Former Seattle defensive tackle told reporters in San Diego Monday that the Chargers may have a more talented defense than the Seahawks.
It’s common for players who change teams to paint their new surroundings in the best possible light, especially in the off-season when there are no games to be won or lost.
So the comments of former Seahawk defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, as reported here by ESPN, that the new defense he is a part of in San Diego is more talented than the one he left behind in Seattle probably should be taken as what might be expected for a player trying to settle in with a new team.
Still, Mebane’s comments are sure to elicit at least a few playful comebacks among his former teammates in a Seattle locker room he had called home since 2007 — he was the longest-tenured Seahawk until he departed in March for a three-year contract worth $13.5 million and $5.5 million guaranteed.
It’s worth noting that Mebane appears to be saying only that the Chargers have more talent based on having more players who were selected more highly in the draft, and not that they are better on the field. It’s an interesting assessment given that Mebane knows the Seahawks took considerable pride in the idea that draft slotting matters little.
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Also interesting is a Mebane statement buried at the bottom of the story about how his role will be different with the Chargers.
“Up there in Seattle, everyone pretty much figured us out to where I got more double-[teams] last year than I got pretty much any year of my career,” Mebane is quoted as saying. “I think here, where you have five guys on the line of scrimmage, you don’t know who comes or when they are coming. So, I like the opportunity of getting more one-on-ones. It’s going to be awesome.”
No one ever disputed that Mebane had a real dirty-work role with the Seahawks, one whose value was far greater than his stats. But it’s also fair to say the team appreciated it, signing Mebane to a five-year deal worth $25 million in 2011 that was among the first big contracts handed out by the Pete Carroll/John Schneider regime.
It’s also hard to question the success of Seattle’s strategy with Mebane given that the Seahawks allowed the fewest points in the NFL each of the last four years — the first team in the Super Bowl era to pull off that feat — while also leading the NFL in run defense last year at 81.5 per game, capping gradual rise in that category that saw the Seahawks go from 10th in 2012 to seventh in 2013 and third in 2014.
FWIW, the Seahawks aren’t scheduled to play San Diego again until a home game in 2018.