Friday, January 3, 2014
Playoff experience a Seahawks asset
By Terry Blount
RENTON, Wash. -- Of Seattle's 24 starting players, including kicker Steven Hauschka and punter Jon Ryan, only one will participate in a playoff game for the first time.
Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel never played on a playoff team in his first seven seasons in the NFL -- three at Jacksonville and four at Miami -- before signing with the Seahawks this year.
Defensive linemen Michael Bennett, a virtual starter since he plays as many snaps as anyone on the defensive front, also is playing in his first playoff game after spending his first four NFL seasons at Tampa Bay.
The Seahawks have 39 players on the 53-man roster who have taken part in a playoff game, and 32 of those did it here last year. All the starters, except McDaniel, were on Seattle's 2012 playoff team.
But only 11 of them have participated in a home playoff game at CenturyLink. Those 11 were part of the 2010 team that defeated the New Orleans Saints 41-36 in the game that included the famous Beast Quake touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch.
Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin said it has to help having so many players who have gone through a playoff atmosphere.
"It makes a huge difference," Baldwin said on 710 ESPN Seattle radio. "We all can say, ‘Been there, done that.' So going into this postseason, it's nothing new."
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner started in the playoffs as a rookie last season, so he's 2-for-2 in playoff seasons, along with quarterback Russell Wilson, right guard J.R. Sweezy, cornerback Jeremy Lane, receiver Jermaine Kearse, running back Robert Turbin and linebacker Bruce Irvin.
"We know what the playoffs are like," Wagner said. "Last year, there were lot of questions about a lot of us. Now we've not only been through it, but we went through it together."
Wagner said you just can't quite understand the difference until you're been out there in a playoff game.
"During the season, it's like win or lose, you've got that next game," Wagner said. "But if you have a bad game and lose now, you have to wait until the next year to get that bad taste out of your mouth. Believe me, that definitely amps it up a little bit."