Pete Carroll excited by linebacker trio of Wagner, Wright, Kendricks

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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.

15 responses to “Pete Carroll excited by linebacker trio of Wagner, Wright, Kendricks

  1. They spend a ton of money there when we already have a surplus of guys who can play, meanwhile Tre Boston is a guy who is still unsigned and who could REALLY help at FS instead of trying to rely on Thompson or Hill to replace ET.

  2. That is a pretty weak LB corps. Wagner is an elite MLB but is getting older now entering his 8th & age 29 season. KJ Wright’s knee is gone, his knee is bone on bone and it is why he had zero interest in free-agency because teams know he can only play another 1 to 2yrs max on that knee which limited him to just 5 games last year. It is why SEA signed him to just a 1YR deal this year, technically it is a 2yr deal but in reality it is only a 1yr deal as they GTD’d him just the first year @$6.5M and have an optional out built into the contract where they can cut him after next season owing him zero w/ just $2M in dead cap money. Kendricks just isnt that good of a player, he had a PFF grade in the low 60s last year and is looking at both jail time and as soon as he is sentenced which in all likelihood will be over the summer so he their is a good chance he wont even be in a Hawks uniform next season w/ Kendricks looking at prison time. It is why SEA signed him to just a 1YR contract that guarantees him Nothing which is unheard of but given Kendricks uncertain future no one would of guaranteed him money. To make matters worse their pass rush is extremely weak, outside of Frank Clark (who is their one good pass rusher) they have nothing in terms of a pass rush.
    With Earl Thomas gone their secondary is the definition of weak with #1 CB Shaq Griffin ranking amongst the worst CB’s in the NFL ranking 111th among CB’s of 115 ranked posting a 50.7 overall grade. #2CB Tre Flowers ranked 67th among Corners and wasnt much better, the Free Safety replacing Thomas also is a below average player who’s not good ranking 52nd of 78 safety’s ranked & SS Delano HIll was even worse ranking 68th of 78 ranked Safeties. The one decent CB they had in nickel CB Justin Coleman they let walk in F/A.

    With a weak pass rush and holes all over the backend of their defense in their secondary teams will carve that defense up in 2019. The Hawks have the worst defense inside the NFC-W heading into 2019 as even SF has a better defensive roster with the additions they’ve made. I’d bet good money the Hawks take a big step back this season as teams are going to put points up on that defense easily.

  3. They paid money for KJ based on his presence on and off the field and what that means for the team. They basically paid nothing for Kendricks if he does time that will impact his time on the field. Nothing is guaranteed in that contract. So it was a quality set of moves for the Seahawks. KJ isn’t signed to a Long term deal so he still has some quality time left before he really starts breaking down. Last year was the first real season that he’s been injured.

  4. The Seahawks have been using Barkevious Mingo, an undersized linebacker, at the SAM spot for the last year. Mingo is extremely athletic, but his problem in the league has been with developing his strength. That’s why he never worked out with the Browns. Kendricks is heavier, actually, and shorter. I’m not sure exactly how Seattle runs their scheme in regards to the percentages that have the SAM blitz or play off the ball, but Mingo is a speedy pass rusher at his core as a player. Griffin also is not a heavier, stronger guy in how he plays. That’s the mold they’ve been playing with, and Kendricks likely won’t have trouble competing in regards to playing with strength.

    That said, Kendricks never struck me as a pass rusher with Philly. I always saw him in the middle. I’m not knocking the Seahawks when I say this, but I think it’d be prudent to at least see what his sentence is going to look like before talking about how excited they are to play Kendricks on the field.

  5. The fact that his sentencing keeps getting pushed back suggests that something is being worked out with the prosecution and judge. I’m starting to think Kendricks will get a suspended sentence.

  6. BelgiumHawk says:
    March 28, 2019 at 6:55 am
    They paid money for KJ based on his presence on and off the field and what that means for the team. They basically paid nothing for Kendricks if he does time that will impact his time on the field. Nothing is guaranteed in that contract. So it was a quality set of moves for the Seahawks. KJ isn’t signed to a Long term deal so he still has some quality time left before he really starts breaking down. Last year was the first real season that he’s been injured
    ===================================

    Actually KJ Wright does not have any quality time left on that knee. His knee is bone on bone which is why SEA only guaranteed one year of his contract and can get out of it after 1YR w/ just 2.5M in dead cap space. Both John Clayton and Brock Huard have reported Wright’s knee is bone on bone and he doesnt have more than 2yrs max likely just 1 year and SEA is worried he wont make it thru an entire season again in his career. The Hawks need to draft another LB to replace him esp given that MLB/OLB Shaquem Griffin is a bust.

  7. As they say, “Man plans, god laughs.” In this case the legal system may have the last laugh. How about a sentence of 5 months (which was the length of Martha Stewart’s sentence for insider trading) beginning in September. That would mean he will finish his sentence by the time the regular season ends.

  8. Seattle will be set at linebacker…..if they also draft one first 4 rounds. Assuming Kendricks is available all season and Wright can play atleast 8 games, any one of these 3 can be dinged up and out for a week or 2 and they will still be just fine. Pete really needs to find a rookie capable of making some plays though because Calitro and Griffin are major weaknesses when on the field.

  9. Kendricks will prob get a suspended sentence, too bad it wont him stop over-running plays and pulling hammies.

  10. Kendricks looked good when he was on the field last year. KJ also looked like he had some gas in the tank – when healthy – though it’s starting to feel like getting 16 games out of him is a stretch. Still happy they re-signed him to a reasonable deal.

    This off-season has been conservative, but basically smart and positive – we’ve kept the guys we needed to for the most part (exception being Coleman, but that was a lot of money for him). Wish we had more picks in the draft, but so it goes.

  11. @hawkkiller- You even said he has two years left most likely just one year. My estimation that is a lot of good football left. Hawks only signed him for two years with basically 1 year guaranteed which is writing on the wall to everyone that KJ might be done after 2019 and that is fine. He had a great career. The hawks will draft another off the ball linebacker probably next year’s draft and keep Kendricks around for awhile.
    Usually takes about 2-3 years for back-ups to really find the speed of the game and the experience in Carroll’s system. I wouldn’t deem Griffin a bust just yet. Yes he looked pretty lost in space during spurts when he was filling in, but I’m not worried about that. The hawks are going to move him to more of a pass rush role and see his quickness really take over so he doesn’t have to think as much.

  12. mountie97 says:

    March 28, 2019 at 11:28 am

    Kendricks will prob get a suspended sentence, too bad it wont him stop over-running plays and pulling hammies.
    ———————-
    Kendricks already served his NFL suspension, so anything that he gets from the court will be his final punishment. The NFL will not suspend him again based on the court decisions.

  13. Sounds like Pete just being Pete.
    He’s almost always upbeat positive and overly optimistic.
    Experience dictates one not pin their hopes on what he says.

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