The game of football is a pendulum; in reality for some and perception for many. Success is attained and then snatched away swiftly, as franchises left and wright run in circles attempting a jump onto the desired slope of the oscillatory curve.
In a phenomenal piece written yesterday for the Ringer dot com, staff writer Shaker Samman details the happenstance witnessed immediately following every annual victory of consequence by the University of Texas: “These days, every Longhorns win of dubious significance comes with a pronouncement declaring them ‘back.'” Fans, haters, and viewers of every sort smash that RT button whenever the fabled TEXAS IS BACK tweet graces their timeline.
I am not here to tell you that Texas is back, folks. No, I am here to bestow information of much higher importance upon you. After one game — a single, pint-sized contest — I’m ready to say it.
K.J. WRIGHT IS BACK.
Now you might be wondering about a connection between the University of Texas and a Seattle Seahawks linebacker who attended Mississippi State University. Simply put, there is none. I just wanted to say K.J. WRIGHT IS BACK. Now that I have, we may proceed.
Okay, one more for good measure.
K.J. WRIGHT IS BACK.
After a six-game absence stemming from a knee scope, K.J. made the correct move and debuted against the Detroit Lions. The concern, naturally, was majorly focused on whether or not Seattle’s most tenured defender (holy shit) would make a significant impact on the field right away upon return.
I am thrilled to tell you that K.J. looked like Wilbur and Orville on Sunday, flying all over the field like the opposite of whatever shitty plane those buffoons crafted a century ago that was probably slow and rickety as fuck. Yes, friends. K.J. Wright is indubitably BACK.
Spending so much time on the sideline had to have made Wright a bit antsy, as he made his presence felt on Seattle’s first defensive snap of the game.
Detroit runs to the weak side out of 21 personnel. The right guard combo blocks Jarran Reed with the right tackle but fails to disengage quickly, missing his chance to get to the second level and open up a hole for Kerryon Johnson. Wright fires out of his stance as the ball is snapped and decisively attacks the A gap. Reed does a nice job occupying both blockers long enough for Wright to fly past the guard, who is left grasping at air. Johnson bounces the run outside and into the waiting arms of Tedric Thompson and Bobby Wagner.
K.J. made an almost identical play later in the contest:
Wright speedily diagnoses and, again, hits the back-side A gap quicker than the right guard can react. While the run is likely doomed from the start due to the looming inevitability of Bobbert Wagner, Wright’s rapid recognition and instantaneous return to form in the run game have to be promising for Seattle’s defensive confidence moving forward.
A lot of discussion surrounding running backs centers on their patience and abilities to set up blocks. Try to contain yourself after watching this:
Wright creeps up to the line of scrimmage after the snap and, instead of trying to split blockers and nab a tackle for loss, fucking crabwalks sideways until he’s in the hole the back is trying to hit. It’s the most Le’Veon Bell Mr. Krabs sit I’ve ever seen from a non-running back.
While Austin Calitro filled in admirably after the suspension of Mychal Kendricks – see you in December, Mychal ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)– the presence of Wright is monumental for both overall defensive discipline and experience within the scheme.
Our bb boy kj also had a few plays in the passing game that are without question worth breaking down, the first of which absolutely being driven by the hunger for retribution after #TapGate:
The Lions run four downfield routes while the tailback angles underneath. Wright, being an archangel sent down to earth for the sole purpose of authoritatively annihilating said tailback, breaks quickly on the route and forcefully defends the pass.
Wright’s savvy and ability to identify play calls based on formation were both on display here as well:
K.J., obviously beginning his lecture, points to his left, instructing Matt Stafford where to begin his progression through reads. Stafford astutely follows Wright’s direction, looking at the outside in route. Unfortunately for our poor friend Matthew, his underestimate of Wright’s generosity proves fatal. The assumption that K.J. is just being a generous guy and gifting Detroit the first down is incorrect and a stunting Shamar Stephen gets home right after Stafford’s first read for a sack. The ability to dupe unsuspecting quarterbacks into throwing footballs to the exact place that he will be when the ball gets there is truly an underrated facet of Wright’s game.
No film breakdown of Kenneth Bernard Wright, Jr. would be complete without silencing your cellular device, filling up a bag of popcorn, relaxing, and watching our friendly neighborhood spiderman blow a screen up into oblivion.
The moment that the ball is snapped, K.J. zooms past two blockers, attempting to brutally bearhug our lord and savior Golden Tate. While Tate does the thing he always does where the guy trying to tackle him doesn’t actually tackle him, Wright’s disruption allows other defenders to flock toward the ballcarrier, pushing Tate out of bounds four yards behind the line of scrimmage. While K.J. is obviously just attempting to embrace an old pal, his running mate Wagner gets there first and gives Tate’s facemask a gentle yet firm caress.
Our Iron Giant, clearly distraught that he has frightened away his longtime friend, continues attempting to envelop his former teammates in an endeavor of wholesome merrymaking.
Wright sets his sights on his good buddy Luke Willson, who runs a shallow crosser immediately after chipping Seattle’s left end. As Stafford dumps the ball off to his right end tight end, K.J. can’t believe his eyes. Is he going to get a chance to hold his dear fellow Luke, lobster claws and all, in his arms once again?
Wright makes a beeline for the Canadian paragon, footsteps are heard, and the ball is dropped due to the sheer terror. As the projectile careens off of Willson’s arthropodic fingertips, K.J. knows what must be done.
Willson runs a quick hitch and Stafford rifles the pigskin towards him right at the top of his drop. Wright begins breaking on the route as soon as the idea of releasing the football begins to formulate in the quarterback’s brain. As the tight end receives the ball, the linebacker arrives, arms wide and heart open.
In the brutal and unforgiving sport of football, these moments — the moments where linebackers coming off of significant knee injuries showcase their still-existent athleticism and familiar scheme fit in the hopes of embracing several former teammates — are the ones that we must cherish.