By the end of Seattle's 36-18 victory, it was clear that Bradley's intuition was dead-on. Curry, now in his second season in the NFL, had two sacks, seven tackles and forced a fumble. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called it Curry's best game of the season.
“Gus mentioned it coming back on the bus that Aaron really had a look in his eye before the game and he was really pumped about this game,” Carroll said. “I don't know why that was so much different, but Gus noticed it.”
So just what did Bradley see in his strongside linebacker last week?
“He just was different, the whole week really,” Bradley said. “He really enjoyed it, you could just see that it really clicked that week. He had a really good feel for the game plan, what we were trying to accomplish, and the last couple of weeks now he's had good weeks of practice. And yeah, before the game talking to him, I just really felt a sense of confidence in him.”
Curry wasn't sure what particular look in his eye Bradley saw, but he did acknowledge that something was different last week.
“I was definitely in the zone, I was confident in the preparation we had all week long, and I was just feeling it that game,” Curry said. “... That's definitely something I can build off of. I'm just working on pushing forward and continuing with the same preparation.”
It's not that Curry had played poorly before Sunday's game, it's just that high expectations come with being the No. 4 pick in the draft. As a rookie, Curry started out well last season, but his play tapered off as the season went on, particularly when middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu went down with a season-ending injury. Many people, Curry included, were expecting a breakthrough from the linebacker in his second season. And while he has been solid, Curry has not flashed the play-making ability one might expect out of a player drafted so high.
That changed last Sunday, however, and now the hope for Curry and the Seahawks is that his big game in Arizona can be a springboard for the rest of the season.
“There can be a time when you turn a corner and all that,” Carroll said. “I think he's played really solid for us all throughout and I think this was his best game getting after the quarterback. We need him. We need him badly to continue to factor in.”
Even without a big game under his belt last weekend, Curry wouldn't feel like a failure this season. His primary job as the strongside linebacker is to set an edge to keep opposing offenses from running the ball outside, and for the most part Curry has done that very well this year.
“I think I've played very well considering what we're doing on defense,” he said. “... I've been satisfied with fulfilling my role in the defense. The biggest part of it is setting the edge; set the edge and don't let anything get outside and just really be a force out there, and I think that's what I've been doing.”
But again, as the No. 4 pick, a lot is expected of Curry, and on Sunday he looked more like the player people expected to see when the Seahawks made Curry the highest-drafted linebacker since Penn State's LaVar Arrington went second overall to the Redskins in 2000. Curry's first sack was the result of tenacity and speed as he forced Arizona quarterback Derek Anderson to run out of bounds well behind the line of scrimmage, knocking the Cardinals out of field goal range. Later, he easily beat two blockers to hammer Anderson in the back, forcing a fumble that Chris Clemons recovered. Curry also came up big against the run, including a tackle on a third-and-goal draw that forced the Cardinals to settle for a field goal.
“I thought overall just one of his best games as an NFL player, from the standpoint of doing what he was asked but then also after the fact chasing the ball down,” Tatupu said. “That speed showed up.”
Okung considered day-to-day
LT Russell Okung practiced Wednesday, and Carroll remains hopeful the rookie will return to action this week after missing three games with a high ankle sprain.
“We want to see him work and see where he is,” Carroll said. He looked good today in the walk through and we've just got to see how he tolerates it. We're just day-to-day and we'll figure it out.”
As expected, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck practiced, though precautions were taken to limit the chances of him aggravating his fractured left wrist. DT Colin Cole (ankle), WR Golden Tate (ankle), G Mike Gibson (ankle), TE Anthony McCoy (knee), FB Michael Robison (hamstring), WR Brandon Stokley and Tatupu (knee) all sat out Wednesday's practice.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog
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