Seahawks

Ugo Amadi prepared to step up in Marquise Blair's absence

Seahawks

As Ugo Amadi walked off the field as a rookie for the final time after the Seahawks loss to Green Bay in the divisional round, he put much of the blame on his own shoulders.

Throughout the offseason, he would watch his game film of the defeat in which Davante Adams tormented Seattle’s secondary en route to eight receptions for 160 yards and two touchdowns as he told NBC Sports NW Seahawks Insider Joe Fann on the Talkin' Seahawks Podcast in July.

The back-breaker coming in the fourth quarter when Amadi gave up a 32-yard pass completion on third down to Adams to seal the game for Green Bay.

“Whenever you don’t play well, it’s hard to watch it,” he said. “Everyone wants to watch themselves doing good, but it’s hard for them to watch themselves doing bad. I’ve watched that game and play so many times.”

Now, despite his sophomore season well under way, he still hasn't forgotten about that chilly night in Green Bay. He won't allow himself too. 

[RELATED]: Ugo Amadi fueled by Divisional Round bout against Davante Adams

"Like I said that's been my motivation, what happened in Green Bay," Amadi told reporters Wednesday afternoon. 

After a season-ending ACL tear to starting nickel cornerback Marquise Blair, Amadi will get the opportunity to show everyone he's not the same player he was last season.

 

"Seeing my brother Marquise go down, I was really terrified," recalled Amadi. "I was really like 'Man, hopefully it's nothing serious.' I [saw] how they had to help him off the field I was like 'Man, this isn't looking too good,' but at halftime I told Marquise 'Hey, we gonna win this game for you.'"

The Seahawks did just that defeating the New England Patriots 35-30 on a game-sealing goal line stand as time expired. Amadi, in relief of Blair who suffered the injury early in the second quarter, finished with eight tackles including one tackle for loss.

"He did well. He did a nice job,"Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said following Sunday's victory. "He really was active. Ever since he's been on the field for us, whether it's special teams or when he plays (defense), he just shows up. He's got a great burst to get to the ball. He's a very active football player.

"We need him to step up and be a factor. He's filling some big shoes. Marquise had done a great job to this point."

The 2019 fourth-round pick understands what he has to do to help Seattle win. 

"In the nickel spot, you got to run like a corner and hit like a linebacker and with that, the film study it's all about putting yourself in the right position because certain things, certain lineups, down-and-distance, where the ball is... they are all tendencies to put you in position to make a play."

Amadi trusted his studying to blow up a Rex Burkhead counter behind the line of scrimmage.

A play like that is a byproduct of not only Amadi's preparation but also his experience. He's no longer a rookie on the field adjusting to the speed of the National Football League.

"I feel like everything felt kind of slowed down for me. The physical aspect and the mental aspect. Having that year under my belt helped me out a lot. Once I got out there with my opportunity I just cut it loose."

Following the 2019 season, Pete Carroll made it clear that the nickel job would be ‘Amadi’s to lose’ but that's what happened when Blair moved from safety to nickel cornerback following Seattle's acquisitions of Jamal Adams and Quinton Dunbar. But, Amadi didn't let the development get him down.

"I'm just always a patient person. Always paying attention at all times because like you said you never know when your name's gonna be called. Life's very unpredictable so I've always been that person just staying ready."

When Blair went down in the second quarter, Amadi was ready to step up.

"My name was called like I said. I answered."

No wonder he did. He trained all offseason for this opportunity, fueled by the third-down conversion in Green Bay, and he won't let it go to waste. 

 

"I was really training a lot with my man coverage trying to get hands on receivers, being tight in coverage. Trying to guard in as many different series as I can because come the season starts I'm guarding different types of receivers," Amadi said Wednesday."Receivers [that do] different types of releases and they run their routes different so I'm just trying to figure out how I can adjust to different types of players."

Not only has his coverage improved since last season, but his ability to make plays given his raw athleticism has as well.

"I feel like I've grown a lot in the physicality part. I'm really [giving] a lot of effort on getting off on blocks and getting physical in tackles. Just being nasty in the trenches," added a smiling Amadi.

It wasn't all perfect on the field Sunday for Amadi, however. He did give up some pass completions while guarding Julian Edelman but just add those plays to the fire. All his mistakes just fuel him to be better and in some cases they aren't even mistakes. Some quarterbacks such as Russell Wilson and Cam Newton are just that good.

"To this day that still bothers me that just shows how good quarterbacks can be by putting the ball in places DBs can't get no matter how good the coverage is. Good thing I have Russ on my team so I can harp on that a little bit more in practice. Make sure I'm in better coverage and finishing in on the ball."

Amadi will have his work cut out for him on Sunday when the Seahawks host the Dallas Cowboys who have one of the league's best wide receiver trios in the NFL in Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb. 

If we've learned anything, Amadi will be prepared and ready to step up to the challenge. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann]