Huard: Seahawks LBs under most pressure vs Russell Wilson and Broncos

Sep 7, 2022, 1:57 PM

Seahawks Packers Jordyn Brooks Aaron Rodgers...

Seahawks LB Jordyn Brooks awaits a snap to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers on Sunday. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The Seahawks are just a few days away from their Week 1 opener, which has one of the biggest storylines in the NFL surrounding it.

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It’s not only the first game for the Seahawks without star quarterback Russell Wilson on the roster since 2011, but they’ll be facing off with Wilson and his new team – the Denver Broncos – at home in Seattle on Monday Night Football.

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Wilson, a nine-time Pro Bowler who quarterbacked Seattle to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title in 2013, is still recognized as one of the elite signal callers in the game and he figures to be a big test for a Seahawks team that has a new defensive coordinator as well as a number of young players in key roles on defense.

So which position group on defense faces the tallest task on Monday night? Former NFL quarterback Brock Huard broke it down during Blue 88 on Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Brock and Salk.

“I think it’s easy to point to the inexperience at corner, and you’re not wrong,” Huard told Mike Salk Wednesday morning. “… That’s obvious.”

It’s unclear who the Seahawks will be starting at cornerback next week, but of the four top candidates – Sidney Jones, Artie Burns, Michael Jackson and rookie Tariq Woolen – only Jones has started a regular season game for Seattle before, starting 11 last season and appearing in 16 games. Burns, a former first-round pick, has started just seven games since 2019, Jackson has played in just four NFL games in his career and Woolen, as noted, is a rookie.

Playing Wilson and the Broncos doesn’t help, either.

“It’s Russell Wilson, it’s a system that Russell’s basically calling the shots with (Broncos head coach) Nathaniel Hackett, (and) you’ve got inexperience out on the corner, especially if it’s a rookie,” Huard said. “So obviously, I think the natural answer would be ‘that cornerback group is going to be tested.’ Oh, by the way, throw in a new language, new system, new coaches on that side of the ball, new first-time defensive play caller.”

That being said, Huard thinks a different position group is under more pressure than the cornerbacks when it comes to shutting down Wilson and the Broncos.

“Those linebackers. When you play Russell Wilson and you play a scheme that you don’t know yet. You don’t have tape,” Huard said.

Huard, who has called NFL and college football games as an analyst for many years, said that from a broadcaster standpoint, it’s “much easier” to call Week 2 games rather than Week 1 games because you can watch tape, see tendencies, see personnel and see what players look like on new teams.

” The Broncos played none of their starters together the entire preseason. So for (Seahawks linebackers) Jordyn Brooks and Cody Barton in particular to identify what’s their formations, what’s their fronts, what’s their personnel groups?” Huard said.

Play-action will be especially important for Brooks and Barton, Seattle’s two inside linebackers in the team’s new 3-4 defense, to identify and address.

“We know the burden that Russell puts (on defenses) in the play-action game. He’s the greatest in the league. The numbers bear that out in play-action,” Huard said. “Who does that make it the hardest on? Those doggone linebackers. They’ve gotta key on, ‘Is this run? Is this pass? Is he outside the pocket?'”

“And oh, by the way, he’s gonna run more than he did in 2021. I’m sure of that,” Huard added. “So his ability to scramble when they drop into zones, Mr. Barton and Mr. Brooks playing some new spots, starting, playing a much bigger role, I think they’ll be under the spotlight more than anybody else.”

Listen to the second hour of Wednesday’s Brock and Salk at this link or in the player below.

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