Inside and outside. End and tackle. Starter and backup. Antonio Cochran has done it all as a member of the Seahawks' defensive line. The group enters the week hobbled with injuries...
Inside and outside. End and tackle. Starter and backup.
Antonio Cochran has done it all as a member of the Seahawks’ defensive line.
The group enters the week hobbled with injuries to defensive tackles Marcus Tubbs and Rocky Bernard. Defensive end Grant Wistrom will miss the rest of the regular season with a torn ligament in his left knee. And Wistrom’s cohort on the other end of the line, Chike Okeafor, is playing hurt on a weekly basis.
Wistrom’s injury has opened the door for the persistent Cochran, who has quietly put together a nice season. He has been used as a defensive tackle in the team’s nickel defense most often, but he started four games for Wistrom at right end earlier in the season while Wistrom recovered from a cracked bone in his knee.
Now Cochran, who also started the first seven games of the 2003 season before losing his left-defensive-end job to Brandon Mitchell, is back in the spotlight again. He’ll start on the right side this weekend for the Seahawks against the New York Jets.
Cochran, in his sixth year, has 24 tackles this season. He is second on the team with five sacks, is tied for the team lead with two forced fumbles and is the only defensive lineman with an interception.
Defensive end is where he prefers to play, even though coach Mike Holmgren feels Cochran can be more valuable on the inside.
Cochran was deserving of a sixth sack when replays showed that Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper’s left knee was touching the ground on the last play of Sunday’s game. Holmgren lobbied for Elias Sports Bureau, which keeps official statistics for the NFL, to credit Cochran with a sack. But yesterday, a representative of the bureau said that could not happen because the final play was ruled an incomplete pass and was not reviewed by officials.
The Sporting News slapped an ignominious tag on Wistrom in a story that appears in this week’s issue, naming Wistrom to its “All-Overrated Team.”
Eight NFL scouts (one from each division) and two television analysts picked the team. Their consensus in choosing Wistrom was that he plays hard but hasn’t produced and has had trouble getting off blocks.
Wistrom, considered a leader on defense, has 38 tackles, 3½ sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in nine games.
He started Sunday but was not credited with a tackle before leaving in the fourth quarter.
Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher was dubbed the most overrated player in the league, according to TSN’s experts. Urlacher is a four-time Pro Bowl player.
The Seahawks can clinch a playoff spot if they win and the Carolina Panthers lose and the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears all lose or tie. The latter four are all 5-8.
Holmgren on the hiring of Tyrone Willingham as University of Washington football coach: “A really top-notch guy. Very bright, good football coach. I think it’s a great thing for the university. They got a great man.”
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org