NFL rumors have been swirling around Bruce Irvin. By signing with the Oakland Raiders as a free agent, he leaves behind one of the better teams in the National Football League. The Seattle Seahawks have one of the most dominating defenses around, but Irvin no longer wanted to be a part of that. People wanted to know why. According to NFL.com, Irvin feels that Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll held him back from becoming one of the best linebackers ever.
Though he was widely recognized as one of the better linebackers in the NFL, Bruce Irvin felt that he wasn’t able to display his talents enough with the Seattle Seahawks. Irvin felt that Pete Carroll had miscast him as a strong side linebacker. The former West Virginia Mountaineers star feels that he would be better off playing weak side linebacker or even middle linebacker, something that the Oakland Raiders probably offered him to convince him to sign with them in free agency.
The Seattle Seahawks played Bruce Irvin at strong side linebacker because he was their biggest one at the position. At 260 pounds, he outweighed Bobby Wagner by 19 pounds and KJ Wright by 14 pounds. Irvin stated that one could do one’s job as the strong side linebacker and still only come away with two tackles on the stat sheets. In a lot of NFL systems, the strong side linebacker usually takes on the blockers, so the middle linebacker and weak side linebacker make the tackles.
When it comes to blitzing the quarterback, the weak side linebacker usually gets the most opportunities. They usually line up on the side of the formation that does not include a tight end. Sometimes, the strong side even includes a fullback. With offensive tackles usually occupied by defensive ends and defensive tackles, the weak side linebacker has a free path to rush into the backfield and get the quarterback sack.
Ironically enough, the Seattle Seahawks are considering a position change for KJ Wright. He might move from weak side linebacker to strong side linebacker to replace Bruce Irvin. The Seahawks love how well Wright has played at weak side linebacker, but since the other players on the roster are more suited for that position, Wright would have to make the sacrifice. Irvin probably would have preferred to swap positions with Wright more frequently when he was still with Seattle.
Another issue that Bruce Irvin had with the Seattle Seahawks was that they had him in pass coverage far too frequently. According to statistics, he dropped back 19 percent of the time that he was on the field. For a pass rusher, that’s way too much because they prefer to be chasing the quarterback instead. That’s one of the reasons why Mario Williams walked away from the Buffalo Bills and signed with the Miami Dolphins.
It will be interesting to see where the Oakland Raiders play Bruce Irvin. Former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith is moving to middle linebacker now that the Raiders have released Curtis Lofton. That means that Irvin will get to play on the outside. Khalil Mack proved to be one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. If Oakland plays him at linebacker, then Bruce will be forced to do a lot of the strong side linebacker responsibilities, but if they use Mack at defensive end, then Irvin gets what he wants.
Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. are two of the brightest football minds around. That’s why they’re coaching in the NFL. It would be a real shame if the two of them combined cannot figure out how to best utilize Bruce Irvin.
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