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Seahawks giving Kevin Pierre-Louis a shot at strong-side LB

A sports hernia to Mike Morgan has opened up an opportunity for Kevin Pierre-Louis at linebacker. (AP)

RENTON – It sounds as though Kevin Pierre-Louis will get the first crack at taking over as the Seahawks’ starting strong-side linebacker.

That job became open when Mike Morgan was placed on Injured Reserve last week due to a sports hernia that required surgery. He can’t return until Week 13 at the earliest, leaving the Seahawks with a long-term void at strong-side linebacker. Pierre-Louis has been working there along with Cassius Marsh and Jordan Tripp, and he was the first player coach Pete Carroll mentioned Friday when asked how that competition has gone.

“We’re going to see a lot of KPL,” Carroll said, “and Cassius is ready to go if we need him.”

This will be a second chance of sorts for Pierre-Louis after an underwhelming 2015 season. He had distinguished himself over that offseason to the point that Carroll said he wanted to work Pierre-Louis into the linebacker rotation even though the starting three were set. But after struggling in a spot start at weak-side linebacker against Carolina in Week 6, he didn’t play much on defense.

Pierre-Louis has mostly played on the weak side since Seattle drafted him in the fourth round in 2014, when he was the fastest linebacker tested at the scouting combine with a time of 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash. But Carroll mentioned that he’s worked on the strong side over the offseason with the thought that he may need to step in there at some point.

“We’ve been kind of preparing for this if we needed it, so we feel like we’ve had it in mind and he’s had it in mind,” Carroll said. “He played his college career out on the edge, he was a drop guy, and he was really good. That’s why we drafted him. He’s very comfortable out there so it’s a familiar spot for him. It’s great. He’s so fast and it’s great to get him on the field. He can help the rest of the fellas.”

Strong-side linebacker has been something of a part-time role in Seattle’s defense this season. The Seahawks sub out that position in favor of a third cornerback in nickel situations, and they’ve spent about three-quarters of their defensive snaps in nickel so far. That left Morgan on the field for only 26.3 percent of Seattle’s defensive snaps over the first four games.