Pete Carroll excited by linebacker trio of Wagner, Wright, Kendricks
On paper, the idea of playing Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks at the same time wouldn’t seem to be the easiest fit for the Seattle Seahawks.
However, head coach Pete Carroll is excited about finding a way to make it all work.
“Really looking forward to the combination of the three guys playing together,” Carroll said at the league meetings on Tuesday morning. “I don’t think we’ve ever been better. When that all comes together -- we’ve got all kinds of ideas and things we want to do with those guys to use their strengths.”
Wright and Wagner have played together for seven years. However, Wright and Kendricks would both seemingly be best suited at Seattle’s weak-side linebacker position. It’s the spot Wright has played for most of his Seahawks’ tenure and the spot Kendricks played last season in place of Wright when he was injured. The weak-side and strong-side positions have fundamentally different roles in Seattle’s defense. The strong-side linebacker lines up on the line of scrimmage while the weak-side lines up four yards off the ball.
In an interview with KJR last week, Wright said he fully expects to remain at his weak-side spot.
“I’m not going to SAM,” Wright said. “If the SAM is off the ball, I’ll go to SAM but I’ve got to be off the ball. They’ve got to get creative with how they utilize everyone. But me on the ball is no-go.”
The strong-side position is better suited for a larger player, which makes Kendricks - listed at 6-feet, 240 pounds - a curious fit for that spot.
Nevertheless, the trio of Wright, Wagner and Kendricks are arguably as talented a set of linebackers as the team has had under Carroll. Roles could be tweaked to better suit the collection of talent they’ve accumulated.
“That flexibility is going to give an added dimension to us, we’ll be able to move those guys around. The plan is absolutely to play them at the same time,” Carroll said.
With Wright injured and Kendricks suspended for large portions of last season, the Seahawks had to call upon Barkevious Mingo, Austin Calitro and Shaquem Griffin to cover the absences at linebacker. Mingo’s remains an option at the strong-side linebacker spot as well. It’s the spot he played most last season.
Additionally, it provides some insurance in case any of the three go down. The caveat with Kendricks remains potential jail time stemming from a guilty plea to insider trading charges last September. However, his sentencing hearing has been postponed for a second time. He already served an eight-game suspension for the transgressions last season so no further league penalties are expected.
Now it’s just up to Carroll to find a way to make it all work together.
“The expectations are really high and those guys are going to be really good,” Carroll said.