Last year, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll used Irvin as both a rush end and a linebacker. With linebacker KJ Wright battling injuries during the season, Irvin stepped in at weak side linebacker. Combined with Bobby Wagner in the middle and Malcom Smith as the strong side, Irvin took on a role that was outside of his comfort role: dropping into coverage. But now, Carroll hopes to use get Irvin away from that and put him back into rush mode.
When the playoffs came around, the Seahawks used a three-person linebacking corps of Wright, Wagner and Smith with a little Irvin thrown in. But once those three were healthy and clicking, Irvin saw playing time at the linebacker spot diminish.
He would occasionally come on the field and play the rush end position, a spot where Chris Clemons excelled at. But now, with Seattle releasing Clemons in the offseason , a void is left.
The Seahawks still have defensive end Cliff Avril, who had 8.0 sacks last season and they’ve re-signed defensive end Michael Bennett, who had 8.5 sacks last season in relief of Clemons mostly. But when Clemons was let go, rumors were that the Seahawks were going to go after a big name like Jared Allen or Demarcus Ware.
They did neither but instead re-signed Bennett to a four-year deal. This could mean that they have faith in his production but would you stack Bennett up against Allen or Ware? Of course not. So there had to be something else.
Irvin was the team’s first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. They took a risk drafting him there and nothing has been said by any person on coach Carroll’s staff that they made may have made a mistake. Even when Irvin was suspended, Carroll and company raved about his work ethic and his comeback.
After the Super Bowl, Carroll said that he wants to put Irvin on the field at where he’s most comfortable and that’s rushing the quarterback.
Sure, Irvin was transitioning well at linebacker but who would argue with a trio like Wright, Wagner and Smith? No one, really. So Irvin will likely head back to his first home on the edge of the defensive line, whether it be standing up or putting his hand in the dirt and getting after the passer.
Either way, the Seahawks had a plan in mind when they didn’t sign a top notch pass rusher. Why go out and do that when you have a Bruce Irvin sitting in your lap?