Happy gameday birthday to LB Bruce Irvin who gets to celebrate his 28th surrounded by teammates and coaches, playing the game he loves!
For Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin, playing a game on his 28th birthday means there is only one appropriate way to celebrate: sacking Cowboys quarterback Matt Cassel.
Irvin moved from defensive end to strongside linebacker in 2013, and by his own admission he had a little trouble adjusting to that new role. It wasn't so much that Irvin had a problem with what was being asked of him at linebacker as it was that, as a pass rusher at heart, Irvin didn't get as many chances to hit quarterbacks. Over the past two and a half seasons, however, Irvin has developed into a versatile and important part of Seattle's defense, playing linebacker in base packages and defensive end in nickel packages.
A situational pass-rusher as a rookie who played fewer than half of Seattle's defensive snaps, Irvin now rarely, if ever, leaves the field.
"I'm both, man," Irvin said when asked if he identifies as a linebacker or defensive end. "The linebacker part has really slowed down for me, I recognize stuff a lot quicker—pass concepts, formations and stuff. That part of the game has really slowed down for me. Then on third down I turn into a D-end, and that's when my pass-rush instincts kick in. I think I'm a versatile player."
That versatility helped Irvin register 6.5 sacks last season while also intercepting two passes, both of which he returned for touchdowns, and this year Irvin has 3.5 sacks through seven games and is on pace to set a career high in tackles.
"He's getting better and better every day, that's the beauty of it," Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard said. "He's just growing in leaps and bounds and just his knowledge and understanding of playing football in general. He's been playing Sam linebacker now for three years. Just considering where he's come from in college as just kind of being a rush-only guy. Then coming in here now he's playing all three downs. So that's pretty spectacular for a guy who's really ultimately had two years of college football, and then now coming in here since 2012 he's just been getting better, and better, and better. It hasn't been since 2013 since he's been playing Sam linebacker for us. So that's a guy who's getting better every day."
So happy birthday to a player who continues to get better every day. Go celebrate it with a sack or two.