New Seahawks linebacker Uchena Navosu poised for ‘legitimate fan base’ in Seattle

By one measure, signing with the Seattle Seahawks is a significant step out of Uchena Navosu’s comfort zone.

A native of Carson, California, he played at USC before being drafted in the second round in 2018 by the Chargers, who played nearly seven miles of his home games in his first two NFL seasons, before moving to Sophie. Narbonne went to high school. Stadium in Inglewood.

“I’m just an L.A. kid,” Navosu said while speaking to media, which covers the Seahawks via Zoom on Thursday. “I’ve been here for the rest of my life. So I feel like I never really got to see the world, see other cities. I mean, you go out there for a walk but you were there for a day. So a place like that To be able to go to that isn’t too far. … Seattle, they have nice trees, nice views. I feel like it’s really a breath of fresh air.”

Not that there weren’t some other really practical consideration, too, when Navosu decided to take on the Seahawks an offer of a two-year contract worth up to $19.05 million, with $10.535 million guaranteed, a whopping increase from $5.75 million. which he did in a total of four years of his rookie deal.

“To be honest, Seattle was really my best offer,” he said. “I had some interests from other teams but I think Seattle was the best offer I had on the table at the time so I just went with it. A lot of families came into play, you know — it’s still close to home. You definitely know about taxes – California was eating me up in taxes.”

And in another candid admission, Navosu noted that coming to Seattle also means “I feel like a legitimate fan base.” If this seemed like a reference to the struggles the Chargers have been filling seats in LA since moving from San Diego, however, Navosu later asked for clarification on Twitter: “The Seahawks have Have a legit fan base. Never said the Chargers weren’t.”

Even though, Seattle represents the first major change in Navosu’s life at age 25, it still comes with a lot of the comforts of home.

Nwosu likes the USC vibe of coach Pete Carroll and many others on the Seattle staff, such as head strength and conditioning coach Evan Lewis, who held the same position with the Trojans during his career. Nwosu was initially coached at USC by former UW head coach Steve Sarkeesian and ended his career under Clay Helton. Nwosu was one of four captains of the 2017 team that won the Pac-12 title and went on to win 11-3, losing to Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl.

“I think they will show me a lot of love and respect here,” Navosu said.

And perhaps most important, the role Seattle will ask him to play is essentially the same as he did with the Chargers a year ago when he had his best season with a career-high five sacks and 17 quarterback races — linebacker. / Runner in a 3-4 outside edge.

Nwosu was Brandon Staley’s first season as Chargers head coach in 2021. Staley made his debut in the NFL as an assistant under Vic Fangio, learning the ins and outs of Fangio’s 3-4 system that the Seahawks now plan to include more under first-year coordinator Clint Hurt. , who had worked for some years. As a defensive assistant with the Bears under Fangio.

In the first three years of the Nwosu, the Chargers primarily played a 4–3 lead under former Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

“Just being able to go into another year in the same plan—same action. Same tasks, same responsibilities—allows me to be myself, allows me to unlock my true potential, what I could, Navosu said. “It was on display last season, and I think it will be more on display this year.”

The Seahawks are definitely counting on this. Navosu’s cap of $6.295 million this year is seventh on the team.

The Seahawks expect Navosu to pair with third-year player Darrell Taylor so that a year ago was inconsistent at best.

The change in look over 3-4 also meant that the Seahawks wanted to redo their line a bit, with an emphasis on versatile, athletic players on the edge.

And yes, that means Navosu, listed at 6-2,251, will have to come into coverage every once in a while—he did so last season on 56 snaps out of 781, a career-high. And in what may be his most impressive game of last season, he leapt in a December game to stop a Patrick Mahomes pass on a play he wasn’t dropping, but simply sniffed a screen pass and Quickly changed direction, a game the Chargers lost in overtime.

“You can see that we put together a different group than what happened,” coach Pete Carroll said of the line at NFL league meetings last week. “Getting Uchena was really a big deal for us. It was important for us to see Darrell (Taylor) grow. We thought we might shift there.

“I hope you can see that the combination of what we’ve done with (free agent Signi) Quinton (Jefferson) and Shelby (Harris, acquired in the Russell Wilson trade). There’s a whole group out there that we really talk about. Excited which gives us a different flavor and a complement to the big guys that we love to play in the early rounds. So it’s really those four guys, plus the ability to move that thing around, There’s also Elton Robinson, and we’ll see how it all fits.”

However, Navosu insisted on Thursday that he thinks he already knows the answer.

“Having another year in this system that really suits me, I think I’ll be able to capitalize,” he said. “… I hope to play like last year and take it to another level.”

Leave a Comment