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McCarthy talks safety-linebacker hybrid roles on defense


FRISCO, Texas — Almost as soon as rookie linebacker DeMarvion Overshown went down in last Saturday's preseason game against Seattle, the conversation about the depth at linebacker ratcheted to a high level.

While the injury depletes an already thin room, executive vice president Stephen Jones said on Tuesday that he sees the deep depth at safety being able to alleviate the linebacker depth with hybrid talents in the room that can step up into the second level.

As a result, the opportunity for a guy like Markquese Bell becomes even more prevalent with his versatility in spinning down to play in the second level.

"DeMarvion [going down] and all of those things factor in, it's just creating opportunities," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's position flex, and I think we're very fortunate for the safeties we do have."

Fortunately for the defensive staff, having Jayron Kearse and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn play around with his versatility in the second level and at safety prepares both the staff and the defense for having multiple bodies in that role going into 2023.

"There's so much, just look at the guys that play the position," McCarthy said. "JK is so versatile. I go back to when he was in Minnesota and I was across the way [in Green Bay]. He was so impactful on special teams and with his opportunities."

"He's come in here and kind of created that role as far as versatility. You always talk about matchups, it's usually how the offense will create matchups for themselves, but we feel that JK's versatility creates matchups for us to take pieces away."

With roster cuts coming on Tuesday, McCarthy and the front office will have some tough decisions to make on the defensive side of the ball, and the linebacker depth and safety group are no strangers to what will make that conversation difficult.

"It's getting down to it," he said. "I'm not looking forward to Monday, we have some decisions that have to be made."

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