NFL rumors swirled around Bruce Irvin because many believed that he was going to leave the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent. Teams like the Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, and Jacksonville Jaguars were considered candidates to sign the versatile linebacker. According to ESPN, Irvin has decided that he will be signing with the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday. The signing might have changed the balance of power in the AFC West.
One of the big reasons why the Atlanta Falcons were top candidates to sign Bruce Irvin was because of the linebacker’s relationship with head coach Dan Quinn. The two of them worked together when Quinn was the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator. Aside from the familiarity with Quinn, the Falcons were appealing to Irvin because they desperately needed another pass rusher and would feature Bruce prominently in their scheme.
Gus Bradley is another Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator that moved on to become a head coach in the NFL. He’s the reason why Bruce Irvin was interested in signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are intent on spending money in free agency because they feel that they might finally be able to get back to the playoffs. Irvin would have also been featured heavily in the Jaguars defensive scheme because they need him to rush the quarterback.
Bruce Arians was never the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, but he still managed to capture the attention of Bruce Irvin. The reason for that is because Arians is one of the most respected head coaches in the NFL. The Arizona Cardinals have a dominant and versatile defensive backfield, and the unit would only be that much better if someone like Bruce Irvin were in front of them and harassing opposing quarterbacks.
In the end, though, Bruce Irvin decided to go with Ken Norton Jr. The former Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers player was the linebackers coach for the Seattle Seahawks. He worked very closely with Irvin, so the two of them are quite familiar with one another. Bruce can go in with the Oakland Raiders, knowing that Norton Jr is going to utilize him in the best way possible, much like he did when the two of them were both with the Seahawks.
The best way to use Bruce Irvin is to simply allow him to attack the quarterback from a variety of locations. Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll used Irvin as an outside linebacker in the base 3-4 package. The defensive ends usually occupy multiple offensive linemen to free up Irvin for the pass rush. When the Seahawks shift over to the nickel or dime packages on obvious passing downs, then Irvin plays defensive end and rushes.
Losing Bruce Irvin is going to hurt the Seattle Seahawks defense. It’s a move that they expected because management needed to spend a ton of money to keep the Legion of Boom together. The Seahawks feel that Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and Earl Thomas are the backbones to their defense. Pete Carroll believes that if his secondary can shut down the passing game, then it makes it easier to develop young and new players on the defensive line and linebacker.
Signing Bruce Irvin sends a loud message to the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, and San Diego Chargers. The Oakland Raiders are letting everyone know that the era of futility is over. The boys in silver and black are gunning for the AFC West division crown on their way to winning their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history. There hasn’t been this much hype among the Raiders fan base in a long time, and this might be the year that their loyalty gets rewarded.
[Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images]