By Brent Stecker
The speculation about a position switch for Seahawks defensive end Bruce Irvin stopped being speculation on Wednesday, as The News Tribune reported that the team has decided to try him out at outside linebacker.
The Seahawks will look to take more advantage of Bruce Irvin's speed and keep him out of situations where he can be pushed around by playing him at outside linebacker. (AP)
While Irvin is already learning his new position, it will be a while before the second-year player can be tested in a regular season game because of a four-game suspension he was handed in May for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. But suspension or not, the Seahawks' willingness to try him out at linebacker may speak to how well veteran defensive end Chris Clemons' recovery from a torn ACL is going, as ESPN football analyst John Clayton told 710 ESPN Seattle's "Wyman, Mike and Moore" on the daily "Cold Hard Facts" segment.
"It shows that there may be confidence (that) Chris Clemons could be there for the season opener," Clayton said, "because to take one guy out of the defensive end position, if you're gonna shorten a position that could be thin, particularly if they're gonna be down two (players), why would they do that? What I think it does is show that they have enough options they feel good about, and I think that they must feel that Chris is going to be back. Even if he misses the first game, they should get him back in the first month."
Irvin had 17 tackles, eight sacks and a forced fumble as a defensive end in his rookie season of 2012, but the Seahawks want to see if they can take more advantage of the 6-foot-3, 248-pounder's speed while limiting him from situations where he could be pushed around.
"I think you can see he's got great talent, he's got great speed, and he may be more of a space player than he is a guy on the line," Clayton said. "I think we saw that at the end of the season and in the Atlanta (playoff) game that he can be pushed around when he's at the line of scrimmage trying to rush. But if you have him standing up and rushing, if you have him getting around the corner and rushing, and understanding that in college he did play more of a linebacker role, I can understand it."
Clayton said Irvin's move will increase the defense's flexibility, as he will still see time as a pass-rusher on the line.
"I think they gotta try to keep him doing both, because I think that you can see his job is going to be versatility," Clayton said. "When you go to a nickel ‚Ä¶ he's going to be putting his hand on the ground and rushing. You gotta move him around."