Seattle Seahawks: Kam Chancellor

Seattle Seahawks Preseason Live

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
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Welcome to Seattle Seahawks training camp! ESPN.com Seahawks reporter Terry Blount has live updates and the latest news from Renton, Washington.
RENTON, Wash. -- Here are a few observations on the defense from the first day of organized team activities (OTAs) this week for the Seattle Seahawks, along with some comments from coach Pete Carroll.

The media’s only access was Tuesday, but a few things stood out:

Whoa Mayowa: I think those 15 pounds guard James Carpenter lost were transferred over to defensive end Benson Mayowa, and that’s a good thing. Bigger and stronger (possibly 265 now) is just what was needed for Mayowa to step up and make an impact as a Seahawks pass-rusher.

He was really active in the Tuesday practice and looks up to the challenge he will face from rookies Cassius Marsh and Jackson Jeffcoat, along with Greg Scruggs, who is healthy again after missing last season with a torn ACL.

Scruggs gets praise from Carroll: Speaking of Scruggs, he had an interception on Tuesday and played with a lot of intensity.

“He’s really determined,” Carroll said. “He’s worked so hard through this offseason. He’s ready to go physically. It’s been a long haul for him. I feel really good about him being back out with us.

“It seems like he’s been a part from this for so long. I think he’s ready to max it out and he’s going to get a great chance to be a big part of it. Our expectation is he will be a factor right there in the rotation.”

Toomer the boomer: Linebacker Korey Toomer stood out in the rookie minicamp and kept it up on Tuesday in the first OTA. He had a stop in the backfield and another at the line of scrimmage on a run up the middle. Toomer was playing inside and outside, and looked good in both spots. After spending his first two years on injured reserve, it’s obvious why the Seahawks kept him around.

A battle at defensive tackle: Brandon Mebane has one defensive tackle spot locked down, but Carroll mentioned three players who are in the mix for the DT spot -- returning starter Tony McDaniel and 2013 rookies Jesse Williams (who missed last year with a knee injury) and Jordan Hill.

“I’m excited to get Tony re-signed and get him back here,” Carroll said. “He had a very good year for us in doing the stuff that we wanted him to do. I think he comes in here trying to own that 3-technique spot. That’s what he came here to do. I was really proud that he was able to accomplish that, but guys are nipping at his heels here.

“Jesse Williams will be back out in the next couple of days and working with Jordan Hill. Those guys are battling for that spot. It’s going to be really competitive and it’s going to take a long time to figure that out. There’s no rush. We’ll have to get into pads and through the preseason before we really know what’s going on with that.”

Injuries a small concern: Two of these three are on defense, so I’m listing them here as a group. Not having strong safety Kam Chancellor (hip surgery), right tackle Russell Okung (toe surgery) and outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (ankle surgery) on the field was noticeable to everyone.

All of them are expected back for training camp, but no one knows for sure until it gets here. All three men are key players for the Seahawks.
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider sat down with reporters when the draft ended Saturday to discuss some of their nine picks and how the process went for the team.

“I thought it was a terrific three days,” Carroll said. “We’re really fired up about the guys were bringing to the team. We haven’t altered the way we do this, we’ve just improved.”

Schneider was asked if they had a theme going in, other than the usual trading down, which they did three times to get three additional picks: “Obviously speed, and getting guys that can thrive and survive here.”

Carroll was thrilled at getting UCLA defensive end Cassius Marsh, the first of three selections in the fourth round.

“We love the motor he brings,” Carroll said of Marsh. “He comes with a real attitude. He’s going to play end, but he can do a lot of things.”

One of the other things he did for the Bruins was line up as a tight end/H-back at times. Marsh said he’s very comfortable catching he football. His father, Curt Marsh, was an NFL wide receiver.

So Carroll said they will give Marsh a look on offense as an H-back in certain situations.

"Honestly we already talked about that,” Carroll said. “He has shown he can do that.”

Both Carroll and Schneider said they were surprised that Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood still was on the board when they picked in the middle of Round 4.

“People questioned his speed, but he went to the combine and ran a 4.47,” Schneider said. “There’s nothing overly flashy about him, but he’s incredibly tough, reliable and savvy. He’s strong and has big hands. You could see he really helped [Alabama quarterback] AJ [McCarron] a lot. He’s deceptive downfield.”

Carroll confirmed what San Diego State strong safety Eric Pinkins (6-3, 220) said after the Seahawks drafted him in the sixth round. They are moving him to cornerback.

“He’s a really good tackler,” Carroll said of Pinkins. “We want to see if he can play outside [at corner] for us.”

The last player picked by the Seahawks was Arkansas fullback Kiero Small. Schneider said it’s the first time he ever drafted a player who is 5-8 and 250 pounds.

“I really like him,” Schneider said. “He’s a total thumper and he’s super tough.”

The Seahawks now turn their attention to signing rookie free agents. One of them jumped the gun and announced it on Twitter -- University of Washington quarterback Keith Price.

Southern Cal safety Dion Bailey also has signed with the Seahawks as a free agent.

Carroll also was asked how strong safety Kam Chancellor is doing following hip surgery in March: “He is making great progress and I think he'll be back in plenty of time for camp. He is ahead of schedule.”
The Seattle Seahawks confirmed Tuesday that strong safety Kam Chancellor had hip surgery earlier this year, which was first reported by ESPN's John Clayton.

Chancellor
No timetable for his recovery was announced, but it isn't believed to be a long-term issue. Clayton was told in March that the surgery was "minor" in nature.

However, Chancellor has suffered with a labrum problem in his hip for a couple of years. Obviously, that's a scary thought for Seahawks fans because a labrum tear caused receiver Percy Harvin to miss most of the 2013 season.

But Chancellor said last summer, before the 2013 season, that his injury wasn't as severe as Harvin's labrum tear. Chancellor was visibly limping when he walked off the field after the Super Bowl.

Whether Chancellor will be ready for training camp is unknown. Harvin's original recovery estimate was four months. Even if that were true for Chancellor, he would be ready by the end of July, assuming the surgery took place in late March.
Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider had some interesting things to say in an informal conversation with team beat writers Wednesday. Here are a few points:

Michael Bowie is the next man up. The 2013 seventh-round draft choice, who started eight regular-season games because of injuries to starters on the line, will get a chance to earn the starting spot at right tackle to replace Breno Giacomini, who signed with the New York Jets as a free agent.

Pryor
• Schneider said Terrelle Pryor is coming to Seattle to compete at quarterback.

"Right now, no other options have been discussed," Schneider said.

The key words there are "right now." The Seahawks sent Oakland a seventh-round pick to acquire Pryor, who is 6-5, 245 pounds and can run a 4.4-second 40.

"We felt he was a better athlete than what we could have gotten with a seventh-round pick," Schneider said, "so we felt it was worth it to bring him in."

• Schneider wouldn't say whether strong safety Kam Chancellor or left tackle Russell Okung had surgery since the Super Bowl. Schneider will leave those questions for coach Pete Carroll to answer.

"I don't think it's appropriate for me to comment on those things," Schneider said. "It will be addressed by Pete once the players starting practicing."

Baldwin
Chancellor reportedly had minor hip surgery and Okung may have had surgery on the ligament tear in his big toe that caused him to miss eight games last season.

• Schneider didn't know when or if receiver Doug Baldwin plans to sign his tender offer of $2.187 million as a restricted free agent. Baldwin has until Friday to receive offers from other teams, which is unlikely now.

But Schneider did say Baldwin is part of the Seahawks' long-term plans. Signing the tender does not stop Seattle from trying to work out a contract extension with Baldwin. But Baldwin also has the option of signing the one-year deal and testing the free-agent market after the 2014 season.

• Schneider said he expects Sidney Rice to be 100 percent healthy by the start of the 2014 regular season. Rice, who was released before re-signing with the Seahawks in a one-year deal worth $1.4 million, had ACL surgery last October. Rice says he'll be ready by training camp in late July.
In the continuing countdown of the top 12 players for the Seahawks entering the 2014 season, this man might be the most-feared hitter in the NFL.

No. 6: Strong safety Kam Chancellor -- The intimidator of the Seattle defense, Chancellor will make receivers pay with bone-jarring hits that often find their way to the highlight reels.

Chancellor
In an era where big hits on receivers can bring big penalties, Chancellor has found the proper technique to keep his physical style of play, usually without causing his team to take a 15-yard penalty. In the process, it has made him one of the best strong safeties in league, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound brute force in the middle of the secondary.

Chancellor set the tone for the night early in the Super Bowl when he clocked Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas on a short crossing route, a bread-and-butter play for the Broncos. It sent a message about what that play would entail against Chancellor.

He finished the 43-8 victory with nine tackles and an interception, giving him 34 tackles and two picks in the three playoff games. Chancellor had 93 tackles in the regular season, many of which left receivers wondering what just happened while lying flat on their back.

Interesting note: Chancellor was a high school quarterback in Virginia who passed for more than 2,000 his senior year.

Contract status: Chancellor is on the second year of a five-year deal that will count $5.8 million against the salary cap in 2014 and pay him a base salary of $4.7 million. His contract came with a $5 million signing bonus and $17 million in guaranteed money.
Don't be too concerned about Kam Chancellor's upcoming hip surgery. This is not a Percy Harvin situation, even if Chancellor has surgery.

But Tuesday night, Chancellor sent out a tweet that seemed to indicate surgery wasn't happening:

Huh? No surgery here. Ready to Win

Chancellor
Harvin
It's a bit confusing, but the Seahawks strong safety was expected to have minor hip surgery in the next few weeks, a source told ESPN's John Clayton Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando.

This is not a new problem. Chancellor talked early last season about how he sympathized with Harvin because Chancellor played through a similar hip issue in 2012.

But Chancellor said his injury was far less severe than Harvin's torn labrum, which required major surgery in early August and included a four-month recovery before the Seahawks receiver returned. And Harvin still had issues with his hip that kept him out until the playoffs after returning for only one game.

Chancellor's hip issues returned late in the 2013 season. He did not practice several times during the playoffs, but Chancellor started all 19 games last year.

It isn't known what the recovery time will be if Chancellor has the surgery, which would be just a clean-up procedure. It's unlikely to cause him to miss any time since training camp is still four months away.
NEW YORK -- The talk is over, and the day finally is here: Super Bowl Sunday.

Here are five things the Seattle Seahawks must do well to defeat the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium:

1. Pressure Peyton Manning: It’s a mammoth task against a quarterback who gets rid of the football so quickly, but it isn’t so much about getting sacks as it is putting enough pressure on Manning to take him out of his comfort zone.

Everyone knows Manning is a classic pocket passer. He likes to step up in the pocket to make his throws. That will make it difficult for a talented edge-rusher like Cliff Avril to get to Manning.

Bryant
So the Seahawks have to get pressure up the middle with their defensive tackles -- Brandon Mebane, Clinton McDonald and Tony McDaniel. Big Red Bryant will also get a push in the middle sometimes, and they might use some stunts with end Michael Bennett rushing up the middle when he lines up outside. Also, look for middle linebacker Bobby Wagner to blitz a couple of times.

"There’s no certain way to get to Manning," Bennett said. "It comes down to doing what we do and beating your man."

2. Let the quiet Beast loudly rumble: It’s been a strange and somewhat stressful week for Marshawn Lynch, having to do media sessions on three consecutive days. Not his cup of tea, and a distraction the Seahawks could have lived without, but that is all behind them now.

Lynch
Lynch was successful on runs up the middle in the first two playoff games this season, but the Seahawks should try more off-tackle runs and toss sweeps against Denver. The Broncos have Terrance Knighton at nose tackle, a mountain of a man at 340 pounds. He’s a run-stuffer.

When asked what his biggest concern was regarding the Denver defense, Lynch didn’t hesitate. "Pot Roast," he said, which is Knighton’s nickname. "He’s a big boy."

The Seahawks might use a third tackle with Alvin Bailey, as they did against the 49ers, to line up with tight end Zach Miller and use a muscle push to run Lynch off the edge of the line and hope he goes Beast Mode.

3. Keep the Broncos guessing with Harvin: The Seahawks need to make the most of their X factor in receiver Percy Harvin. The Denver defense can’t know exactly how to account for a guy who played only six quarters this season, but they know he’s faster than a cheetah with its tail on fire.

Harvin
So make them worry about Harvin on almost every play by putting him in motion and lining him up in different spots. Get the ball to him early so Denver will know he’s part of the plan. Someone for Denver will have to spy him, meaning someone else on the Seattle offense -- receivers Golden Tate or Doug Baldwin -- will get free.

"We’re excited to have Percy back, because he brings more to the table," Tate said. "He's going to open it up for other guys more."

4. Punish the Broncos on crossing routes: The Seattle defense can’t allow Manning and his receivers to nickel-and-dime them to death with short passes over the middle and quick slants.

Chancellor
And if receiver Wes Welker wants to try a pick-play block, have strong safety Kam Chancellor waiting to greet him. Linebackers Malcolm Smith and K.J. Wright also have to get physical on these plays and let the Broncos know there is a price to pay every time they catch a pass in the middle of the field.

"We are a physical bunch," Chancellor said. "We like to be physical. We like to be hands-on. We like to make you feel our presence. That’s how we operate."

5. Play with poise: This is the most important point. Seattle is the more talented team overall, but the Seahawks must play smart and not get over-amped in the biggest game of their lives. Careless personal fouls and false starts can be the difference in the game, and too much emotion can cause a player to make a mistake he wouldn’t normally make.

Sherman
The Seahawks did a great job of controlling their emotions in the NFC Championship Game against the hated 49ers. Well, until the end when cornerback Richard Sherman went on testosterone overload after the game-saving play. But the game was decided at that point, so have at it.

The same is true in the Super Bowl. Play your game and don’t give the Broncos a freebie. Do what you did to get here.

"Respect the journey," said Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. "But at the same time, enjoy the moment. Take it all in. It is real. Just be poised and respect the process. I’m going to play with a smile on my face and just go for it."

Good advice. If the Seahawks follow it, that should be enough.
Kam ChancellorKyle Terada/USA TODAY SportsKam Chancellor is looking forward to the challenge of facing Denver quarterback Peyton Manning.
NEW YORK -- Regardless of what happens in the Super Bowl, you won't see Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor go on national TV and angrily scream into the camera.

That's not the style of this quiet man who tends to avoid bringing attention to himself off the field.

On the field? That's a much different story. He will get your attention.

Many opponents have learned about Chancellor the hard way -- from flat on their back. There is no more intimidating hitter in the NFL.

In the past, some of those hits have cost his team a 15-yard penalty. But in this era of the NFL, where big hits by defensive backs can bring big punishments, Chancellor has found a way to stay true to his style of play within the rules.

“You know what, I just show my passion for the game,” Chancellor said. “All the hard hits show how much I love this game and how you're supposed to play the game. It's just a matter of proper tackling. Then you can get your feet set and explode through anybody.”

Chancellor (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) has exploded through a lot of players lately. He leads the team with 25 tackles in Seattle's two playoff games, including 14 against New Orleans and 11 in the NFC Championship Game against San Francisco. He also had a big fourth-quarter interception against the 49ers.

“Kam is on it,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “He is really on his game. His preparation is dialed in. He's getting everything out of every rep in practice and all the meeting times, and he's extremely confident right now. He's really peaking at a great time and we're thrilled to have that happen.”

Chancellor is playing at the highest level of his career, something few people would have expected given league emphasis on eliminating the type of hits that have made Chancellor such a physical defensive back.

“Kam has really, really complied,” Carroll said. “He's taken it to heart. The early fines got his attention, but he really just wanted to find a way to play the game really well. He wasn't hard-headed about it at all. He went about it with kind of a sense that he was going to adjust and do it right.

“He's done all of that, and the exciting part of it is he's maintained his physical style. He's a great hitter and he's always looking for big opportunities. He creates big hits and does it legally and properly. A number of guys are working hard at this, but he's one of the guys that's really at the cutting edge of understanding the new format. I'm really proud of him for figuring it out.”

It's a mistake to think of Chancellor as nothing more than a big hitter. He's also an outstanding cover safety who has four interceptions this season including the postseason.

Free safety Earl Thomas said he and Chancellor have made each other better in their four seasons together.

“I think we're the best tandem in the league right now, just because of our chemistry,” Thomas said. “It's the connection we have, which I think started when I put my pride to the side and said, 'This guy is just as good as me.' It's a respect factor.”

Thomas said he and Chancellor had a plan that started during their rookie season in 2010.

“We always talked about changing Seattle,” Thomas said. “We came in as competitors, young and probably dumb, but at the same time, we understood that we could make a change and it's definitely panned out for us.”

Chancellor says he can't wait for Thomas and him to test their skills against one of the all-time greats in Denver quarterback Peyton Manning.

“He's a true competitor,” Chancellor said of Manning. “He's a guy who is going to give you his all on every play. He's very smart and knows what he sees on defense to throw what he wants to throw.”

So what's the plan?

“It's just about manning up,” said Chancellor, no pun intended. “We have to stay true to who we are and play physical. I like it that way.”

 

Manning's Omaha? Seahawks don't care

January, 24, 2014
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RENTON, Wash. -- Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning can bark out "Omaha" or any other middle America city he wants to use in his signal calling.

The Seattle Seahawks don't care. They won't be listening in Super Bowl XLVIII.

The Seattle defense knows Manning says a lot of things while he's making his play-calling decisions before each snap, but the Seahawks won't try to translate it like some on-the-field United Nations interpreter.

"You can't be a genie and think what he's thinking," Seattle free safety Earl Thomas said. "Obviously, you don't know what's coming. That's why you just have to be ready for anything. You just have to think principled ball. Why are you out there? It's best to just line up and do what you do."

What they do, in becoming the No. 1 defense in the NFL, is play aggressively and be physical at the point of attack with press coverage. The Seahawks aren't going to change things to try to second-guess Manning's constant audibles.

"Certainly for us, we have a real style about how we play," Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said. "We have to focus on our style and our football. We know that part of those checks [Manning's signals] are dummy calls at the line of scrimmage.

"So for us, it's more about how we play than the checks and the information that they're doing on the other side."

Seattle strong safety Kam Chancellor said it comes down to the communications between the guys on defense more than deciphering Manning's codes.

"It's not worth it trying to figure out what he's saying," Chancellor said. "Just play your defense, play your coverage, know what you have to do on your side of the ball and just be sound at it."

And, for the record, what's does Chancellor think "Omaha" means?

"I have no clue," he said.

Does the preseason matchup matter?

January, 24, 2014
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RENTON, Wash. -- For those who might have forgotten, the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos have faced each other this season.

It didn’t count because it was a preseason game at CenturyLink Field on Aug. 17, but it’s interesting to look back on it now. Seattle won that night 40-10.

It meant nothing, of course, but Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson and safety Kam Chancellor see value in that matchup five months ago.

"Anytime you play a team, there’s definitely value in it, just to see their players against our guys," Wilson said. "Even though it was a preseason game, it was a great battle."

That might seem like an odd statement considering the Seahawks won by 30 points, but the score is a bit misleading.

Peyton Manning was done for the night midway through the second quarter, but not before he completed 11 of 16 passes for 163 yards and one touchdown. The Broncos had 209 yards of offense in the first half.

Chancellor has taken time to study that film this week.

"I look at all the things that affected us in that game," he said. "The plays they made out there and some of the looks that Peyton saw from us. I want to see some of the things we left open during the game so we can correct them if they run those plays in this game."

The Seahawks forced three Denver fumbles in the game, including one that became a 106-yard touchdown for cornerback Brandon Browner, who also had a forced fumble. Browner is now serving a one-year suspension for a substance-abuse violation.

Seattle was leading 17-7 when Denver was about to score, but Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman fumbled as he tried to dive into the end zone. Browner recovered in the end zone and ran it back all the way to make it 24-7 when it could have been 17-14.

The Seahawks also had a 107-yard kickoff return for a TD by Jermaine Kearse. Seattle led 33-7 at half before backups played in the second half.

Wilson completed eight of 12 passes that night for 127 yards and two touchdowns while playing the first two quarters. Running back Marshawn Lynch had only two carries for 1 yard in the game.

Denver tight end Julius Thomas had four receptions for 70 yards, but he also fumbled on a 20-yard catch in the first quarter.

Ten players caught at least one pass for Seattle that night, including Doug Baldwin, who had one reception for 16 yards.

"It’s nice to look at on tape to have a baseline," Baldwin said. "But so much goes on in the 17 weeks during the season that it’s kind of hard to look at that film and digest it. The games I’ll be looking at the most are their more recent games, because those will mean more than the preseason."

Thomas likes bully mentality

January, 17, 2014
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RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle free safety Earl Thomas likes it that some people think the Legion of Boom Seahawks secondary has a bully mentality.

Thomas
"I think we can bully whoever we want to bully," Thomas said. "It's about us. It's about a mindset. When you have a mindset of you're not going to let anything get in your way, you're determined. You just step over and keep going."

Thomas, who was voted to the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro team this season, is in the running for the NFL defensive player of the year.

"Everything in my mind is about being the best to ever do it," Thomas said. "Everything is about separating myself from every defensive player in the league. So you look at all the things you have to do. You have to be a great tackler when you tackle somebody in this defense. That's why I like being the only guy back there."

Thomas said he learned to become a better tackler by watching Seattle strong safety Kam Chancellor, known as one of the fiercest hitters in the league.

"I think he brought to the team wanting to be the enforcer," Thomas said of Chancellor. "I saw that and said I've got to add that to my game."
Seattle Seahawks Ron Antonelli/Getty ImagesThe Seahawks made five interceptions, including two apiece by Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- If the Seattle Seahawks return to this stellar, and likely frigid, facility in a few weeks for the game of games, it will be because of a defense with depth, talent and skills like no other.

Quarterback Russell Wilson is the glamour boy of this team, and deservedly so, as he showed once again in a 23-0 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday at MetLife stadium.

But posting a shutout for the first time this season, along with picking off five Eli Manning passes, at the venue where the Super Bowl takes place in seven weeks is something to remember.

This defense is the other thing that sets the Seahawks apart.

“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t cross my mind,” middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said of playing at the Super Bowl site. “Of course it did. And it feels good to play like this here. If the time comes and we take care of business to get back here, it will matter. No doubt about it.”

Seattle, with the NFL’s best record at 12-2, entered the game with the No. 1 defense in the league in yards allowed. It won’t change after this one. The Seahawks gave up only 181 yards, including just 25 yards rushing on 14 carries.

Look at it like this: The Seahawks gave up 26 fewer yards rushing Sunday than they did on one big play to Frank Gore in the 19-17 loss at San Francisco last week, a day on which Seattle allowed 163 yards rushing to the 49ers.

“We had a chip on our shoulders about that,” said Wagner, who led the team Sunday with 10 tackles and 1 sacks. “We wanted to show that’s not who we are.”

Who they are is a defense with such extraordinary depth that a third-string cornerback can intercept two passes against Manning. Byron Maxwell now has three interceptions in the past two games starting at right cornerback. Manning found out the hard way that Maxwell isn’t your typical backup.

“Yeah, he tested me on the very first play,” Maxwell said, referring to an incomplete pass intended for Victor Cruz. “But I feel like I’m just as good as our starters and I want people to know it.”

Manning had been playing much better in recent weeks after a horrible start to the season, but he was no match for the Seattle secondary. He made the senseless decision to challenge cornerback Richard Sherman on a sideline go-route, which Sherman picked off so easily he might as well have called a fair catch.

Sherman had two picks and assisted on another when he tipped a pass into the end zone in the fourth quarter that free safety Earl Thomas caught to preserve the shutout.

“He owed me one after I let him have that pick on the [Hail Mary] pass at the end of the half,” Thomas said. “We came prepared [Sunday]. We had a bad outing last week, but that doesn’t define us.

“You saw what happened [Sunday]. We need to keep this same mentality, because when we’re [angry] like this, we’re hard to beat. We did a lot of things right today and really disguised our coverage.”

Thomas said the Seahawks changed things up a little against the Giants by starting most plays with two safeties deep, but then one of them would close in near the line of scrimmage right before the snap. The Giants didn’t know who it would be -- Thomas or strong safety Kam Chancellor.

“Did you see some of those hits Kam made today?” Maxwell asked. “Wow. One guy for [the Giants], I won’t say who, came up to me and said, ‘That’s a man right there,’ talking about Kam.”

Almost everyone on the Seattle defense looked like men among boys Sunday. The Giants didn’t even cross midfield until midway through the fourth quarter, long after the outcome was decided.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin called New York’s offensive performance “pathetic.” The Seahawks have made a lot of offenses look that way this season, but this game stood out.

“That’s as good a defensive coverage day for us as I can remember,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “Guys really stepped up. It’s as complete a game as we’ve had.”

That includes receiver Doug Baldwin, who caught six passes for 71 yards and 12-yard touchdown on which he fought he way to the goal line. It includes running back Marshawn Lynch, who had six receptions for 73 yards, along with a 2-yard TD run that saw him break four tackles and will his way into the end zone.

And, of course, it includes Wilson, who was 18-of-27 passing for 206 yards and one touchdown, along with 50 yards rushing.

Let’s give Wilson his due. He became the only quarterback in NFL history to win 23 games in his first two seasons. He also is one of only three quarterbacks in league history -- joining Dan Marino and Peyton Manning -- to throw 50 TDs in his first two seasons.

The Seahawks would not be where they are without Wilson. But the new golden boy of the NFL would not be where he is without this remarkable defense that just played lights-out on the field where they hope to return soon.

video

For a Monday night game in early December, this is as good as it gets. The 10-1 Seattle Seahawks play host to the 9-2 New Orleans Saints in a game that could decide home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs.

The last time these teams faced each other was in a playoff game following the 2010 season, which Seattle won 41-36. Drew Brees passed for 404 yards and two touchdowns for the Saints, and Marshawn Lynch rushed for 131 yards, including the legendary 67-yard "Beast Quake" touchdown run in the fourth quarter for the Seahawks.

If this game is anything like that one, it will be one heck of a show.

The Seahawks will have to try to stop Brees with a reworked secondary after a week in which two Seattle cornerbacks (Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner) ran afoul of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Thurmond was replacing Browner as a starter due to Browner’s groin injury.

The whole suspensions issue put a damper on a big week. Now everyone will see whether the Seahawks can overcome it or whether Brees will make them pay.

ESPN.com Seahawks reporter Terry Blount and Saints reporter Mike Triplett look at the key issues entering the game:

Blount: Mike, this is a great matchup between the veteran Brees and a young quarterback who idolized him in Russell Wilson. Wilson always saw Brees as someone he could emulate, a player who, like him, wasn't tall but had a great arm and great leadership qualities. As someone who sees Brees every week, how do you compare them?

Triplett: I don’t know that much about Wilson, but I certainly see why he would choose Brees to emulate. It’s remarkable how Brees, at just 6-foot, has been able to not only succeed in the NFL but truly dominate. It would take me too long to rattle off all the reasons why Brees is so successful. For one thing, he’s as competitive and driven as any athlete I've ever been around. That shows in his work ethic both in the offseason and during the season. He also sees the field (through passing lanes since he can’t peek over the top) and anticipates things about as well as any quarterback who has ever played the game. He's not as mobile as Wilson, but he's elusive in the pocket and avoids sacks. I'd say both guys are proof that those intangible qualities count for a lot in the NFL, even if you don't have prototypical size.

I haven't seen the Seahawks' offense light up scoreboards in the few games on national TV this season, especially early in games. Can Wilson keep pace if the Saints are able to put points on the board?

Blount: Most of the time, he hasn't needed to because the defense has played so well. However, after watching him now for two seasons and seeing his growth, I believe Wilson is capable of doing whatever he needs to do to win football games. He has proven it over and over. Three times this season he has led the team to a fourth-quarter comeback, and he’s done it seven times in his brief NFL career. Wilson never is going to be the type of guy, like Brees, who puts up huge passing numbers. That’s not what they want him to do in an offense that wants to run the football with Lynch. But Wilson has demonstrated he can adjust the game plan to fit the needs of the moment. Frankly, he is one of the best I've ever seen at finding a way to win.

The Seahawks have a lot of weapons on offense, and now have added Percy Harvin to the mix. Obviously, Rob Ryan has a done a good job in getting New Orleans' defense back on track. How do you see him approaching this game against Seattle’s power running game with Lynch and a mobile quarterback in Wilson?

Triplett: I know this: Ryan will definitely have a plan. He is one of the league’s most innovative game-planners. Former player Scott Fujita described him as a “mad scientist.” We saw that quality more than ever two weeks ago when the Saints played the San Francisco 49ers. Ryan unveiled two new packages for that game, including a five-linebacker formation to corral the 49ers’ run game and the threat of the read-option. We may see the same thing this week, or maybe a new wrinkle since he likes to be unpredictable. I know the Saints’ defensive players will be amped to prove they’re just as good as the more-hyped Seahawks defense. Ends Cameron Jordan and Akiem Hicks, outside linebacker Junior Galette and cornerback Keenan Lewis are having breakout years, in particular.

Seattle’s defense has obviously been outstanding this year as well. How do you think they’ll hold up against the Saints’ versatile offense? Who might match up against tight end Jimmy Graham and running back/receiver threats Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas, among others?

Blount: The first thing to watch is how the backups in the secondary handle going against a wily veteran like Brees. No doubt he’s going to test Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane. And Graham is a major concern. The Seahawks have struggled at times this season against tight ends. In this case, they might have cornerback Richard Sherman shadow Graham as much as possible. And this is a big test for strong safety Kam Chancellor. The key for the Seahawks is the defensive line, much improved over last year, getting to Brees and taking some of the pressure off the depleted secondary.

Mike, if you had to name one area in which the Saints must outplay the Seahawks in order to win the game, what would you pick?

Triplett: Easy one: turnovers. I know you could say that about every team in every game. But it’s especially huge in this matchup. For one, the Seahawks lead the NFL with 26 takeaways. I imagine that’s why they’re second in the NFL in points scored (27.8 per game) even though they don’t have a prolific offense. The Saints need to set the pace in this game and try to force Seattle to keep up with their offense. They can’t afford to give away any freebies or short fields. And based on what we’ve seen from the Saints this season, I think they can do that. Their run game started slowly but has improved. And they showed a patient offensive approach in a Week 5 victory at Chicago and in their last two wins against San Francisco and Atlanta. The Saints have turned the ball over just 13 times, and they lead the league in average time of possession.

Terry, how do you think the Seahawks will handle this game if they don’t set the tone? To be honest, I expected a bit of a sophomore slump from Wilson and the Seahawks, since we see it so often in the NFL. Why have they been able to avoid that? And do you think there’s any risk of the pressure affecting them in a game of this magnitude?

Blount: None whatsoever, Mike. In fact, Wilson thrives on games like this. He is at his best when things seem their worst, along with playing at a high level in the most difficult situations and the high-pressure games. That character trait is what makes Wilson such an exceptional athlete. He never gets rattled. Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said Wilson has the one trait all great quarterbacks need: “A short memory.”

Seahawks' defense still impressive

September, 22, 2013
9/22/13
11:15
PM ET
SEATTLE -- Don’t be misled. There’s nothing wrong with the Seattle Seahawks' defense. In fact, it’s better than ever.

Yes, the Seahawks gave up 17 points to a weak offense in the 45-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

[+] EnlargeKam Chancellor and Byron Maxwell
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsKam Chancellor (31) celebrates with Byron Maxwell after intercepting a pass in the fourth quarter against Jacksonville.
However, a final score can be deceiving.

It was 31-0 in the third quarter before Jacksonville scored. And the first touchdown for the Jaguars was a freebie, coming after an interception by linebacker Paul Posluszny gave them the ball at the Seattle 2-yard-line.

It was 38-7 before Jacksonville scored again late in the third quarter, long after the outcome was decided and Seattle was playing as many backups as possible on both sides of the ball.

“We put a lot of our younger guys in," said strong safety Kam Chancellor, who had an interception Sunday, giving him picks in back-to-back games for the first time. “But that’s still not an excuse. We want our backups to be just as prepared as the starters. We hold ourselves to a high standard.”

The return of cornerback Brandon Browner and defensive end Chris Clemons had the defense at close to full strength for the first time.

“I felt great,” said Clemons, playing for the first time since undergoing offseason ACL surgery. “The biggest thing was trusting my work and trusting my rehab. Now we just have to get Bruce [Irvin] back and we can really get after it.”

Irvin, a defensive end/linebacker, still has one game to go on his four-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

“Man, we have so much depth on the defensive line it’s ridiculous," said Seattle cornerback Walter Thurmond. “The talent is out there. It all starts in the trenches for us and makes our job [in the secondary] so much easier.”

The Seahawks had four sacks and eight quarterback pressures Sunday. The defense started the game by holding the Jaguars to four consecutive 3-and-outs. Jacksonville had only 20 yards rushing in the first half.

“Defensively, we had the game controlled pretty early,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We could feel it. We had a chance to hold the score way down, but [Jacksonville] made some plays on us and got some stuff going. Give those guys credit. They kept at it and came back at us.”

The Seattle defense still is No. 1 in the NFL in points allowed per game at 9.0, first of total yards and 241.7 per game and first in passing yards allowed at 146.7 per game.

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