Mike Morgan, Malcolm Smith, K.J. Wright and Kevin Pierre-Louis), this could be a real option. Right now, the meat of Seattle's healthy defensive lineup is at linebacker, even with Bobby Wagner out, so Seattle could choose to run some four-LB sets.