Ken Norton Jr. must be doing jumping jacks, or whatever it is he does when he gets excited. I imagine it’s jumping jacks. This week saw the return of linebackers Korey Toomer and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith. Toomer, now entering his third season, has spent time on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list nursing a hamstring injury. Smith, of course, has been rehabbing from offseason ankle surgery. Both began to take part in individual drills this past Monday.
It gets better. Both 2012 draftees Bobby Wagner and Bruce Irvin are expected to return and take their rightful spot at linebacker as early as next week. Wagner has been recovering from a hamstring injury. He was the Hawks’ second-round pick and has been a staple at the MLB position ever since. Wagner was put in as a leader right away, and he has gone out and led the Seahawks in tackles two years straight since he was drafted.
Irvin was, of course, Seattle’s surprise first-round pick. He will be coming back from offseason hip surgery. Irvin had a very good rookie season, but his production dipped last season in part because of his suspension, partly because he changed positions and had a different role and partly because of his hip. Irvin is a true speedster who puts a lot of pressure on the opposing team’s quarterback. He also showed that he has the ability to cover in pass protection. I fully expect him to be a force this season. It will be interesting to see how the Seahawks decide to handle both Irvin and Smith on defense.
The Legion of Boom gets the most attention, but the Seahawks’ defense as a whole is very impressive. It will be a lot of fun watching this linebacker unit flying all over the field. Make no mistake about it, this linebacker unit is fast — very, very fast.