Jordyn Brooks' rookie season didn't quite get off to the start he would have liked.
The Seahawks' first round pick in the 2020 draft, Brooks began his rookie year seeing very limited snaps on defense playing behind a veteran trio of linebackers in Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Bruce Irvin.
Irvin unfortunately was lost for the season because of a Week 2 knee injury, however, seemingly opening the door for Brooks to step into a starting role. But just when he got his chance, Brooks sprained his knee early in Seattle's Week 3 game against Dallas, causing him to miss two games. The injury gave Brooks a scare until the MRI revealed the lack of serious damage, he said, but for a rookie looking to help his team, even two games missed is tough to stomach.
"It was definitely frustrating," Brooks said. "Somebody that's competitive as me, just wanting to get in there, wanting to get in there and prove yourself. But I'm all about timing, God's timing. So I was patient with it, God saw me through it and, the time is now, so let's get the ball rolling."
Brooks got rolling in Sunday's game at Arizona, starting at weakside linebacker and playing 38 snaps on defense—he comes off the field when Seattle is in nickel, with K.J. Wright moving from strongside linebacker to weakside in those packages—his most playing time of the year.
"I was just telling somebody in the locker room, that was my first game playing a full game since college, so it was fun just getting back out there on the field and make some plays," Brooks said.
And it wasn't just that Brooks was on the field a lot, it was that his speed and playmaking showed up, most notably on a third-down play in the red zone when he chased down Kyler Murray from behind for a tackle for loss one play before the Seahawks got a turnover on downs when the Cardinals elected to go for it on fourth-and-short. Books finished the game with seven tackles, one for a loss, and while those numbers aren't eye-popping, he definitely got the attention of his coaches and teammates.
"This is what we've seen from him," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He's a really good ballplayer. I keep telling you I'm excited for you guys to see how fast he is and how aggressive he is. He really plays downhill."
Wagner, who for nearly a decade has been one of the NFL's best linebackers, earning first-team All-Pro honors five times, knows good linebacker play as well as anybody, and he really likes what he has seen so far from the rookie.
"I thought he did really well," Wagner said. "I thought he was flying around, definitely had some good hits, especially the one towards the goal line. And I think the more he gets out there, the more confident he'll get and the faster he'll play, so I'm excited. That was a really hard game for him to come back to with all the shifts and the motions, and I felt like he handled it really well, so I'm excited to see him play again. It's going to be a lot of trickery a little bit this week too, so he'll be ready."
Brooks said learning from Wagner and Wright has been a big boost for his development, noting "it's like playing with two coaches on the field," and the Seahawks defense, which is looking to improve after subpar start to the season, is counting on Brooks to be a big part of the turnaround.
"He's just getting started, so he's got a lot of really good things to happen here in this season," Carroll said. "We expect him to play well and be effective now, but when he really gets his feet on the ground and really comfortable with scheme and the rhythm of the games and all of that, he's going to be a really big factor for us."
Brooks said he feels a "huge responsibility" to help the defense improve, though he knows part of that is making sure he doesn't try to do too much.
"I'm going to do everything I can to do my 1/11th on this defense to help us get to where I know we can be," he said. "It's just one step at a time, it's still early in the season. That's what keeps my hopes high about this defense getting to where we know we can be."
Practice photos from the Seahawks' Wednesday workout at Virginia Mason Athletic Center in preparation for Week 8 vs. the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field.