With the news that
The versatile Smith began the season as the starter on the strong side because
“I just try to soak up as much as I can about our defense to be able to be used at different spots, have a good skill set and just be ready to play,” Smith said Monday after meeting with position coach Ken Norton and the other linebackers.
The league’s No. 1-ranked defense will miss Wright. He has 80 tackles to rank third on the unit behind Wagner (89) and All-Pro free safety
But Smith’s experience, versatility and productivity lessen the significance of the loss. Smith also played for Carroll at USC.
“Malcolm understands the position really well,” coach Pete Carroll said during his weekly day-after Q&A session with the media. “He’s a fantastic athlete. Really good coverage guys, speed guy, run the field. He’s played quite a bit for us this year. We feel comfortable with him playing and he should do a good job for us.”
Against the 49ers, Smith had four tackles, including one for a 7-yard loss on quarterback Colin Kaepernick on a third-and-2 play. He had eight tackles, including a sack, in the Week 7 win over the Cardinals in Arizona. And he’s eighth on the team with 32 tackles, despite his spot duty as a starter.
The key to being able to step in and play like a starter is to prepare like you are the starter.
“You’d rather be prepared than scared,” Smith said. “So, again, this week is a great opportunity for me to show what I can do.”