DANNY ONEIL

Seahawks have 3 ‘unique’ players competing for open LB spot

Jul 30, 2016, 2:09 PM | Updated: 2:38 pm
Speedy Seahawks player Cassius Marsh has switched from the defensive line to strongside linebacker....
Speedy Seahawks player Cassius Marsh has switched from the defensive line to strongside linebacker. (AP)
(AP)

RENTON – One candidate to be Seattle’s starting strongside linebacker began his college career as a 300-pound defensive tackle.

That would be Cassius Marsh, a third-year player the Seahawks drafted to play defensive end.

Another candidate is a former defensive back.

That would be Eric Pinkins, who was originally picked to play cornerback but has grown into a linebacker.

Then there’s Mike Morgan, who has only played for Pete Carroll for the past 10 consecutive years going back to his career at USC.

“They are unique,” coach Pete Carroll said of the options at what is called the SAM linebacker. “Mike has been around so long, and we love Mike Morgan. He’s a guy we can count on, we know what he’s going to do, he understands the system. He’s as rock solid as we could hope for in this situation. He’s the first guy up right now, but it is wide open, and I’m really excited to see what Cassius does and really excited to see what Pink does.”

Henderson: Michael Bennett present on first day of Seahawks training camp

The Seahawks lost four starters from last season to free agency, but of those spots, strongside linebacker is the most uncertain. It’s the spot Bruce Irvin occupied for the past two years, and after he left for Oakland, there’s a three-way competition to see who will fill that spot.

That competition includes Marsh, who went to UCLA as a defensive tackle. By the time he was a senior, Marsh was one of the better pass rushers in the Pac-12. His rookie year in Seattle was cut short by a foot injury, but last season he emerged as a special-teams mainstay. Now, he’s auditioning at linebacker, the group he practiced with on Saturday.

“I love it, man,” Marsh said. “It’s another opportunity for me to use my talents in space and use my athleticism, and I’m still rushing the passer, which is what I love to do. I love it.”

Marsh has followed a unique trajectory in football. Usually players get heavier over time while Marsh has gotten leaner, moving further and further into space.

“I really don’t know how to explain it honestly,” said Marsh, a dogged advocate of Chipotle. “Just changed my diet and worked hard, and this is what my body did.”

It also helps that he’s fast as hell.

“There’s that, too,” Marsh said.

While Morgan is currently first up in practice reps, Carroll said there won’t be a quick decision on the regular-season starter.

“It’s just going to take some time, though,” Carroll said. “They’ve got to accumulate a lot of snaps to get that information.”

Danny and Gallant Show

Danny ONeil

Seahawks Quandre Diggs...
Danny O'Neil

O’Neil: Seahawks have uncertainty with a player ‘holding in,’ but it’s not Quandre Diggs

While Quandre Diggs appears to be the third Seahawks player to "hold-in" during training camp, Danny O'Neil writes that it's Duane Brown whose future is up in the air.
1 year ago
Follow @dannyoneil...
Danny O'Neil

AZ Good AZ it Gets

SPONSORED – Phoenix was the place where the rest of the country found out that Seattle fans took their enthusiasm on the road with them. That was 2013. It’s also the place where I discovered how restorative a desert vacation can be. That was 2015. Let’s start with the screaming. That’s what caught everyone’s attention […]
1 year ago
Mariners Jarred Kelenic...
Danny O'Neil

O’Neil: Mariners aren’t handing the spotlight over to Seahawks just yet

This is the time of year that Seattle tends to shift its focus to the gridiron, but the Mariners are still commanding attention.
1 year ago
Seahawks Duane Brown...
Danny O'Neil

O’Neil: When Seahawks decide not to extend players, they’re rarely wrong

If you think the Seahawks must sign Duane Brown to an extension, when's the last time they opted against re-signing someone and it came back to bite them?
1 year ago
Follow @dannyoneil...
Danny O'Neil

Oh, LA, LA!

Week 15, Dec. 19: Seattle at Los Angeles Rams, SoFi Stadium, 1:25 p.m. Pacific SPONSORED – Maybe it was fitting that the opening act for the first pro-football game I covered in Los Angeles was a rock band I loved as a teenager. There’s no place that makes me think of growing up more than […]
1 year ago
Follow @dannyoneil...
Danny O'Neil

Star in a Lone Star Adventure

Week 14, Dec. 12: Seattle at Houston Texans, NRG Stadium, 10 a.m. Pacific SPONSORED – Enchiladas and greatness. That’s what I think of in Texas. The enchiladas are pretty straightforward. They’re so delicious at El Tiempo Cantina that it’s hard to take a bite without closing my eyes. There are three locations though the one […]
1 year ago
Seahawks have 3 ‘unique’ players competing for open LB spot