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October 29, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Seahawks coach Ken Norton on linebacker shuffle

Seahawks linebacker coach Ken Norton confirmed after Wednesday’s practice that Brock Coyle is in line to get his first career start Sunday against the Oakland Raiders at middle linebacker.

“Well, it’s his position to lose,” Norton said, then laughed. “He’s in there right now. He could mess it up by a bad week. We could change our mind.  But right now, I think Brock, we were pleasantly surprised by Brock and his performance this summer throughout camp, throughout the pre-season. He stepped in when Bobby (Wagner) was out (during training camp) and he’s going to do the same thing now. We know exactly what we are getting and we are very pleased  with what we have. That’s why he’s here.”

As Norton noted above, Coyle played substantially throughout the preseason when Wagner was out with a hamstring injury. He also stepped in for a few plays against Dallas when Wagner suffered the toe injury that currently has him sidelined indefinitely.

Without Wagner the past two week, Seattle has gone with K.J. Wright in the middle and Malcolm Smith at weakside linebacker. But Smith is out at the moment with a groin injury and Norton said his loss caused a further adjustment that compelled them to go with Coyle in the middle and Wright on the weakside.

“Well, it was Bobby and him leaving and now Malcolm is out, you have the Super Bowl MVP as the backup, he steps right in, and now he’s gone,” Norton said. “Now you have to make other adjustments. So that’s why our depth is so important.  Brock’s work that he had with Bobby out during the summer time is very important now. We know exactly what we are getting, a guy we have a lot of faith in, very tough, smart, reliable, fast, and he fits in well. And he and K.J. work very well together. He, K.J. and (strongside linebacker) Bruce (Irvin) is a really good tandem.”

Kevin Pierre-Louis went in when Smith was injured Sunday at Carolina. But Pierre-Louis plays weakside linebacker, the spot where Wright now returns.

Expect Pierre-Louis to continue to play substantially. But Norton said Coyle’s experience in the defense is the reason he will get a starting nod for now making for  pretty meteoric rise for Coyle, who made the roster as an undrafted free agent from Montana.

“It’s a very tough decision,” Norton said. “But Brock had more summer time with us. Kevin was hurt for a lot of time and Brock stood up and did a lot of good things, as well. … He (Coyle) is a good that you know he is going to do everything, look at all the details. Dot all your I’s and cross all your T’s. He’s really sharp in that fashion and he’s set himself (up) for a really good performance this week.”

 

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