Coming as little to no surprise, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told reporters Wednesday that former UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin will start in Sunday's away game opener against the Denver Broncos.
Griffin, who's assumed a backup role since Seattle drafted him in the fifth round of the NFL draft in April
, will fill in for linebacker K.J. Wright, who's recovering from a knee injury and is expected to be out for at least another week.
Griffin will start alongside his twin brother, cornerback Shaquill Griffin, another former UCF standout, in Sunday's game.
"He's been surrounded by some really good players, [linebacker] Bobby [Wagner] and K.J. and [linebacker Keke] Mingo, guys who have been in the league for a while," Seattle defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. told ESPN
. "So he's kind of taken a backseat and really learned at a rookie's pace, and now that he's been able to play a little bit in the preseason, he sees the game speeds up a bit."
Norton continues: "But he's amazing. It's been fun to coach him. It's been fun to watch his growth. The questions that he's asked over the days and weeks have been improving and getting better. It's just amazing to watch his development. As coaches, watching younger players develop, that's what it's all about. So watching him grown and develop and run and hit and do the things that we expected him to do when we draft him, it's really good to see."
Throughout the four-game NFL preseason, Griffin led the Seahawks with 24 tackles, including nine against the Indianapolis Colts. However, Carroll commented on how Griffin looked lost on the turf the following week.
"You could see the newness just kind of affect him, and I don't know what it was that got to him," Carroll said, according to ESPN. "He's been diligent in the preparation and the process all the way throughout. But not until he came back week three, everybody was working with him, trying to get his feet on the ground [and] make sure he was just relaxing through the process. ... He was over-tight, he was trying too hard, he wanted it too much. It was obvious that it made sense, and he really just turned the corner. That happened week three, and week four he played really good both of those weeks. So he really had one down week. But I do think with all that has followed him, we have to stay with him, and we've got monitor him. It's almost too much for anybody in some regards."
Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.