Run Defense Gets a Boost

As far as the Seahawks’ run defense is concerned, a lot of attention is on Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant — namely, the fact that Bryant is on injured reserve with a bad knee injury.

But a name that gets overlooked sometimes is the guy returning to the lineup this weekend: Colin Cole.

Cole, the nose tackle acquired from Green Bay two seasons ago, has played a huge part in shaping Pete Carroll’s defense. In just the four games he’s been active with Brandon Mebane alongside him, the two have allowed an average of 80 rushing yards per game. Without Cole, the run defense allowed an average of 149 yards in eight games. As we all saw in the Chiefs game, Cole’s presence was sorely missed.

Returning to a full participant in practice this week, Cole says he’s ready to go against a critical matchup in San Francisco on Sunday. The 49ers lost Pro Bowl RB Frank Gore to a fractured hip two weeks ago, so Cole and Mebane will be lining up against a committee approach featuring Brian Westbrook and Anthony Dixon. The combination of having Cole back and not needing to game-plan for Gore means more attention can be focused on stopping Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree in the air. Aaron Curry will have his work cut out for him in coverage against Davis, who’s burned him in the past.

Notes from Wednesday’s practice:

  • The Seahawks will start the same offensive line combination for the third consecutive week, which by now is probably some kind of franchise record. This means Mike Gibson gets another start at left guard next to Russell Okung at left tackle. Chris Spencer remains at center, with Stacy Andrews at right guard and Sean Locklear at right tackle.
  • WRs Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu missed practice again, and Carroll said he’d have an update on their statuses later in the week. Williams in particular could be another game-time decision for the third time this season.
  • TE John Carlson returned to practice from a hip ailment yesterday. Look for him to get his starting spot back on Sunday, but it’ll be interesting to see how the team wants to keep using Cameron Morrah after his promising show against the Panthers.
  • Photographer Rod Mar took some nice photos of Wednesday’s practice.
  • And finally, this is a seriously entertaining NFL Films production of Matt Hasselbeck being mic’d up during Sunday’s win over Carolina. Is there a category for “most entertaining QB” in the league?