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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



May 10, 2010 at 1:30 PM

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Curry expects to improve on uneven rookie season

Posted by Danny O'Neil

It took Aaron Curry one play in the NFL to get in a shoving match with Rams running back Steven Jackson.

On Curry's second play, he planted a Rams lineman on his tookus, knocking down Jacob Bell.

Fast and furious. That described Curry's entrance in Seattle last season.

"I started out like a house on fire," he said. "Lights out."

Week 3 against Chicago, Curry forced a late fumble when he blew past the Bears tackle and stripped the ball from quarterback Jay Cutler. That allowed Seattle to take a lead with less than 6 minutes to go in the game, and while the Seahawks eventually lost, that play showed Seattle had a player with the physical ability to wreak havoc and change games.

In Week 5 against Jacksonville, he was a singularly destructive force with 10 tackles and a sack.

He didn't have a sack the rest of a season, and last month during Seattle's three-day minicamp, he was blunt when asked to evaluate his rookie season.

"About average," he said. "I didn't do much to stand out."

That's not what people expected after he was chosen with the fourth pick of the 2009 draft. He was the franchise's highest draft pick in 12 years and considered as NFL ready as any prospect available in the draft.

So what happened?

Well, the first thing was the injury to linebacker Lofa Tatupu in the sixth game of the season. He was the quarterback of the defense, and when Seattle lost Tatupu, Curry lost his GPS-positioning device.

But it was more than just that. There was a lack of discipline, too.

"I started chasing big plays," Curry said. "I stopped doing my job. Instead, of waiting for the play to come to me for me to make it, I was trying to do other people's job and chasing big plays, getting out of my gap, missing my assignments, chasing a big play because I had been making big plays.

"It was kind of like my college coach used to tell me, 'Humble pie is only a week away.' "

Could redemption be just as close?

We'll have to see, but at coach Pete Carroll's introductory press conference, he mentioned he had already asked defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to assemble tape on Curry. One of the key questions for this defense will be how Seattle uses him.

There has been a lot of speculation that Curry might play the hybrid linebacker/end role that has been referred to as "the elephant," but is actually called "The Leo" in Seattle's defensive scheme.

That's not Curry's role now, though. He is playing strongside -- or SAM -- linebacker, but expect him to have a heavy dose of pass-rushing responsibilities.

"If I'm going to do anything, I'm going to learn how to rush the passer a little bit better," Curry said.

Carroll told Curry that he is too big, too explosive and too athletic not to be making more plays off the edge, and given the fact Seattle did very little to bolster the pass rush in the offseason.

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