Home / NFL / Pete Carroll ‘thrilled’ about new defensive linemen Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen

Pete Carroll ‘thrilled’ about new defensive linemen Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen

There has been plenty of talk about how different the Seattle Seahawks’ secondary is going to look next year. Lost among that talk is the striking face-lift the defensive line has undergone.

Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson and Cliff Avril are no longer with the team. Expected replacement Malik McDowell looks like he will be unavailable as well. That leaves Dion Jordan, Jarran Reed and Naz Jones from last year’s squad.

The Seahawks brought in a pair of free agents from Minnesota to help add to the team’s sudden lack of depth up front. Coach Pete Carroll, speaking to the media at the conclusion of minicamp, could not be more excited to have them.

“I’m very confident in what those guys are bringing,” Carroll said. “I studied the heck out of it. I’ve seen everything that they’ve done the past couple years and I know what we’re getting. This worked out really very well for us. I’m thrilled about those guys.”

Johnson is a seven-year veteran who started 15 games for the Vikings last year. He has 21 career sacks and 102 tackles. He is expected to primarily play on the inside, using his quickness and size to disrupt the pocket.

“Tom has been right in the middle of everything and I wish we would have found him years ago,” Carroll said. “He’s a great competitor, he’s got a tough mentality, he cares tremendously, he’s a great worker, he’s exactly the kind of guy we like having on the team.”

Stephen is entering his fifth year, having spent the last four in Minnesota. He started all 16 games in 2016, although he has been a reserve for the majority of his career. Currently, Stephen is nursing an injury and has been observing minicamp from the sidelines. That didn’t stop coach Carroll from singing his praises.

“Shamar has made an impression about his work ethic, even though he’s not on the field,” Carroll said. “How he studies, the way he communicates, the way he’s helped younger guys learn and grow. Shamar’s going to be big and play big like we like from those guys inside. If everything comes back as we expect, he’ll have a big role for us.”

It will be a new-look defensive line for the Seahawks next season, but the returners, along with Johnson, Stephen and rookie Rasheem Green, should still cause plenty of disruption up front in 2018.


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