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    RENTON Ethan Pocic Color Rush Jersey , Wash. (AP) — When he came out of Alabama, Jarran Reed was regarded as a run-stopping defensive tackle.That was it.Anything else he provided for the Seattle Seahawks was going to be extra.“He was a real dedicated run defender coming out. We did not see him specialize in rushing the passer. He has just emerged through his focus and dedication and hard work he has become a complete player,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.On a defensive line where pass rush was a major question entering the season, Seattle has gotten an unexpected boost from its starting defensive tackle. Reed is second on the team with 6½ sacks entering Monday night’s game against Minnesota.But it’s more than just sacks where Reed has provided help to Seattle’s pass rush. Reed leads Seattle in quarterback hits with 17 and had six last week against San Francisco to go along with one sack.Even when he’s not taking the quarterback down, Reed is helping provide the kind of pressure quarterback pressure Seattle’s defense needs.“I think he expects to get to the quarterback more than he used to and he wanted to develop his pass rush game,” Carroll said. “He worked hard at it and I think his mentality to rush the passer is just the best it’s been.”Reed agreed with Carroll’s assessment. Reed said he decided this offseason he would focus on his pass rushing, perhaps realizing the impact he could provide to Seattle’s defense if he could get pressure from the interior.With Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril gone, Seattle lost its two top pass rushers. Frank Clark was the only returning defensive lineman with a track record of having success getting to the quarterback. It’s why the defensive line — and the pass rush specifically — was such a major question for the Seahawks entering the season.Reed’s success has alleviated some of those concerns. He had three total sacks in his career entering the season.“The major emphasis last offseason was to get better at my all-around game, to be more reliable, to be on the field more for the team,” Reed said.Reed said most of his offseason work was done in basic places. He would go to parks or football fields around Atlanta to practice his skills and would work out at a local gym.If there was a sand volleyball court available, he would go there to train. He chose not to go to any of the high-end training facilities for his offseason work, with the exception of spending some time back on campus at Alabama.“I don’t go to all the fancy little other things everybody goes and spends all that money on. I don’t do that,” Reed said. “I just use what the earth has. If it has some grass I can run on that. If it has sand, I can run on that. I lift at a regular gym, for real.”Reed’s challenge this week will be disrupting Minnesota’s passing game. The Vikings have the seventh-best pass offense in the league in yards per game, but use a lot of short passes to make their offense work. That may not allow the same opportunities for Reed to get to the quarterback as a week ago.“He was a great run defender and he came in here and was able to do that, but I think he’s just expanded the scope of his game and it’s obvious Shaquill Griffin Color Rush Jersey ,” Carroll said. “He’s been a nice factor.” Despite playoff runs for most of his tenure with the Seattle Seahawks, Pete Carroll has rarely been faced with the “rest starters” question over the last nine seasons. That is probable to change if the Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, locking in their playoff berth and all but sealing their position in the five seed. Based on Seattle’s health status at the moment though, it’s only reasonable to ask: Who could rest against the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals over the final two weeks of the regular season?On Thursday, six players didn’t practice and four were limited. That’s a significant portion of the 53-man roster.We know that starting right guard D.J. Fluker is in trouble with his “legitimate” hamstring injury and seeing him during the regular season again sounds unlikely. That will give Carroll three more games to evaluate UDFA Jordan Simmons.Three starters on defense to sit out though were Frank Clark, Jarran Reed, and Shamar Stephen, making up three-fourths of their defensive line. I would doubt them missing this week’s game against the 49ers, but the team may choose not to push them over the final few weeks, especially given the importance of Clark and Reed, who’ve combined for over half of the team’s sacks this season. Stephen has flown under the radar, but has kept Seattle from taking a long look at either Nazair Jones or Poona Ford at defensive tackle, maintaining his position as the starter next to Reed.The big name on offense to be in question for this week’s game is backup running back Rashaad Penny, who actually seems like a good candidate to be the starter if the Seahawks lock in the number five seed by next week. That’ll give the team a good opportunity to rest Chris Carson, who is oft injured throughout his football career. If both Carson and Penny need rest though, Mike Davis is a fine player to get carries in the interim.Speaking of offense, Doug Baldwin was limited on Thursday, which actually feels like a step forward for the veteran receiver. He is a key player for Russell Wilson and it seems like the team should be looking to rest him for the playoffs Delano Hill Color Rush Jersey , though Carroll sounds optimistic that he could even play Sunday in San Francisco. That feels like a coach paying lip service to the narrative that Seattle might miss the playoffs and will need Baldwin, because the fact is that the Seahawks are almost assured their spot in the five seed at this point. Still, Baldwin may get in some offensive snaps between now and January to keep the joints oiled, but he may be best served to get rest for an upcoming road trip to Dallas.More issues on defense though point to limited participation by Bradley McDougald, K.J. Wright, and Dion Jordan, but being limited in Week 15 could be a good sign for availability in the wild card round, especially when it comes to Wright. We know that Mychal Kendricks is out for the season, so the option of Wright for the playoffs could be paramount. McDougald’s value is unquestionable too, so the team should be taking all precautions with him in the secondary.Overall, the team seems banged up, but if they can lock in a playoff spot this Sunday, it gives them plenty of opportunity to rest key players for at least the next three weeks. Whether or not that includes uninjured starters such as Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, or Duane Brown is a question for another day, but it is not too soon to ask if it’s a good time to play it safe for those who are dinged up at the moment. That “dinged” list is rather long, and that may be a good reason to play it safe in the meantime.

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