Top draft pick Bruce Irvin hasn't had a single sack nor been credited with a tackle in Seattle's first three exhibition games.
RENTON — The Seahawks were in a hurry to improve their pass rush this offseason.
That’s why they made Bruce Irvin the first defensive end chosen in the draft, picking him No. 15 overall in April.
“This is the fastest guy that you could hope to get to play this position,” coach Pete Carroll said the night the Seahawks chose Irvin.
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What’s taking so long, then? Irvin hasn’t had a single sack nor been credited with a tackle in Seattle’s first three exhibition games, and you must look past the scoresheet to see the progress the player from West Virginia is making.
“He’s grown in big ways here already,” Carroll said. “Hopefully we’ll see this week. I won’t be surprised at all if he has some real quality rushes. In the game last week, if you go back, he really was close enough to have four sacks in the game.”
Irvin is one of the players worth watching Thursday when Seattle concludes its exhibition schedule against Oakland. Rookie Russell Wilson will start at quarterback, but expect backup Matt Flynn to end up taking more snaps to make up for the time he missed last week with an elbow injury. Marshawn Lynch won’t play this week as he continues to rehab from back spasms, and receiver Doug Baldwin will sit out, too, as he comes back from a hamstring injury. Both are expected to be ready when the regular season begins. Besides, this final game isn’t a tuneup for the veterans so much as a final opportunity for the team’s younger players to show they’re ready for the real games.
“This week is really about the young guys getting their opportunities,” Carroll said. “We’re orchestrating it so they should be out there in some stressful situations, and they’ve really got to come through. It’s very important this time.”
And as far as Carroll is concerned, it’s only a matter of time before Irvin makes a breakthrough.
“We know it’s coming,” Carroll said.
Seattle totaled 33 sacks a year ago, tied for 19th in the league. The Seahawks’ top priority this offseason was acquiring a new quarterback. They went out and got two. Improving the pass rush ranked second on Seattle’s summer to-do list, and to that end, Seattle signed defensive lineman Jason Jones from Tennessee and drafted Irvin. Jones has missed the past two exhibition games, sitting out the victory in Denver because of illness and resting his surgically repaired knee the past two weeks. Jones won’t play against Oakland, either, but is expected to play in the season opener.
Irvin is coming around to listen to Carroll. He had his best practice of the month Tuesday and was almost as impressive Monday.
“Bruce was the most productive guy in practice throughout the camp,” Carroll said. “We keep score of that stuff, and he was the highest-ranked guy in terms of productivity. That’s in sacks and tackles for losses and knocking balls loose and all that stuff.”
Now, it’s just a matter of when he’ll hurry up and show that during the games.
• Guard John Moffitt is expected to play in Thursday’s exhibition game after returning from surgery to remove particles from his elbow. Moffitt started at right guard last year. Rookie J.R. Sweezy played with the first-unit line the past two weeks, and Carroll was not certain who will start the opener at right guard.
• The Oakland Raiders claimed defensive back Coye Francies on waivers from the Seahawks.
The Associated Press
contributed to this report.