O’Brien Schofield makes his case for a spot in defensive-line rotation
The Seahawks defensive end looks like he’s got the lead on Benson Mayowa for a spot in the rotation after a solid game Friday night against the Chargers.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Defensive end O’Brien Schofield on Friday night made a strong case to be included in Seattle’s defensive line rotation.
Schofield is competing with Benson Mayowa for a backup defensive end spot, and to this point it appears Schofield is in the lead. The role is important because the Seahawks like to bring in another defensive end in nickel situations when starting defensive end Michael Bennett slides inside at defensive tackle.
Schofield spent time with Seattle’s first- and second-team defenses in Seattle’s 41-14 preseason win Friday against the Chargers, and he routinely managed to get pressure on San Diego’s quarterbacks. He had four quarterback hits and added a sack and two tackles for loss.
Schofield split time at linebacker and defensive end with the Seahawks last season, but he is almost exclusively playing end this year. He actually signed a free-agent contract with the New York Giants this offseason, but failed his physical with the team, which nullified the deal.
“I’m in my fifth year, I have a family, and I’m hungry,” Schofield said. “I have a chip on my shoulder. I had a crazy offseason, and I’m looking to really take this league by storm and just be a disruptive player. I love this game so much, and my preparation and my dedication has been a lot more than it has been in previous years.”
Rookie defensive lineman Cassius Marsh is also an option as a pass-rushing defensive end, and hybrid linebacker/defensive end Bruce Irvin should factor into the pass rush when he returns after having offseason hip surgery.
But Schofield was a disrupter against the Chargers.
“He stood out,” safety Earl Thomas said. “I hope all the best for him. I hope he sticks. But he’s been playing great, even in practice.”
‘Legion of Boom rule’:
Safety Earl Thomas called the NFL’s new rule emphasis on illegal contact and pass interference the “Legion of Boom rule.” Thomas explained what he meant after the game.
“People, coaches, pre-game-wise are going to be talking to the refs,” Thomas said. “The refs already came to the VMAC to talk to us about it, and they’re going to be watching. They know we’re very aggressive and people complain about it. But we definitely have to adjust, and we’ve been working on that in practice.”
The NFL is trying to crack down on contact beyond the accepted 5-yard limit for wide receivers. The new rules have resulted in a wave of penalties this offseason.
• Earl Thomas returned his second punt of the preseason — this one went for five yards. Thomas also returned one punt in the preseason opener against the Broncos but it went for zero yards.
• Center Max Unger and defensive end Michael Bennett didn’t play. Unger practiced this week after missing last week with a groin injury. Carroll said Bennett’s hamstring tightened up on him before the game. The players previously ruled out: LB Bobby Wagner, S Kam Chancellor, OT Russell Okung, LB Bruce Irvin, LB Malcolm Smith, WR Kevin Norwood, LB Korey Toomer, DL Jimmy Staten, WR David Gilreath, CB A.J. Jefferson, DL Michael Brooks and OL C.J. Davis.