That’s right, you. You’re crazy, brah.
That’s right, you. You’re crazy, brah.
They’re too tall, too physical and they talk too damn much. That’s three ways to define the starting Seattle Seahawks’ defensive backs, who have become, arguably, the league’s best group of pass defenders. Once considered too tall and slow, now they’re simply viewed as being too damn good as they have shut down a countless number of supposed pass-catching threats. This weekend’s task: quiet the three-headed combination of Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez.
I’m about to reveal a bias, something that’s admittedly not in my best interests as an NFL writer: I’ll be wildly cheering in support of the Falcons this weekend.
I’m not being selfish in doing so, and there’s no deeply-rooted personal motivation here. No, even though I may be drawing the devil’s fiery breath from the depths of Seattle, I’m willing to embrace that scorn to protect all of you. What do you need protection from, you ask? I’m not sure we, as organized, civil people, can withstand another offseason of hackneyed NFL panel-guy discussion about Matt Ryan’s inability to win “the big one”.
That will persist even if Julio Jones and Roddy White are stymied by Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman (quite possible). It’ll persist even if Michael Turner continues showing the speed of a snail that’s pushing another larger snail, that’s in turn inexplicably pushing another even much larger snail, forming a snail chain to nowhere. It’ll persist even if the Falcons’ 21st ranked run defense is gashed by Marshawn Lynch, the third-best rusher this season with 1,590 yards, and he had 132 yards on 20 carries last week against the Redskins with a touchdown (that’s 6.6 YPC, with the overall yardage a Seahawks’ post-season record).
All of those things are far out of Ryan’s control. All of them, and yet if the Falcons lose — and especially if they lose big — we’ll hear far more about said loss than we will the Seahawks’ win, and the fact that a team led by two rookies on either side of the ball (Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner) would then be one win away from the Super Bowl.
Sure, you could argue that the Falcons would deserve your hate, and you’re right. But after they were the most underwhelming 13-3 team in, well, forever, a loss this weekend wouldn’t be a surprise given the poor defensive matchups presented by the Seahawks. Instead, Seattle would deserve much more of your praise, but the blackness of blind Falcons hate will swallow your soul.
I can’t live in that world. Go Falcons.
Currently as we speak a group of Seattle groundskeepers are flying to Washington to execute a covert operation. The FedEx Field turf must be restored to something that doesn’t resemble a lawn mower racing track. Yes, there are lawn mower racing tracks. Yes, I once lived in a van down by the river.
That field — that shoddy, clumpy, barely playable field — contributed to the downfall of Chris Clemons, a massive and possibly crippling loss as the Seahawks now begin preparing to visit Atlanta in the divisional round. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is confirming what was widely reported last night: Clemons tore his ACL and meniscus, and he’ll be out for the remainder of the Seahawks’ season.
In the finale of this weekend’s wild card festivities that will surely be won by a combined score of, say, 44-26 with four road wins (believe in Madden), you’ll see an elusive quarterback run, and consistently keep plays alive with his feet. You’ll see him demonstrate great comfort and ease while throwing outside of the pocket, and often target his receivers deep downfield after designed rollouts. You’ll see him make athletic defensive ends look simply silly while diving and whiffing.
Then Robert Griffin III will take the field.
If he was fully healthy, Griffin would be the slightly more mobile of the two mobile, blossoming rookie quarterbacks set to square off Sunday in Washington, with the other Seattle’s Russell Wilson. But he remains at least mildly hobbled by a knee injury, giving us two QBs who are nearly identical. They’re supported by two running backs whose downhill, pounding styles are almost identical too after Alfred Morris finished second in rushing during the regular season with 1,613 yards (he was one of just two running backs to average over 100 yards per game), and Marshawn Lynch was right behind him in third with 1,590 yards. And finally, there’s also the two opposing speed threats split out wide (Pierre Garcon and Sidney Rice).
But the mirror doesn’t work so easily on the defenses.
“If you didn’t know he was a rookie, you wouldn’t think he was.” – Ray Horton
The words uttered from the mouth of the Cardinals’ respected blitz-happy defensive coordinator were a sign of the utmost respect towards the young man the football world calls “DangeRuss,” a heavily scrutinized athlete prior to being selected 75th overall in the 2012 draft who has now gained full backing from rabid football fanatics and support league wide. Gil Brandt perhaps gave the biggest endorsement through the eyes of a personnel man when he said, “You go broke looking for those guys. For every guy that you draft, that’s three inches and four inches below the accepted minimum, 99 of 100 are going to fail. He’s a real exception.”