Pete Carroll, Seahawks Excited to Have Veteran LB Mychal Kendricks Back in the Mix
After spending the last two seasons with the team, it appeared the Seahawks would be parting ways with linebacker Mychal Kendricks after he tore his ACL late last season. Coming off the injury and scheduled to have a sentencing hearing earlier this month for an insider trading conviction, his time in Seattle seemed all but finished.
But since veteran Bruce Irvin suffered his own ACL injury in Week 2 against the Patriots and rookie Jordyn Brooks continues to battle an MCL sprain, the Seahawks lacked depth at linebacker. Filling that void out of the bye week, they decided to bring back Kendricks, who knows the defensive system extremely well and adds invaluable insurance at the position.
While this will be his first week of practice since suffering his knee injury, the Seahawks were extremely pleased with Kendricks’ rehab program and feel he’s finally ready to compete for a job. But before that happens, coach Pete Carroll admitted the team is planning to ease the 5-foot-11 linebacker back into football activities and they’ll determine how he’ll fit into future plans from there.
“Mychal [Kendricks] is a real good ballplayer and we thought he did great stuff for us in the past – had a huge injury, he’s done a marvelous job of returning,” Carroll discussed. “Right now, this is the first day that he’s practiced since he got hurt. So we’re going to take it slow and make sure Mike gets enough time to get going again and then we’ll see where he fits in.”
Though Kendricks hasn’t played in a single game this season, his familiarity with Seattle’s defense will likely help him transition seamlessly to being back on the field. That being said, it’s possible the 30-year old will require some additional time to work on his conditioning over the next few weeks as he attempts to return to his “football shape" after a difficult injury.
The former second-round pick was previously utilized at multiple positions during his first stint, but Carroll stated Kendricks will primarily work at the weakside linebacker spot once he takes the field. Regardless of where the veteran defender is positioned, the Seahawks’ head coach mentioned he’s just extremely happy and excited to have the California standout back in blue and green.
“He’s versatile, he’s going to start at his best spot at WILL and get in there and see how he does there, knowing he can play the SAM spot,” Carroll explained. “We used him all over the place when he was here over the last couple years. So we’re really excited to get him back.
“He’s a well-conditioned kid and he’s strong as hell, he just needs to get football-wise ready. So, I’m really happy that he’s here, I’ve really liked Mike and I’m glad that he’s with us.”
Before his campaign ended during the final game of the regular season, Kendricks made 14 starts for the Seahawks in 2019, producing 71 total tackles, 47 solo tackles, eight tackles for loss, seven quarterback hurries, three quarterback hits, 3.0 sacks, three pass deflections, and one forced fumble.
Despite these impressive results, the ninth-year pro endured plenty of struggles in pass coverage, as he allowed 36 of his 42 targets (85.7 percent completion percentage), 320 passing yards, 236 yards after the catch, two touchdowns, and a 104.4 passer rating against him. To make matters worse, the former Eagle also recorded a career-high 19 missed tackles, which were the third-most in the league among all defensive players, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.
Since there's a possibility Brooks could return to action this weekend in Arizona, it seems like Kendricks could be forced to wait at least a few weeks before making his 2020 season debut. While it's still unclear as to when he'll participate in his first game, Carroll believes it's crucial to have quality players on the roster who're ready to play if needed, which explains his return.
"Right now it's just getting good football players that are available and give them a chance to compete," Carroll detailed. "It's a long season, so much stuff happens and we need all the help we can get to endure [it]. Mychal has been a really good ballplayer and the fact that he's played all over the place, his experience and all that, we're fortunate to get him on our practice squad right now. He's on his road to recovery right now, coming back in and proving that he can do it."