The Seattle Seahawks got a surprisingly noteworthy amount of production from linebacker Mychal Kendricks earlier in the season. Not that Kendricks wasn’t known to have talent — he went one pick before Bobby Wagner in 2012 and was a productive player for six years with the Philadelphia Eagles — but surprising in the sense that Kendricks came off the street to suit up in place of an injured K.J. Wright and then immediately racked up 15 tackles, two sacks, four tackles for a loss, and three QB hits in three games.
Kendricks then went on indefinite suspension from the NFL for a known insider trading case against him that the league finally ruled on, eventually settling on an eight-game vacation for the yet-to-be-sentenced linebacker. That suspension ended this week and Kendricks will return to the field this Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings, a team that also happens to employ his brother Eric, Minnesota’s leading tackler.
The two sacks matched Kendricks’ total in 15 games in 2017 with the Eagles, and he had zero in 15 games in 2016. His four TFLs also matched his 2017 total. Basically, this is the most productive Kendricks had ever been as a pass rusher so it will be interesting to see how the Seahawks plan to utilize him over the final four games. Initially it just became obvious that they could not start rookie Shaquem Griffin after a Week 1 loss to the Denver Broncos, but in the last eight games the team has gotten by with a hobbled Wright for three games and undrafted free agent Austin Calitro in the rest.
Calitro has played well recently and Wright could return again soon, so Seattle might be even more wealthy at the position than ever, but as of now, it does seem like Kendricks is the starter for the foreseeable future. Of course, they’ll all still be sharing field time with Wagner and Barkevious Mingo, potentially the team’s best pass coverage linebacker after Wagner, who is the team’s best everything.