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 Předmět příspěvku: Evolving his game
PříspěvekNapsal: čtv září 20, 2018 3:44 am 
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Bobby Wagner reacted as though he was hoping the question would come.

With all the changes on the Seattle Seahawks defense – the leaders Maxx Williams Jersey , the voices, the veterans no longer around – will there be a new focus on a group of linebackers that at times has seemed underappreciated?

”It has always been about the guy in the middle,” Wagner said emphatically. ”So for me, it’s not no different because that’s how I look at it, but from the outside maybe it is different because those guys are gone and you guys are looking for someone who is going to be that leader. Y’all ain’t got to look. You’re looking at the guy right here. I will be that guy and we’re going to be fine.”

And with that, any question about who the leading voice is on Seattle’s defense was quickly answered.

For most of the past half-decade Mark Clayton Jersey , Seattle’s highly regarded defense was defined by the secondary with the catchy nickname and the flashy personalities. From there, attention often shifted to the defensive line and the type of chaos Michael Bennett and others created on – and sometimes off – the field.

Then there was Wagner and fellow linebacker K.J. Wright. They have been regarded as two of the best in the league at their positions and sometimes have received that level of recognition. But they were often relegated to a secondary role on their own team in terms of recognition even with Wagner being voted first-team All-Pro three times and Wright being a Pro Bowl selection.

”The attention has gone elsewhere, I guess,” Wright said. ”Nothing will change. We’ll still be the bad-ass linebackers on this team. We’ll still lead the way. Stuff will still be run in order. We’ll still make plays and it’ll be fun out there.”

Seattle’s offseason defensive overhaul saw Bennett, Richard Sherman and Sheldon Richardson find new homes; Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor step away from the game due to neck injuries, and Earl Thomas hold out in search of a new contract. There are changes everywhere across Seattle’s defensive alignment Justin Houston Jersey , with the exception of the linebackers.

Wagner has been calling Seattle’s defense from the moment he arrived in the NFL and became a starter as a rookie. His partner the entire time has been Wright. With the departures, those voices they’ve used together for the past six seasons will be even louder.

”Yeah, they had the name, they got a lot of the attention and now the attention may shift to the linebackers,” Wagner said. ”But we pride ourselves on being the guys that lead this team and that has been my mindset since I stepped in. I had coach Norton teach me the way.”

Ken Norton Jr. has returned to Seattle to be the defensive coordinator. He was a mentor for Wagner and Wright as the linebackers coach when both arrived in the NFL. Now he’s returned with an even bigger imprint on what Seattle does defensively.

”He’s the linebackers guy and he put that responsibility more on us. He calls on me in the meeting room to answer most of the questions, calls on Bobby to answer the questions because he knows that we’re all on the same page Laquon Treadwell Jersey ,” Wright said. ”He knows that we’re the guys that can share our leadership abilities, share our knowledge of the game. He’s putting that on us.”

There may also be some schematic tweaks that give Wagner and Wright more freedom defensively. Wright said he believes the adjustments will make Seattle more fundamentally sound defensively and the linebackers could be the benefactors.

”I think this defense is hungry,” Wright said. ”We have a lot to prove. Myself, the secondary with all the guys leaving, the (defensive) line with the guys leaving. It’s going to be fun because you’ve got guys who want to come and show who they are.”



The Pittsburgh Steelers have exercised the fifth-year option on outside linebacker Bud Dupree.

The Steelers made the announcement on Monday, three days before the start of the draft. The move will keep the 24-year-old Dupree under contract for the 2019 season.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert says Matthew Slater Jersey , "We're excited about where Bud can be in these next two years and we had no hesitation in making that move when we did it."

Pittsburgh selected Dupree with the 22nd overall pick in the 2015 draft. Dupree has increased his sack total in each of his three seasons, going from 4 in 2015 to 4.5 in 2016 to 6 in 2017 as part of a defense that set a franchise record and led the NFL with 56 sacks last season.

The decision to pick up Dupree's option will likely have a minimal impact on Pittsburgh's draft plans. The Steelers need help at inside linebacker, with Pro Bowler Ryan Shazier ruled out for the 2018 season while recovering from spinal stabilization surgery.

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