Defense Wins Championships: Seahawks Shutdown Manning’s High Powered Offense

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Just like the Steel Curtain, the Legion of Boom will be forever entrenched in the mind of football fans. They put together one of the best Super Bowl performances in years. They will live on for eternity like the 1985 Bears, the 2000 Ravens and the 2002 Buccaneers. In the last two years many late or undrafted players stepped up for the Seahawks to make history.

The only first round pick in the Legion of Boom is Earl Thomas who is a first team All-Pro. Kam Chancellor is the other safety. Chancellor is a second team All-Pro who is known for his big hits and interceptions in the NFC championship against San Francisco and in the Super Bowl against Denver.

The cornerbacks are currently Richard Sherman and either Byron Maxwell, Walter Thurmond or Jeremy Lane. It was Brandon Browner before he was suspended. Sherman led the NFL in interceptions this season. He got hurt in the Super Bowl but made a great play in the NFC championship. Maxwell had four interceptions at the end of the season. None of these cornerbacks were drafted high.

The Seahawks’ linebackers were not coveted coming out of college either. K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith played great and Smith recovered a fumble and scored a touchdown on a Peyton Manning interception. Head coach Pete Carroll had a big smile on his face when Malcolm Smith was presented with the Super Bowl MVP.

Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett were huge free agent pickups. They each had sacks in both the divisional round playoff game against the New Orleans Saints and the NFC championship against the 49ers. Avril came from the Detroit Lions and Bennett came from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If the Seahawks didn’t have them, I’m not sure that they would have made the Super Bowl.

Some other players who played big parts for Seattle’s defense were Chris Clemons, Clinton McDonald, Brandon Mebane, Red Bryant and Bruce Irvin. Irvin was the Seahawks first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The rest of the guys were either drafted late or undrafted. In the NFC championship and Super Bowl, the Seahawks’ defense dominated Frank Gore, Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball.

Current defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is in his first year at Seattle. He took over for Gus Bradley who was hired after 2012 to become the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach. Because of the great defense the Seahawks play, Quinn is a front runner for a head coaching job next offseason and he could have taken one this offseason if he wanted to.

This offseason the Seahawks top priority is to sign Earl Thomas. Since most of Seattle’s players were either drafted low, or not at all, most of them are not making much money this season. When they all hit free agency they won’t be able to all stay in Seattle. However, if Seattle keeps developing players like they have been, then that shouldn’t be an issue.


You can follow Thomas Frey on Twitter: @ThomasFreyRP

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