While things haven’t gone as planned for Seattle’s defense through six games, as they’ve allowed the most total yards per game (479.2) among all 32 teams in the NFL, there’s still plenty of time to turn things around and the team’s first-round draft choice could help them accomplish that.
After being selected by the Seahawks at No. 27 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, rookie Jordyn Brooks was expected to be eased into his new role through the first half of the season, but the complete opposite has happened out of necessity. Once veteran Bruce Irvin suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 2 against the Patriots, the 23-year old was needed to fill in at the SAM spot in Week 3, only to suffer a knee injury of his own, which sidelined him for the next two games.
Making his return in Arizona last Sunday, Brooks made his first career NFL start and was lined up at weakside linebacker. With veteran teammate K.J. Wright moving over to play at SAM, the youngster received an opportunity to play at his most comfortable spot, which he described as a very natural and normal feeling.
“It felt natural, that’s my natural position - just playing off the ball, as a linebacker, reading pullers, and getting into run fits,” Brooks discussed. “So, it was a natural feeling for me.”
While Brooks was located at multiple linebacker positions throughout his collegiate career, his most natural spot was at WILL and it seems he’ll remain at that position through the rest of the season. That being said, the Texas Tech standout’s snap count will likely be monitored during the second half in hopes of keeping him fresh through all four quarters of each game.
Learning from two of the top linebackers in the league, the former Red Raider admitted teammates Bobby Wagner and Wright helped him prepare for his return to action and stated both of them have acted like “two coaches” on the field with him. Utilizing the knowledge he’s gained from the experienced duo, the Texas native explained how he’s learned to be more patient and how that mindset has assisted his growth on and off the field since the beginning of the regular season.
“Patience is everything, if you try to rush something and you’re not ready for it you could get exposed or it could be shown on tape,” Brooks detailed. “So I think that the timing was perfect for me, maybe Week 1 I wasn’t ready and here we are Week 8. I feel good, the playbook feels good, I’m healthy. So, I think patience is everything.”
Over his first four games in the league, Brooks has earned 67 defensive snaps, producing eight total tackles, four solo tackles, along with a notable tackle for loss on Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray on Sunday, which ultimately led to a turnover on downs. In pass coverage, the promising young linebacker has allowed three catches for just 13 yards, four yards after the catch, and a 78.1 passer rating.
Considering the former All-American couldn’t create a single quarterback pressure over his nine pass-rushing attempts, it seems this positional move should help him become more effective through the remainder of the season. Based on his impressive results from Week 7 – three solo tackles and one tackle for loss over 38 defensive snaps (45 percent) – being lined up at the WILL spot could result in a strong second half performance from the talented linebacker.
After Seattle's defense endured its worst showing of the season last weekend, the entire unit will need to correct those issues before their Week 8 NFC West showdown at home against San Francisco. Looking to do his part, Brooks is planning to do everything he can to help his team improve and believes they'll need to take things one step at a time as the season moves along.
“I’m going to do everything I can to do my one-eleventh on this defense to help us get to where I know we can be. And that’s what we’re doing right now, it’s just one step at a time, it’s still early in the season. So that’s what keeps my hopes high about this defense getting to where we know we can be. So it’s just one step at a time, one practice at a time, one game at a time.”