While the Patriots hog all the headlines, the Seattle Seahawks are busy getting ready for Super Bowl XLIX. We’ll get you up to speed with the news you need to make some sharp football picks.
Jason’s 2014-15 postseason record: 3-3 ATS, 3-2-1 Totals
Deflategate this, Deflategate that, blah blah blah. Between the scandal brewing around the New England Patriots, and all those people asking the Internet what time the Super Bowl is on (see what we did there?), you’d think the Seattle Seahawks didn’t even exist. By the way, the Super Bowl time is 6:30 p.m. Eastern, this Sunday on NBC. Now you don’t have to ask, “When is the Super Bowl?”
Moving right along… yes, the Seattle Seahawks still exist, and they’re already in Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX. Has anything happened in Seattle’s camp that we can use for our NFL picks? A quick trip down the information superhighway reveals all.
One Day Like This
The biggest question mark with the defending champions is the health of the “Legion of Boom” secondary. CB Richard Sherman’s sprained elbow and safety Earl Thomas’ dislocated shoulder have been in the spotlight all week, although there really isn’t much information here from a medical standpoint. Sherman, who has been practicing in full, said Sunday that his elbow was “feeling better,” while Thomas was able to put in a limited practice on Friday after sitting out a couple of days.
The other player of concern for Seattle is RT Justin Britt, who missed the NFC title game against the Green Bay Packers with a knee injury. The second-round rookie out of Missouri played every single snap for the Seahawks during the regular season. Not that Britt was very good at it: Pro Football Focus had him ranked as one of the worst right tackles in the league in pass protection. Britt was back in full practice on Thursday, so plan on seeing him at the Big Game.
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It’s always a challenge to keep focused on the present day, but it might be even more of a challenge for Seahawks defensive co-ordiantor Dan Quinn. He’s expected to be named the new head coach of the Atlanta Falcons as soon as Super Bowl XLIX is over and done with. Now we have news that defensive backs coach Kris Richard is in line to land a DC job, either as Quinn’s replacement, or with another team – perhaps under Quinn in Atlanta.
The early buzz suggests that Richard will remain with the Seahawks. The former linebacker was Seattle’s third-round pick in 2002 out of the University of Southern California – that was Pete Carroll’s USC Trojans, of course. After Richard’s NFL career was done, Carroll (who was a safety as a college player) hired him as a graduate assistant coach in 2008, and the two ended up together in Seattle. The Legion of Boom is their pride and joy.
Speaking of Seattle’s secondary, CB Jeremy Lane had some bulletin-board material for the Patriots this week. Lane was asked on Thursday what makes New England TE Rob Gronkowski so good. His answer: “I actually don’t think he’s that good. He’s OK. He does have a big body. But from what I’ve seen on tape, he doesn’t like you putting your hands on him.”
Not that anyone does, at least on the football field. But Gronkowski (82 catches for 1,124 yards and 12 TDs) is obviously the best tight end in the league right now, and could be one of the best ever if he can stay healthy. And as good as the Seahawks are at covering wideouts, they ranked No. 18 in defensive efficiency this year versus tight ends, according to the advanced metrics at Football Outsiders. As a cornerback in nickel packages, Lane should have plenty of opportunity to deal with Gronkowski on Super Bowl Sunday.