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Saturday, January 25, 2014
Harvin a riddle for Broncos to solve

By Jeff Legwold

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- When the Denver Broncos’ defense lines up in Super Bowl XLVIII, it expects to see Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin somewhere in the formation across from them.

Harvin
But to plan for that eventuality, the Broncos will have to do some digging. They're going to have to sift through the Seahawks' body of work to find those plays when Harvin was in the lineup in what was an injury-marred year.

“I don’t know how they’re going to use him, we don’t have a lot of tape on him," Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. “But they’re going to use him. You don’t have a weapon like that and not use him."

Harvin was the crown jewel of the Seahawks’ busy offseason last March. He signed a six-year, $67 million contract with the them, but then had hip surgery on Aug. 1 to repair a torn labrum. He missed the first 10 games of the season before he played 19 plays Nov. 17 against the Minnesota Vikings, his former team.

Harvin had one catch, for 17 yards, and a 58-yard kickoff return in the game, but aggravated his surgically repaired hip and did not practice again until the week before the Seahawks played the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round.

He then played just 19 plays against the Saints -- he three receptions in the game for 21 yards -- before he suffered a concussion and was held out of the NFC Championship Game last weekend. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this week Harvin was ready for whatever the team wanted him to do in the Super Bowl.

For the Broncos, it means the Seahawks could break out a few more three-wide receiver looks to challenge some of the Broncos’ specialty packages on defense. It may also mean when Harvin moves around the formation, the Broncos may send Bailey with him.

“That’s a dangerous man right there," Bailey said. “He can change the game if you allow him to. I remember playing him in Minnesota and he was one of the most explosive guys I've seen coming off the ball."

With Harvin having missed one of the Seahawks' playoff games and having played less than two quarters in the other, Seattle has lined up with at least three wide receivers in the formation on just 12 first-down snaps, 16 second-down snaps, but have used it more on third down – 24 snaps. If Harvin is indeed full speed, the percentages figure to go up.

“The thing about the playoffs is that it’s a one-weekend thing," defensive end Robert Ayers said. “ … You look at the film, you think about what they've done, but you know you have to be ready to see something you haven’t seen much before. [Harvin] is like that. We know he’ll be in there and it might be for something we have to adjust to."