By Brady Henderson
Underwhelming production caused defensive lineman Alan Branch, a former second-round pick, to be only a part-time player in four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.
Or — as Branch suggested — maybe it was the other way around.
“I might surprise some people with my pass rush this year,” says Seahawks defensive tackle Alan Branch. (AP)
“Getting on the field, I guess,” Branch told “Brock and Salk” last week when asked what changed from his time in Arizona to his first season with the Seahawks in 2011.
“You can’t teach anybody experience, so once I got … I really don’t know. I feel like I’ve been able to do what I was doing last year for most of my career. But obviously it didn’t happen (in Arizona). It’s happening now, and that’s the only thing that matters.”
Branch, 27, signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Seahawks last offseason and played well enough to start all 15 games in which he played. His 34 tackles were one short of his career-high while his three sacks were the most in his five seasons.
The Seahawks, needing to improve a pass rush that generated just 33 sacks last season, signed Jason Jones and drafted Bruce Irvin in the first round. Branch thinks he can, and will, do more in that department.
“Toward the end of the year I started coming into my own when it came to pass rushing,” said Branch, who had a sack in each of Seattle’s last two games. “One year I wasn’t able to do pass-rush moves at all. I was supposed to just bull rush because I was a nose guard that year. So it took me a little bit to get my moves down but I think I’m starting to get some wins and I think I might surprise some people with my pass rush this year.”
Branch said the “side swipe” is his favorite pass-rushing move.
“Just getting the hands off me and trying to turn the corner,” he said, describing the move. “It’s kind of a speed guy’s move but it works a lot for me on the inside, so I’m trying to make it my own.”