Bruce Irvin Moving To Defensive End, Played Hurt Last Year

It was a tale of two seasons for Bruce Irvin in 2017. Over the first 8 games, the veteran linebacker picked up only two sacks and seemed to be moving toward playing himself out of a roster spot.

But after six sacks in the next 8 games, Irvin’s $8.25 million salary in 2018 suddenly seemed a little more palatable.

As it turns out, Jon Gruden believes Irvin played through a “back problem” early in 2017.

If Irvin was playing hurt, it might explain his lack of production, but it’s worth noting that whatever may have been hampering him apparently wasn’t enough to land Irvin on the injury report early in the season.

As for Gruden’s plans for Irvin, it seems settled that the Raiders’ no. 2 pass rusher will be back with the team next year and a position change is in the works.

After dropping into coverage for about 17% of pass plays in 2017 under defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., a move to defensive end would suggest Irvin’s responsibilities in coverage will soon come to an end – an idea that was well-received by Irvin…

An interesting note on Irvin was the fact that Irvin did not play particularly well last season for defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

Norton Jr.’s replacement, John Pagano, used Irvin predominantly as a pass rusher and it paid off right away. It is possible that a back injury slowed Irvin at the beginning of the year, but the defense as a whole seemed to be held back by an inferior coaching staff – something that hopefully won’t the case next season under new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.

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