RENTON – This time Ricky Foley is prepared.
Four years after getting cut in training camp by the Baltimore Ravens, the 29-year-old weakside defensive end has another shot at the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks. Foley is taking no shortcuts.
“The biggest difference is preparation,” he said. “I know all my plays and I know how to study them, memorize them. This is my job. Before in Baltimore, I didn’t know how to study the playbook.”
A chiseled 6-foot-2 and 252 pounds, Foley’s athleticism couldn’t overcome mental mistakes.
“I was a good athlete,” he said, “but I was on the field screwing up too much.”
After being cut by the Ravens, Foley landed in the Canadian Football League with the B.C. Lions and blossomed into an effective pass rusher. He led the CFL with 121/2 sacks in 2009 and the NFL noticed. Five teams – Seattle, San Diego, Philadelphia, St. Louis and the New York Jets – came calling and he signed with the Seahawks in February. Four days into training camp and he finds himself in the good graces of the coaching staff, but far from a shoo-in for the 53-man roster.
“Ricky Foley is learning,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s a guy who’s really a true pass rusher first, and he’s in the mix as well. He’s not as comfortable in every-down situations, but as a specialty rusher and a special teams guy. He has a role for us we think.”
Foley plays “Leo” in Seattle’s 4-3 defensive scheme. He says the position is comparable to what he did in the CFL.
“I played a lot of stand-up on first down up in Canada to see everything going on and that’s kind of what they want here,” he said. “It’s pretty similar; a little more dropping here but not too much. I’m probably more comfortable in a two-point, to be honest.”
Foley has turned some heads since going through organized team activities in the spring. Defensive line coach Dan Quinn said Foley seemed unsure of himself in the spring, but showed improvement every day. That mentality has carried over to camp and Quinn is excited to see what Foley can accomplish.
“He’s real fit and strong,” Quinn said. “Now it’s a matter of using the pass rush technique. That’s something that he’s working hard on every day and I see the improvement in him.
“He really has some skills in that area (pass rush) and that’s what we’re working hard at.”
Foley is one of seven defensive ends on the roster and the Seahawks will probably keep only four or five. Seven-year veteran Chris Clemons has the inside track on a starting role, while Nick Reed and Lawrence Jackson appear to be in line to make the team, too. That leaves one or two available spots up for grabs. Foley doesn’t have the pedigree that the other defensive ends possess.
He played his college ball at York University in Toronto and by most accounts is still developing. But Foley, who saw some brief action with the first-team defense during a scrimmage Monday afternoon, intends to give the Seahawks reasons to keep him around.
“Come off that edge and pressure, pressure, pressure the quarterback – that’s what I’m trying to do here,” he said. “I want to show them I can play the run, too. I’m keeping an open mind, coach is giving me a lot of good feedback, getting a lot of reps out there. I’m excited about getting better every day we practice and there are a lot of practices left.”
Doug Pacey: 253-597-8271 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks