First-round pick Bruce Irvin was not supposed to be anything more than a situational pass rusher this season. So far, that is all he has been. But that is about to change.
The season-ending ACL injury to Chris Clemons means Irvin will start and play a lot against Atlanta. And the Hawks will need him to get pressure on quarterback Matt Ryan.
The Hawks had just 36 sacks this season, and Clemons (11.5) and Irvin (eight) had over half of them.
After Clemons was hurt in the third quarter Sunday, Irvin had a key sack of Washington QB Robert Griffin III that put the Redskins back on their 12-yard line. On the next play, as Griffin tried to pick up an errant snap, his knee gave out. Seattle recovered and ended up kicking a field goal to go up 24-14.
Irvin was very active against Washington, also coming up with a couple of QB hits and a batted pass. The Hawks will need more of that from the undersized defensive end many (including me) thought they reached to draft with the 15th pick in April.
"This is Bruce’s opportunity," coach Pete Carroll told reporters. "It’s what we drafted him to play. And we’ll see how he does. We expect him to do really well as he steps up."
Irvin said he is ready, thanks to Clemons . "If Clem is out," he tweeted, "I think he has done enough these past 20 weeks of getting me ready for situations like this. I will be fine people!"
The Hawks will have to get pressure on Ryan, which means Gus Bradley is going to have to go against his MO and blitz on the road.
WILL HAWKS HAVE A NEW KICKER THIS WEEK?
Has Steven Hauschka played his last game for the Seahawks? You can pretty much bet this is his last season -- he simply cannot hit from 50 yards consistently enough.
He battled through a strained calf muscle on his plant leg and made three short field goals Sunday. But the Hawks are preparing for his potential absence by reportedly trying out free agents Ryan Longwell and Neil Rackers, among others.
“He feels better today than he did yesterday,” Carroll said. “He really did a great job of kicking through it and making the plays we needed him to make.”
BRADLEY AND BEVELL ARE FOCUSED ON ATLANTA
The Eagles want to talk to Bradley and the Bears want to talk to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, but Carroll said neither assistant will be traveling for interviews this week.
“Both of those guys have been contacted,” Carroll said. “And it’s a real positive for the program when people want to talk to your guys. I’ve always thought that that’s a real cool thing.
“There’s a time and a place. And both of our guys are very aware of what they’re doing, and what we’re in for here. And neither one of them is going to let this distract them or get in the way. There’s very limited opportunity for any of that. They’re not going to travel and go places -- run around and all of that. So in all due respect for what we’re after right now, it’s low on their list. Both these guys feel exactly the same way about it.”
Carroll did not indicate whether the Eagles or Bears would send representatives to Seattle to interview his coordinators.
The Eagles reportedly also are interested in Denver OC Mike McCoy, Atlanta DC Mike Nolan and Indianapolis OC Bruce Arians.
Bevell and Arians are among about a dozen candidates for the Bears, which would seem to make Bevell a long shot for that job.