Aaron Curry has got some work to do.
And he knows it.
The Seattle Seahawks rookie linebacker played a little over a half in his first action as a professional football player after signing a six-year, $60 million contract with the team, including $34 million guaranteed.
Curry reported to training camp eight days late and only had a week to prepare for Saturday’s game against the Chargers.
At times he looked like the dynamic physical specimen the team selected with the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft. And at other times Curry played like the wide-eyed rookie that he is.
Curry didn’t exactly fill up the stat sheet, finishing with two tackles in more than a half of work. Curry said he will work to increase the good plays and keep the bad plays to a minimum as Seattle prepares for its next opponent – Saturday’s game at Qwest Field against another former AFC West rival, the Denver Broncos.
Even though he reported to camp late, Curry said conditioning didn’t factor into his play against San Diego.
“I never really got tired,” he said. “At the beginning, just the enthusiasm and the adrenaline of playing in the NFL – I was a little winded. But once Coach Z (linebackers coach Zerick Rollins) told me to calm down and just play, I felt fine.”
Seattle coach Jim Mora said he was relatively pleased with Curry’s performance.
“I thought Aaron did some good things,” he said. “We moved him around a lot. We played him in our base defense as a Sam (strong-side linebacker), in our nickel defense as a dime (extra defensive back). We played him at right end some. He got some things done there. It’s hard to evaluate that position without looking at the tape. I feel like he didn’t stand out negatively, that’s for sure.”
Along with playing linebacker, Curry filled in at defensive end for a handful of plays on Saturday, as Mora attempts to evaluate Curry’s ability as a pass rusher.
Curry did a nice job of getting an upfield push while rushing the edge of San Diego’s defense, but he never threatened the quarterback.
“I felt comfortable rushing the passer,” he said. “When I was rushing the passer they threw pretty much some quick plays, and so I didn’t get as much work as I wanted to get, but I know coming up this week I’ll get some work on pass rushing.”
Curry said he also got crossed up on one play at the end of the first quarter. He dropped back in coverage from his defensive end position and gave up a 14-yard reception to Legedu Naanee on an underneath route, allowing the Chargers to convert a first down. Curry said he was supposed to rush the passer on that play.
“Busted assignment,” he said.
At linebacker, Curry did a nice job of coming up hard in run support and pursuing the ballcarrier across the field. But he also understands he has to be a little more patient in his reads and not just take off after the ball.
“I’ve got to let things slow down when they’re supposed to,” Curry said. “I just can’t go out there and kill everything all the time.”
One person reserving judgment on Curry’s performance is veteran linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who’s served as a mentor on the field for the young linebacker.
“I don’t know,” said Tatupu, when asked to evaluate Curry’s performance. “I haven’t watched the film yet. I was out there next to him.”