JAKE AND STACY
Amadi to play more aggressive defense for Seahawks after ‘timid’ 2019
Apr 11, 2020, 1:53 PM
Something you’ll often hear with first-year players in any sport is that they have “rookie moment” or make “rookie mistakes.” In the case of Seahawks 2019 fourth-round pick Ugo Amadi, a defensive back from Oregon, he was so worried about having one of those gaffes on defense last year that he did something he doesn’t normally do – he played apprehensively.
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“I feel like, especially on defense, the opportunity I got on the field, I feel like I never wanted to make a mistake,” he told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy.
Don’t expect that same mindset for 2020. Amadi is projected to be Seattle’s starting nickel cornerback, a role that he didn’t get extended looks at until late in the season and the playoffs.
“Now that I’ve made a mistake, I can play a lot faster now,” Amadi said. “I feel like I was playing timid and when I’d see things, I wouldn’t go right away like I did in college. But I feel like with a year under my belt, I’m going to be able to react instead of thinking and then reacting. I was just trying to play everything safe and I feel like next year I’m going to be a lot more confident to be more aggressive, especially on defense.”
While it took some time for Amadi to get acclimated on defense, he was one of the Seahawks’ top special teams players. He especially excelled on punt coverage as a gunner. His special teams success was surprising to many, Amadi included.
“On special teams, I was shocked. I didn’t think I was going to be able to do what I did on special teams this season,” he said. “I did it in college but I wasn’t doing in college what I’m doing now, so I was actually shocked on what I was able to do because honestly, during camp I was barely getting any reps and I feel like that Vikings play I made in preseason really set the tone for my season and put a voice in the coaches’ ear that I could be a serious threat on special teams.”
That Vikings play Amadi brought up was in the preseason, where he delivered a big, perfectly timed hit on a punt.
Full sprint to the tackle 😮 pic.twitter.com/BFcFYFAxuB
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) August 19, 2019
Being a core special teams player, Amadi spent a lot of time in practice working on plays like that.
“I was making all these plays going this fast and it’s really hard to do,” he said. “Just looking at it, it may look easy, but me being on the field doing it was very, very hard. I practice extremely hard to tackle and that’s all we did every day in practice is trying to tackle in the open field on special teams.”
And while Amadi has shown he can excel on special teams, he wants to be great on defense. To get to that point, he’s making sure to take advantage of playing for Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.
“To be honest with you, I love every bit of (playing for Carroll),” he said. “Every moment we have, everything.”
Carroll has had a lot of success at both the NFL ranks and in college, and Amadi is grateful to be playing for a coach with such a great track record who also happens to be a former defensive backs coach who has coached future Hall of Famers at both the collegiate and pro levels.
“Getting drafted there, I was always a big USC fan, especially when Pete Carroll was there and when I got the opportunity to be coached by him, I embrace every moment I have with him,” he said.
Listen to the full conversation, which includes how he’s handling the shutdown, being a dad and more at this link or in the player below.
Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom Wassell, Jake Heaps and Stacy Rost on Twitter.
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