Cody Barton should get his chance to shine for the Seahawks

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 24: Cody Barton #57 of the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 24: Cody Barton #57 of the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Seahawks youth movement will take another big step forward when they take on the Rams. It looks like Cody Barton will see his first big challenge.

From all reports, it seems very likely that linebacker Mychal Kendricks will be on the sidelines for the Seahawks big matchup versus the Rams. Kendricks had not practiced all week, nursing a hamstring injury. If that’s the case, rookie Cody Barton will get his first NFL start and a good look at the Hawks future.

If you hit that link above, you’ll notice he hasn’t done too much that shows up on the stat line. Considering he’s only played 18 snaps on defense, that’s understandable. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had an impact on the team. Against the Saints, Barton recovered a fumble on a bad attempt at a punt return by Deonte Harris. That of course was on special teams, where Barton has seen plenty of action (240 snaps).

Unfortunately, Barton’s big play didn’t matter in the long run, as the Hawks couldn’t dig themselves out of the yawning pit they’d dug for themselves early in the game. He did manage to have an impact on the team before the game started, though. Barton gave Pete Carroll a chance to prove he’s the toughest coach in the NFL when he hurled a football to the sideline with enough force to destroy a brick wall. Or at least Carroll’s nose. It was definitely an interesting day for the rookie.

Now he’ll almost certainly get his chance to have an even more interesting day. Kendricks may play, but without getting in a single day of practice, I really doubt it. It doesn’t make sense for the Seahawks to take that risk. Barton will definitely see plenty of snaps regardless. I don’t think he’ll be in for nearly as many plays as Kendricks typically would, though. If Kendricks was healthy, I’d expect to see him take fewer snaps against the Rams as well. Los Angeles does a lot of throwing.

Unlike the teams at the top of the division, the Rams offense leans very heavily on the pass. They’ve run 295 times and passed 476 times so far this year. That’s an average of 25 runs and 40 passes per game. Compare that to the Hawks, who average 31 runs and 35 pass plays. Even last week, when the Rams started to actually use Todd Gurley, they called 30 runs and 46 passes. The Seahawks should be in nickel coverage a lot, whether it’s Kendricks or Barton as strongside backer.

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Cody Barton showed a lot of promise in the preseason. We all know he’s the heir apparent to the great Bobby Wagner. As our own Colby Patnode wrote after the draft, Barton is a tackling machine. He missed fewer tackles than any other linebacker in the Pac-12 last year. It looks like he’ll get his chance to show those tackling skills tonight against the Rams. I expect the Seahawks will control Gurley, and I expect Barton to be a big part of that.