RENTON — On the second day of Seahawks coaching camp, Cody Barton crowded in with dozens of his different teammates at the back of the group’s auditorium on the VMAC to look at Okay.J. Wright formally announce his retirement.
Then, after Wright’s farewell was over, Barton took the sphere for an additional observe, hoping to proceed to indicate that he is usually a appropriate inheritor obvious for one of many best Seahawks ever.
“I don’t feel pressure, no,” Barton stated of the duty of teaming with Jordyn Brooks as Seattle’s inside linebacking tandem, the primary time since 2010 the Seahawks gained’t have one in all both Wright or Bobby Wagner as a part of their linebacking crew.
“It’s the way it goes. You start letting external pressure get into yourself, putting pressure on yourself, you might fold. So I don’t really feel pressure. I’m ready for the challenge. I’ve been ready for a while and I’m just excited to run with it.”
And the Seahawks have proven nothing however confidence that he can get the job achieved, with normal supervisor John Schneider stating in March that within the wake of the discharge of Wagner, the Seahawks have been able to roll with Barton and Brooks inside.
“We’re on to Jordyn and Cody,” Schneider stated then, with the Seahawks making no vital strikes since then so as to add competitors for Barton’s spot.
The roles of Brooks and Barton, although, have shifted slightly from those they performed final yr.
Brooks performed alongside Wagner in 2021 at weakside linebacker, the spot Wright held for many of his Seattle profession, whereas Barton performed all however one snap of the ultimate two video games of final season changing Wagner within the center when Wagner suffered a knee damage on the primary play towards Detroit.
But with Wagner gone, Brooks is now within the center and carrying the inexperienced dot on his helmet, which means he’s the who will get the play name from the coaches and relays it to the remainder of the group, whereas Barton is taking part in weakside.
Both even have considerably completely different roles than did Wagner and Wright for many of their careers with Seattle planning to go together with extra of a 3-4 scheme.
Barton says the scheme being carried out by new defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt, “asks for me to do some different things” than the previous one did, and that his new function particularly means “I have a lot more responsibility in the pass game, which I love. I love (defending) the pass game.”
The strikes appear to suit every of the linebackers’ strengths.
Brooks made a franchise-record 183 tackles final season and has been thought to be significantly proficient in defending the run. His go protection has been a piece in progress — he allowed a passer ranking of 118.1 in 2021 in accordance with Pro Football Reference. Moving to center linebacker means Brooks shouldn’t must cowl as a lot floor in go protection.
Barton, in the meantime, was a extremely rated security popping out of Brighton High in Salt Lake earlier than signing with Utah, the place he initially performed a rover place earlier than transferring to linebacker.
“He has always been an excellent pass defender, which we need him to be,’’ coach Pete Carroll said last week. “So we are going to try to allow him to play to his strengths and count on him to do a bunch of playing for us.”
Wright, in fact, was additionally recognized for his go protection, thought to be probably the greatest within the NFL in his profession at defending screens. Seattle struggled in that space final yr in permitting the second-most passing yards within the NFL.
But the group hopes placing Barton in that spot now and permitting Brooks to play within the center will go a great distance towards bettering its go protection.
“He had a safety background in college,” Hurtt famous final week of Barton. “He’s a very aware guy in the pass game.”
Entering the ultimate season of his rookie contract however having made simply 5 begins, Barton says he’ll do regardless of the group needs so long as he can get on the sphere.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Barton stated. “I’m excited.”
Still, even when he says he doesn’t really feel stress stepping right into a beginning function for the primary time, he is aware of there are massive footwear to fill entering into the spot that Wright dealt with so properly for many of the earlier decade.
Wright and Wagner took Barton underneath their collective wing when he arrived in 2019, with Barton saying the 2 taught him “hundreds of things. When I first got here I didn’t know much. Just ‘see ball, get ball’ I guess. But Bobby and K.J. taught me a ton about the game, the ins and outs and the details, about life. Just everything.”
Barton was hardly alone in being mentored by Wright and Wagner, whose locker room management was simply one of many many causes every will go down as legendary Seahawks gamers.
The reception that Wright’s ceremonial one-day contract that allowed him to retire as a Seahawk — and the following news convention that adopted which solely additional bolstered the admiration by which Wright was held by everybody concerned within the franchise — illustrated much more clearly to Barton the legacy he’s now being tasked with upholding.
“It was emotional,” Barton stated. “I really looked up to him when I was here and seeing his retirement speech, it makes you reflect back on all the things that he’s done. And the biggest thing I took from that is that one of his main things was he wanted to leave an impression as a great teammate and when think of him that’s the first thing that comes to mind is how good of a teammate he was on and off the field and it fires me up because someday I want to be recognized like that.”