RENTON – Aaron Curry came up with a nice interception and some good plays in the Seattle Seahawks’ practice Wednesday afternoon.
For the scout team.
The scout team, which runs the coming foes’ plays to prepare the Seahawks’ starters, is generally manned by young players and backups. Not guys like Curry, the fourth player taken in the 2009 draft.
So it’s an ignominious position for Curry, who was demoted from his starting outside linebacker spot last week.
That he has never reached the level of achievement his draft status presaged is entirely aside from the point at the moment. What is most relevant and particularly humbling is that he was legitimately beaten out for the job by a promising fourth-round rookie, K.J. Wright.
Coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that Curry was understandably frustrated, and he would expect nothing less of a proud player. The position will remain a competition for playing time, Carroll said, but added that nothing has changed for now.
Curry later said that he’s past the period of frustration and is now completely at peace with it all because of his faith.
An alienation of affection is natural – even though he’s collected more than $20 million from the Seahawks already. In the offseason, he’d been convinced to restructure his contract to benefit the team, and now, after two games, he was sent to the sidelines.
After Sunday’s win over Arizona, Curry – an avid Tweeter – was congratulated for the Seahawks’ victory. He replied that, yes, “they” won. His avoidance of “we” as the appropriate pronoun was translated as an example of his feeling of being on the outside.
Curry said Wednesday that he was caught off guard by the demotion. He might have been the only one. He was not getting the job done, regardless where he was taken in the draft or what he was being paid.
Several plays in the loss to Pittsburgh showed why it was time for a change.
This was one of those potentially lopsided contests in which your best players needed to make big plays for there to be any chance of an upset. Curry had his hands on what might have been a game-changing interception.
He dropped it.
But it wasn’t just that. On one Steelers touchdown run, he was slow to get off the ball and appeared to fill the wrong gap. Another time, when he was brought on a blitz up the middle, he made it through the gap only to be somewhat easily handled by the blocking back.
In that case, any top-quality NFL linebacker would be expected to detonate on the smaller blocker and knock the quarterback down. But Ben Roethlisberger got the pass off for a long completion without disruption at all from Curry.
It would be easy to go back and blame former general manager Tim Ruskell for taking Curry with that pick, but every evaluator was projecting him as a sure thing, and some labeled him the safest pick in the draft. He was the winner of the Butkus Award as the nation’s top college linebacker.
His size, speed and strength were undeniable, but the Seahawks have never found a way to exploit his talents, trying him as an outside pass rusher, inside pass rusher, strong-side linebacker and weak-side linebacker.
It is a mitigator in his assessment that he’s had to learn so many different roles, but an indictment that he hasn’t been very effective in any of them.
As I’ve evaluated his progress, I wanted to be sure not to hold Curry responsible for the expectations others put on him, asking only: Is he doing his job as a linebacker, not as the fourth player taken in the draft?
Frankly, Wright already seems to play with better instincts and savvy.
To his credit, Curry was a good scout, standing in and answered some tough questions outside the team’s locker room. How long he’ll be around was a part of the speculation.
Rumors suggest that he’s ripe for a trade, but his salary will be tough for suitors to reconcile. He had no insight on the matter.
“It’s in the hands of the people upstairs,” he said.
In this instance, the higher power he referenced was team management. As for his preference, he said he wants to be “where I have the best shot to get better.”
He then went out and had a nice practice for the scout team.
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 email@example.com