Tony McDaniel and Clinton McDonald were basically battling for a roster spot in training camp. Maybe it was something about having only one McD so Pete Carroll wouldn’t confuse them.
McDaniel won the battle temporarily as McDonald was released in the final cuts. But McDonald returned after missing only the opener, and now they both have become integral pieces to the defensive line.
They dominated the line of scrimmage against Jacksonville, with 11 combined tackles. McDonald had 1.5 sacks.
McDaniel, who was a part-time player with the Miami Dolphins the past four years, didn't show very much in the preseason due to a groin injury, but the seven-year veteran has started every game for the Hawks.
He had five tackles and a fumble recovery against Carolina. He had six tackles against Jacksonville, including stopping Maurice Jones-Drew for a loss on the second play.
"Tony McDaniel did really well," coach Pete Carroll said Monday on 710 ESPN. "He owned the line of scrimmage and did some great stuff."
So did McDonald.
He was due to make $1.32 million on his restricted free agent tender, so they saved some money by cutting him before the opener.
“I was a little surprised when they released me, but at the same time I knew it was a possibility – regardless of whether you’re Peyton Manning or you’re the last guy on the 53-man roster,” McDonald told Seahawks.com. “So it’s always a thing in the back of your mind, but it’s always surprising when teams go that way.”
But, with McDaniel and Brandon Mebane nicked up, they brought McDonald back two days before the 49ers game in Week 2. He replaced offensive tackle Mike Person on the roster.
McDonald was active against San Francisco, harassing Colin Kaepernick a couple of times. And then he was close to dominant against the Jaguars, sacking Chad Henne once on a bull rush and sharing a sack with Michael Bennett. Carroll singled out McDonald as well: "He came in and caused some problems for them."
The Hawks saved about $600,000 on the transaction -- money they then had to use to sign a replacement for Russell Okung -- but instead of dumping McDonald to add more offensive line help, they let D'Anthony Smith go this week.
Looks like the Hawks are now OK McDoubling down.
Bennett has been a standout as well -- playing all over the line.
Against San Francisco, he sacked Kaepernick once and hit him twice more while adding two tackles for loss. Against Jacksonville, he added 1.5 more sacks and four other hits.
After the Jacksonville game, Carroll told reporters, "He has demonstrated that he can do a lot of stuff. If you looked at the difference spots he lined up, that was about everywhere that you could put a D-lineman."
Carroll said he has been pleasantly surprised by Bennett's constant effort: "He's more than we thought he was. He’s got more variety to his game. It comes out of just the tenacity and the motor that he has. We are real excited about it."
Carroll said Bennett is the "classic example" of the unique kind of player the Hawks are looking for.
"(We are) looking for guys with special qualities and we’re not just looking for cookie-cutter guys," the coach said. "We want guys to have something. He has something really unique about him."
Carroll said Bennett is not as fast as Seattle's speed rushers and not as big as their inside rushers, but his tenacity and anticipation make him unique.
"So that’s why you see him moving around, playing a lot of different spots because we think that we can put him in places where we can take advantage of what he’s good at it. So that’s a real classic example of a guy that we’ve brought into the program and we’ve tried to adjust to what he does.”
The Hawks used the ABCS or (as we'll call it here) the Alpha Line 10 times vs. the Jaguars and were successful on eight of the plays:
3rd and 13 in first quarter >> Short completion and punt
3rd and 21 in first quarter >> Avril pressured from outside, Schofield hit Henne as he threw incomplete
3rd and 7 in second quarter >> Bennett attracted double team and Schofield stunted around for late pressure as Avril got good push from the outside
2nd and 10 in the 2nd quarter >> Clemons hit Henne from behind, causing incompletion and near fumble
3rd and 10 after that play >> Henne completed for first down
1st and 10 after that play >> Incomplete in end zone, no pressure
3rd and 4 in third quarter >> Complete quick pass for first down
3rd and 8 in third quarter >> Backside pressure from Avril, incomplete pass
3rd and 7 in third quarter >> Bennett beat guard up the middle to sack Henne
3rd and 9 in third quarter >>Avril and Clemons converged, incomplete pass
It was a good start for that unit, with Bruce Irvin coming back in Week 5.
“That’s what we’re shooting for is to get those guys out there," Carroll said. "We want to see all of the fast guys out there and see where we could best situate them.
"We know that the fast guys are going to … benefit from all of the activity we can get inside. The more attention that we can get them to focus on three inside guys, the space has worked to our advantage. … We will continue to work with those combinations. We like to keep mixing those around.”
Carroll said Clemons did well in his first action since suffering a torn ACL in the playoff game on Washington's horrible turf last season.
“He did a good job," Carroll said. "I think we played him 13 plays or whatever and he got enough done. … This week we will get more out of him and he’ll be close to just normal, I would imagine. He’s still going to feel new out there and so we’ve made some good progress.”
OTHER HAWK TALK
**The Seahawks reportedly saved a 2014 seventh-round pick by cutting Smith. They acquired him in a trade from Jacksonville just before the season and he played in the first two games. But he was inactive against his former team Sunday, and then the Hawks added a little insult to injury for the Jaguars by cutting him so Seattle would not have to give up the draft pick.
**No wonder this defense is so good. It is channeling the 1980s stars. We all have known that Red Bryant is married to Jacob Green's daughter and also wears his No. 79. Now Kam Chancellor reveals that he once dated Kenny Easley's daughter back in Virginia. Talk about the stars aligning.
**Russell Wilson tied a career high with four TD passes vs. Jacksonville and improved to 10-0 at home. He has a few more games to go to set the record.
Home wins to start career
16 Danny White, Dallas (1980-81)
15 Kurt Warner, St. Louis (1999-2001)
14 Marc Bulger, St. Louis (2002-04)
13 Roger Staubach, Dallas (1969-73)
10 Russell Wilson, Seattle (2012-13)
*10 Doug Flutie (1988-98)
*Flutie was a part-time starter for three teams