By John Boyle
In today’s Herald, I took a look at Bobby Wagner’s declaration that this could be the year Seattle’s linebackers make a name for themselves. As I mention in the story, the Seahawks have a strong group of linebackers, so Wagner’s prediction of “you will talk about the linebackers this year,” is hardly outlandish, but what is interesting is that we still don’t even know what exactly the Seahawks will look like at that position group.
We know Wagner will be starting in the middle, but what will the setup be on either side of him? So far it sounds and looks like Bruce Irvin will start at strongside linebacker in the base defense, meaning K.J. Wright would be the weakside linebacker. Irvin moves to a hand-on-the-ground pass rushing role in the nickel defense with Wright and Wagner serving as the linebackers. We have not, however, seen Malcolm Smith yet in OTAs because he’s recovering from ankle surgery, so we don’t know how the Super Bowl MVP fits in. Smith wasn’t a starter for much of last season, but played very well when injuries or suspensions created opportunities, but is he going to be the odd man out if the Seahawks are at full strength, being relegated to backup duty and special teams play? Perhaps the Seahawks will use Irvin as a defensive end more, freeing up more playing time for Smith, but while a lot of people seem to think that’s the logical move, the Seahawks so far seem committed to keeping Irvin at SAM linebacker in the base defense. And are you going to tell the defending champs how to do things on defense? Didn’t think so.
Then there are other players like rookie Kevin Pierre-Louis, Korey Toomer, and Michael Morgan, to name three, all of whom seemed destined for backup roles, but who could make a strong case for playing time depending on what they do between now and the start of the season. Pierre-Louis, a fourth-round pick out of Boston College, is particularly intriguing. When you consider that Wright was a fourth-round pick and Smith a seventh-rounder, the pick they used on Pierre-Louis is a pretty decent investment. And given the way the Seahawks coaches and scouts have raved about him, it’s not inconceivable to envision him pushing somebody for a role.
Last year one of the more intriguing questions in training camp was that of how the front-seven would shake out. With linebacker still a bit unclear (and that’s a good thing, by the way. It’s unclear because the Seahawks have four players they consider starters, plus a few more young players they really like) and with roles up for grabs on the D-line following the departures of Chris Clemons, Red Bryant and Clinton McDonald, the front seven will again be worth watching.
Now a few links.
If you missed it in Tuesday’s paper, a look at Russell Wilson, who is trying to be the same person despite the fame and extra obligations/opportunities that come with being a Super Bowl winning QB.
The Seahawks had another OTA session Tuesday, which was closed to the media, but here’s the report from Seahawks.com.
Terry Blount from ESPN.com looks at five noteworthy players from OTAs.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the NFL awarding Seattle an NFL franchise.
The NFL has unveiled a new logo for Super Bowl 50, and for the first time it is Roman numeral free. So long, Super Bowl L.
Earl Thomas posted a recap of the team’s experience visiting the White House over on his blog.