A few weeks ago, Aaron Curry had turned into a forgotten linebacker on the Seattle Seahawks roster.
He’d lost his starting job to a rookie, and the former first-round pick – No. 4 overall in the 2009 draft – looked like he might be headed toward one of those “biggest NFL busts” lists.
“Right now I’m just a second-string outside linebacker,” he told Seattle reporters in September. “I get to come to work every day and just get a chance to become better.”
Now, almost exactly a month later, Curry’s career seems reborn for the Raiders, who have a bye this week before resuming play Nov. 6 vs. the Denver Broncos.
After being acquired by the Raiders from Seattle for a paltry sum, two low draft picks in 2012 and 2013, Curry has started the past two games on the outside for Oakland.
He had three tackles in his debut vs. the Browns two Sundays ago, and four more against Kansas City in a 28-0 loss to the Chiefs.
When head coach Hue Jackson acquired him from Seattle, he essentially told Curry he was the starter at weakside linebacker, and that he had confidence in his abilities. In the Raiders’ defensive scheme, he’s been given more freedom to roam and make plays, reports the Chronicle’s Vittorio Tafur.
“I’ve seen tremendous progress in him,” Jackson told Tafur this week. “I think this guy’s been one of the brighter spots on our defense. He’s done a good job. He brings an energy, a passion. He’s making plays. He’s around the ball, and I think he loves playing football.”
Curry told reporters this week that he’s able to rely more on his football instincts with the Raiders than when he was operating in Seattle’s more structured defense.
“Now that I’m, in a role where there’s not too much thinking, it’s not hard,” he said
As Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group noted, the insertion of Curry into the lineup was an upgrade athletically over the previous starter, Quentin Groves, a converted defensive end.
On Sunday against the Chiefs, McDonald noted Curry’s speed and power was evident on one play in particular, when he flattened running back Thomas Jones on a sweep.
Curry says the confidence in him shown by Jackson has given him new life.
“It’s a completely different level of confidence than I’ve ever known,” Curry said.