By John Boyle
It’s a Wednesday tradition in the NFL for coaches and players to heap praise upon that week’s opponent, so it’s safe to say you should take a lot what is said with a grain of salt. All that being said, however, it is still interesting to get an opposing view on the Seahawks, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick, as well as a couple of his players, seem genuinely impressed by the defense they are going to face this weekend.
“They’re a top defense in the league for a good reason,” Belichick said on a conference call. “First of all, they’re very well coached. Pete does a great job, we all know that. They’re strong against the run, taking the ball away a lot, causing a lot of fumbles. They have a real good pass rush, good pass defenders, a lot of good players. I’m really impressed with the front; Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane do a great job in the running game. Alan Branch is solid in there too as well as Jason Jones, Chris Clemons, Bruce Irvin, and Greg Scruggs. Those guys can all rush the passer. The linebackers are fast, Leroy Hill, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright those guys get to a lot of balls, they don’t get blocked very often and they close space in a hurry. They probably have the biggest corners in the league. Marcus Trufant is an outstanding player who comes in for them on the nickel. Kam Chancellor is a big physical force in there at safety, and Earl Thomas is probably as good a safety as we played against. He has great instinct, vision, speed, and ball skills. He’s a real playmaker for them back in the secondary. Good, well coached with a lot of good players, good depth at every position, and they’re a real good defensive team. There’s no doubt about it.”
And if you’re counting at home, that’s seven D-linemen that Belichick name-checked, including a rookie who has barely played. So yeah, grain of salt, like I said. Even so, when a coach with the stature of Belichick calls Thomas, “probably as good a safety as we play against,” that counts for something.
The Seattle-area media also talked to receiver Wes Welker on a conference call, and he too had nothing but good things to say about at Seahawks defense that has allowed the fewest yards and second fewest points of any NFL team.
“They really get after it,” Welker said. “I think they’re top five in pretty much every category. They fly around to the ball. They tackle really well. They have a bunch of big guys that move around very well. They’re definitely a team that you have to be on top of everything and not get sloppy on any plays and do your assignment and do everything possible to move the ball and score on them because it’s not easy.”
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady also weighed in on Seattle’s secondary during a press conference in New England.
“They’re big, they’re physical, they cover very well for being big guys,” Brady said. “Typically you find big corners that have a hard time covering guys. These guys, they cover everybody. They’re quick, they’re physical, they really limit the yards after the catch because they’re very good tacklers. I think they’re very aggressive. They obviously study very hard because they read a lot of route combinations. They’re very talented and I think our guys are pretty talented too, so it will be nice to see how we match up against them.”