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What they're saying: Former coaches gush over new Chargers NT Brandon Mebane

Nose tackle Brandon Mebane should provide leadership and help San Diego's run defense. AP Photo/Scott Eklund

SAN DIEGO -- A third-round selection by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2007 draft, nose tackle Brandon Mebane was the longest-tenured player on the roster before leaving in free agency and joining the San Diego Chargers this offseason.

So it made a lot of sense to talk to the guys who coached him during that time. I had an opportunity to do that during the NFL owners meeting in Boca Raton, Florida this week.

When Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll arrived in Seattle in 2010, Mebane initially played 3-tech in Seattle’s 4-3 scheme. But Mebane moved to nose tackle in 2011, and that’s when Seahawks’ run defense flourished.

Since 2012, the Seahawks ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in run defense. Seattle was No. 1 in the league in run defense last season, giving up just 82 yards a contest.

At the center of Seattle’s success stopping the run was Mebane. Chargers head coach Mike McCoy hopes the Cal product has a similar effect on San Diego’s ability to stop the run.

“He’s a crafty veteran who’s played a lot of football on an outstanding defense for a number of years,” McCoy said. “I just think his work ethic and the way he practices in talking to him about certain things and the way he works [is going to help us].

“The other thing that was so impressive was when we started talking about offensive linemen. The knowledge through all of the film study that he does on players on a week-to-week basis is impressive. How they’re going to pass set or a double-team combination -- that was a great thing to hear a defensive lineman talking that way.”

Carroll, along with former Seattle defensive coordinators Gus Bradley and Dan Quinn, discuss below what Mebane meant to Seattle’s defense. Quinn also served as Seattle’s defensive line coach for two years.

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll: “He had played both (3-technique and 1-technique). And we thought that he was a better nose tackle than had he played 3-technique. He’s just got a real good body type for sticking in that “A” gap, owning in and not letting anyone knock him off the football. He’s a really consistent competitor, good player and all of that. I don’t know where they’re planning on playing him, but that’s where we liked him the most.”

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn: “I could talk all day about him in terms of what he brings from a leadership standpoint. One of the things I was always impressed about Brandon is if you see him at the line of scrimmage before he gets into his stance, oftentimes he’ll point and say ‘The run’s coming here.’ So by his ability to communicate, knowing back sets and line splits, he’s able to direct to some of the guys what might be happening.

“And you can think about how great of a teammate that is. If I’m playing next to you and you’re telling me the run’s coming my way -- that helps. So he’s a guy that can be in the middle of it all, and not just keep the information to himself but share it with the guys, I always thought that was one of the things from a coaching standpoint that we all respected about Brandon -- that he was able to find that information out and give it out to his guys.

“He’s one of those rare players where he’s good enough to play in any system. He can be a 3-4 player or 4-3 nose tackle -- he’s just a really good football player.”

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley: “I really like Banger (Mebane). He’s a guy similar to what we have in Roy Miller. He’s a guy who lines up, plays and makes plays over and over again. I don’t think he gets credit for how good he is. But he’s very good against the run, and very good in the D-line meeting room and bringing those guys together. Guys gravitate towards him. I have a lot of respect for him.

“When we got there {in Seattle], we were looking for a guy in that spot [nose tackle] that we could consistently count on. He’s a guy that when I was there you could count on. He didn’t get injured much. I just think what he brings to the table is the ability to defend the run. So much of that 1-technique is about movement. Offensive teams want to get movement on him because it opens things up. And he’s not a guy who’s going to give up a lot of movement.”