Irvin's ever-expanding impact

Posted May 31, 2012

Bruce Irvin’s game is all about speed. But it's not the only element of his game, as the Seahawks' first-round draft choice displayed with one stunning countermove in practice on Wednesday.

From the moment the Seahawks selected Bruce Irvin in the first round of the NFL Draft last month, the most impressive – and most talked about – element of his game has been speed.

It’s understandable. From the rookie minicamp earlier this month, to the on-going OTA practices, the pass-rushing end from West Virginia has been a blur coming off the edge. But that changed Wednesday, with one I-don’t-believe-what-I-just-saw blow that dropped Breno Giacomini in his tracks.

That’s 6-foot-7, 318-pound Breno Giacomini, who anchors the right side of the offensive line like a weight-bearing column. It was a “Down goes Frazier” moment that was as stunning as it remains improbable.

As effective as Irvin’s move was, the practice-field countermove that preceded it showed that Irvin’s still-evolving game is more than just speed.

“That’s the first time that’s ever happened,” Giacomini said Thursday, after the team had completed a two-hour OTA session in the indoor practice facility at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

“It was all about timing on that one. But hey, that was a good move. He caught me.”

As for his part, the 248-pound Irvin offered, “He was overplaying me – like they always jump out on me because they know I’m a speed rusher. So they try to cut my path off as quickly as they can. I kind of felt like he was overplaying me, so I just (countered) him and went back under.”

The best part of the exchange? Each player used it as a learning experience.

Said Giacomini: “It’s something that I have to work on. It’s when my feet get together, and he caught it at the right time. And with a player who has as much outside speed as he does you have to respect that. So if he can keep working on those counters inside, hopefully he’ll get rookie of the year.”

Said Irvin: “It’s just expanding my game, trying to get more moves instead of just using the speed rush. And also to work on my hands more and become more a technician, instead of being so raw.”

That one play was just the most memorable in what might have been Irvin’s best day in his still-short stay as an NFL pass rusher. As defensive line coach Todd Wash put it, “Bruce really flashed yesterday.”

Irvin’s counter-comment to that assessment? “I felt like I had a better day. I don’t know if I’d say flashed, because I’ve still got a lot to work on. But I felt like I was much improved yesterday.”

Which was a big step toward improving a new-look nickel defense that will feature Irvin and fellow rush-end Chris Clemons on the edges, free-agent addition Jason Jones at the three-technique tackle spot and the length of strongside linebacker K.J. Wright in the middle of the field – and also could include Marcus Trufant as the nickel back and the speed of rookie Bobby Wagner as the other linebacker.

Irvin’s development has moved into warp speed because is getting all the reps with the No. 1 defense in these voluntary workouts.

“It’s valuable,” Irvin said of reaping all those practice reps. “Basically I just got thrown in the fire so I’m kind of learning on the run. It’s only going to help me in the end.”

Giacomini and Irvin will renew their worth-watching matchups on Friday, when the Seahawks wrap up the second week of their OTA practices.

“Every day the kid is getting better and he’s definitely going to make me better,” Giacomini said. “So I’m definitely glad he’s here.”