Losing Marquise Blair in Week 2 to a season-ending ACL injury was a colossal blow for the Seattle Seahawks defense.
With Blair out for the season, Ugo Amadi, who lost out on the starting slot corner role during Seahawks training camp, thrusted into action.
The second-year defensive back out of Oregon posted one of his best performances to date on Sunday vs. the Dallas Cowboys, where he recorded seven tackles, a big stop on a 2-point conversion with Seattle up 2, and two pass-breakups on third down to end Dallas drives.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was pleased to see Amadi rise to the challenge.
"I thought Ugo played a fantastic game," Carroll said. "He had a couple of big plays down field. He just continues to be really active. It seems like he's all over the field. The big play on the 2-point conversion, the big tackle he made. He's doing a nice job. I'm really pleasantly pleased that the play of that spot hasn't fallen off at all with Marquise not being there. I'm really thrilled for Ugo, because he's such a fun kid to put out there, he's got so much juice to him. All the way back to his college days, he's one of those guys that has that golden horseshoe in his back pocket; stuff just comes his way and he makes plays. He's been doing that in the two years he's been with us, and we'll continue to expect him to do that...
Upon stepping in for Blair in Week 2, Amadi made a strong impression, compiling eight tackles, one for loss against the New England Patriots.
His stellar performance showed Amadi could get off on blocks, be physical in tackles, and meet the demand of the nickel role by “being nasty in the trenches."
“He’s doing an amazing job,” Shaquill Griffin said Sunday. “I said it before, I was very excited for him. The first time he came in when Marquise Blair went down, he showed his worth. He showed us that he’s a person we can count on, and he came back and did it again today, knowing that he was going to get some targets, we all knew that, being a young guy out there, they were going to attack him more. He showed up big for us today, and we’re going to continue to hold him to a high standard making the plays that he makes, and I feel like he’s totally ready for it.”
Amadi, a fourth-round pick out of Oregon, gained some valuable experience this offseason working out in his hometown of Nashville with some of the NFL’s elite players. That experience helped prepare him for his sophomore year in Seattle.
“I feel like everything felt kind of slowed down for me from Year 1 to Year 2,” Amadi said. “The physical aspect and the mental aspect. Having that year under my belt really helped me out a lot. Once I got out there with my opportunity, I just kind of cut it loose.”
With Blair lost for the season and another year of NFL experience under his belt, Amadi now understands the Seahawks system and he knows what it takes to help his team win.
As for the Seahawks, they are banking on it.
"He's way ahead of where it was last year when he was just barely getting going," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "So, as he comes back to us, we won't have any restrictions on what we can do and we look forward to his input. We need him to step up and be a factor. He's filling some big shoes. Marquise really had done a great job to this point, so we're calling him.
"He's going to play a little bit different, he has a little different style to him, but we're really counting him to come through."
[Listen to the latest Talkin' Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and special guest Adam Lefkoe host of Bleacher Report’s Lefkoe Show]