Swartz: Reviewing The Hawks’ Young, Versatile Linebackers
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With Pro Bowlers galore in the Seahawks secondary, a young, talented, and versatile linebacking group tends to get overshadowed. The departure of long time outside linebacker Leroy Hill has opened the door for new names and many options.
Kenneth Bernard Wright, Jr. ,(KJ) to teammates and fans, is poised to have a very big 2013 season. I caught up with the 23-year-old Wright following the Hawks latest OTA, organized team activity.
” Me and Heath Evans are the older guys in the group, so I need to step up and take a leadership role,” Wright said. ” I lead the guys in the film room and tell them what is going on. I need to take advantage of this.”
Seattle’s defense is a base 4-3, with 3-4 principles, which asks the linebackers to do many jobs. KJ Wright’s angular 6′-4″ frame allows him to cover tight ends, or disrupt the passing lanes.
“Right now I am the WIL, (weak side linebacker), and Malcolm (Smith) is the SAM ( strong side), ” shared Wright. He is also comfortable sliding into the middle if Bobby Wagner is out.
“Every linebacker should be able to play any position. I feel like I can do it because I know everybody’s job. We have to be the smartest ones on the field so we can play fast.”
Former USC linebacker Allen Bradford appears to be in the linebacker competition, along with second year man Korey Toomer from the University of Idaho. When his foot injury has healed, newcomer Cliff Avril could also drop into pass coverage.
With Chris Clemons recovery from knee surgery a question , and Bruce Irvin suspended the first 4 games of the regular season for violating the NFL performance enhancing substance policy, the Seahawks will look for innovative ways to pressure the quarterback.
“It is going to come from all 11 guys,” Wright chuckled. ”Anyone and everyone can come on the blitz. We think Clem (Clemons) is going to be ready, and Cliff Avril can get to the quarterback. I believe we will be fine with the pass rush.”
-Bill Swartz, 1090 The Fan
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