Seahawks' next man up after Kendricks' suspension has 'not a lot' of experience
RENTON, Wash. -- The Seahawks suffered another blow to their weak side linebacker depth.
When the NFL suspended Mychal Kendricks indefinitely for his violation of the league's personal-conduct policy on Tuesday, a result of his guilty plea to insider trading, another starter at the position was lost in Seattle.
With Kendricks, the Seahawks were already recuperating for the injured K.J. Wright -- who's remained sidelined more than a month after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. His return timetable is uncertain. Now there's no Wright and Kendricks.
So it's "next man up," as they frequently say in football. In the Seahawks' case, second-year linebacker Austin Calitro will likely be relied heavily upon and might start.
But how much experience did he have at weak side prior to Seattle this year?
"Not a lot at all," he admitted Wednesday.
That doesn't appear to be of concern for the Seahawks, who've been impressed with Calitro dating back to training camp.
Undrafted out of Villanova last year, Calitro bounced around on NFL practice squads as a rookie -- including with the Seahawks -- before finding a home in Seattle this season. He's been one of the team's top defenders (currently tied for fifth in tackles with Kendricks) and answered the bell when asked to step up.
Calitro filled in as the starting middle linebacker in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears, when Bobby Wagner was out with a groin injury, and stepped up: He led the team with nine combined tackles. The Seahawks expect nothing less against the Los Angeles Rams this Sunday.
"We have good background with him," Carroll said. "He has played some good football, so we feel fortunate that he knows (weakside linebacker) and that he's well versed. It's one of those opportunities that a guy gets and I'm hoping he'll do a great job again. He's already done well, so we expect him to do fine."
Added defensive Ken Norton, Jr. of Calitro: "There hasn't been much of a drop off (when he plays) and we don't expect anything different at this point."
If Calitro is the No. 1 option at weakside, the Seahawks also have rookie Shaquem Griffin and Maurice Alexander at their dispense.
The team announced Wednesday that it brought Alexander back to the team (he was cut prior to Week 1). Primarily a strong safety, Alexander played some weakside linebacker for Seattle at the end of the preseason.
"It's the same philosophy, man," Alexander said of playing linebacker versus safety. "You gotta know what the linebackers are doing as a safety anyways."
On in his first stint with the Seahawks, prior to being cut, Alexander admitted that he could've given more effort; he was slowed by injuries in training camp, yes, but the NFL is a "who's available?" business. There's no one to blame but himself, he explained.
"I'm just happy to be here right now," Alexander said. "I just can't wait to get out there and play."
One man goes down at weakside linebacker, another steps up.
"I'm excited," Calitro said. "This is a big game, so I'm excited to play and show them what I got. I think I've done well every game I've got in. It's just a new opponent for me now."
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