SAN DIEGO – Jordan Hill is literally pushing his way to consistent playing time in his second season with the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks.
The pride of Steel-High and Penn State is seeing consistent snaps as part of the Seahawks’ nickel defense package. And with San Diego QB Phillip Rivers and his Chargers being a pass-first team, it was no surprise Hill played the most snaps of his NFL career Sunday.
“I’m not sure how many I had, but most likely it was (the most)” said Hill, who came within a whisker of his first sack of the season at a critical juncture in the fourth quarter. “I know I didn’t like that heat.”
It was unusually blistering hot in San Diego Sunday for the 1 p.m. pacific time kickoff. The thermometer on the field registered 120 degrees at kickoff, and the suffocating heat never wavered for three hours.
“We were out there a long time,” Hill said of the Seahawks’ defense that was on the field for 42 of the 60 minutes, surrendered 30 points and 26 first downs. “And like I said it was crazy hot.”
In this his second year in the NFL, Hill is more comfortable in his own skin as a professional and knows the drill. And after an injury riddled rookie season last year when he Seahawks won the Super Bowl, the third-round draft choice is finding his niche as a defensive tackle.
The 6-1, 303-pound Hill is becoming a bull rush specialist in the Seahawks nickel package. He’s nearly impossible to block one-one-one, so he takes on plenty of double teams in order to clear the way for others to do some damage in space.
Hill admits his biggest asset always has been and always will be his incredible motor and work ethic. And that non-stop motor “allows me to do what I do out there.”
Sunday against the Chargers was like old times for Hill. For three years at Penn State he worked in practice across from guard Johnnie Troutman. A 2012 PSU graduate, Troutman was drafted by the Chargers in the fifth round. After missing his rookie season with an injury, Troutman earned nine starts last year and his 11th career start Sunday.
And the guy he traded paint with in the trenches for the majority of the snaps?
Former practice nemesis and PSU brother Hill.
And for good measure the center for the Chargers yesterday was another former Penn State alum in Rich Ohrnberger.
“It was good being able to play against those guys, especially Johnnie,” said Hill, who registered his first tackle of the season in the third quarter. “I played with Johnnie for three years. So it felt like Penn State practice days again out there.
“Johnnie and I exchanged jerseys after the game.”
Hill nearly had his first sack of the season late in the fourth quarter when he hurried Rivers, then flushed him out of the pocket and took him down on a critical third-and-7 near midfield.
The incompletion Hill forced allowed the Seahwaks to get the ball back with 3:04 to play and down only six points. But the offense that scored quick and couldn’t sustain drives sputtered in crunch time.
Never one to miss an opportunity to return home to the 717, Hill plans to “come home” during the Seahawks’ bye week later this month in Week 4.
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