When Bruce Irvin was brough to the Detroit Lions' practice squad in mid-November, it was too short a notice for him to play the following Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Then came a short week with no real practices before Thanksgiving Day against the Green Bay Packers.
Irvin had not played, or even put on pads, since a playoff game with the Seahawks in January. So his debut became easily lined up to be Week 13 against the New Orleans Saints, and that's what happened.
Over 11 defensive snaps on Sunday, Irvin had one sack, one tackle for loss and a quarterback hit. A fine Lions' debut.
Back in the day, 2014, I took a football scouting class where writing scouting reports on draft prospects was part of the curriculum. I wrote a scouting report on then incoming Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, and would later describe to people what I saw him do when pass rushers seriously threatened a clean pocket. I used the term "Christian Ponder fetal position", as a negative nod to the first-round bust quarterback's lack of pocket presence and what Carr similarly did.
Familiarity with Derek Carr served Bruce Irvin well in Lions' debut
The Saints' starting quarterback on Sunday was of course Derek Carr, who spent his first nine seasons with the Raiders. Irvin spent two-and-a-half seasons in Oakland with Carr (2016-2018). So such as his first game with the Lions could've been ideal timing against a quarterback he was familiar with, Sunday fit the bill.
After Sunday's game, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio spoke to Irvin about his Lions' debut and reported about the conversation on NBC's "Football Night In America" Sunday night.
"He said he knows from playing with Derek Carr when the Raiders were in Oakland for three years, if you get around him, he gets rattled,” Florio said.
Irvin also picked up an ill-timed penalty for an illegal hit on Carr, which knocked the Saints' signal caller out of the game with a concussion as well as back and shoulder issues. That hit was also part of the conversation with Florio.
"We saw the big hit on Carr", Florio said. That was also from Irvin, He is expecting a fine. He knows he can’t put his bodyweight on the quarterback. And for Carr, he’s got a concussion, back injury, shoulder injury.”
Carr seemed to function a little better when pressured on Sunday, but he did have an interception and a fumble that each proved decisive in the game.
The concept Carr is rattled by pressure dates all the way back to pre-draft scouting reports on him. Now there's fresh, close-up validation from Irvin as he recalled playing with Carr even before making his Lions' debut.