By Brady Henderson
Bruce Irvin’s 2013 season produced glimpses of his potential as an outside linebacker but also some uncertainty about whether he’ll stay there.
From the sounds of it, he will.
Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn says he likes Bruce Irvin’s potential at strong-side linebacker. (AP)
“I think he’s really in the right spot,” Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil from the scouting combine.
Irvin sure looked like it during the Seahawks’ Week-8 win over St. Louis when he finished with an interception and a strip sack to go along with nine tackles, the second most on the team. He had switched from defensive end and then served a suspension at the beginning of the season, and what was only his fourth game as a strong-side linebacker showed the type of impact he can have when his athleticism is put to use in the open field.
The rest of the season wasn’t as encouraging, though, as Irvin didn’t record another sack or an interception and finished with more than four tackles only once over the final eight regular-season games. By the end of the season he was playing mainly on early downs and leaving the field when Seattle subbed in its nickel defense. He was drafted 15th overall for his ability to rush the passer, and he went so long without recording a sack that merely sniffing one in the NFC title game made him feel like he had – in his words – a newborn child.
Irvin, despite some concern about his ability to hold up against bigger offensive tackles, did lead all rookies in sacks with eight in 2012 – and that was in a situational role in which he didn’t even start. And with the futures of Michael Bennett and Chris Clemons uncertain, that led to some speculation that a move back to defensive end could be in Irvin’s future.
But Quinn said it isn’t and cited the room for improvement from Irvin, who after all has only spent three-quarters of a season at the position.
“He’s got all the stuff that we look for in our outside ‘backer with speed and length and he can set the edge, he can rush,” Quinn said. “So I thought for his first time playing linebacker he did a terrific job, and you know that it’s only going to get better from here. So we feel like he’s in the right spot and we couldn’t be more excited to see how far we can take him.”
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.