Shaquem Griffin relishing chance to pass rush more for Seahawks

Curtis Crabtree
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

After a rocky rookie season, the Seahawks are hoping to get more out of Shaquem Griffin in his second year by putting him back in a role he’s extremely comfortable with.

Griffin has been deployed more as a pass rusher for the Seahawks this offseason, which returns him to the role he played during the majority of his time at Central Florida.

“It made me feel comfortable,” Griffin said on Thursday. “Being back on the edge is just something I knew already. Just jumping back into it, running around, going fast and enjoying the moments that I have on the edge.

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“It just snapped right back to me like, ‘Ooh, I’m having so much fun again.’ This is just such a big difference because I feel so comfortable out there. Put me on the edge, I can utilize my speed so much more.”

Griffin was slotted in as a weak-side linebacker for Seattle during his rookie campaign. The role called for Griffin to play off the ball and read the line of scrimmage far more than he was used to. At just 226 pounds, Griffin is undersized along the line of scrimmage, but it was a transition he struggled to make and he had to learn to play with more patience.

“I was so used to just… snap of the ball, full speed right now, go for it,” Griffin said. “And now you see the line stunts, you see the pullers. You can’t just see something and run for it right now because you might be missing the next gap that’s behind you because (running) backs like to cut back. It was just all about patience and letting the gap form out and then hitting it. When I was at outside backer, you didn’t have to think that much. The line blocks down, you’re taking off. The line blocks here, you’re setting the edge. That’s two things. When it comes to being behind the ball, you’ve got pullers, you’ve got to stunt the line one way or you’ve got to make sure you adjust the line before the play starts if they motion over. There’s just so much more into it that now when you come onto the edge it’s like ‘boom, let’s play ball.'”

Griffin has been playing the strong-side spot on the ball in Seattle’s base defense and weak-side linebacker off the ball in nickel packages.

“It’s been really a good deal for him,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “We see how much background he has on the edge. He’s played safety and outside linebacker for the most part in his career. He’s just more comfortable out there. That doesn’t mean that he can’t play behind the line of scrimmage. He’s gained a lot there, but you can see him on the edge, in space and coming off the edge and pressures and stuff like that, that it’s a good spot for him.”

With Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks slated to be Seattle’s starting linebackers, the move to a pass rush role presents an opportunity for Griffin to get on the field defensively more often this season.

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