Former “Legion of Boom” member and current Patriots’ cornerback Brandon Browner made headlines Monday upon the release of an interview in which he generated controversial comments regarding his injured ex-teammates; Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.
In an interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Browner was asked about the toughness of his former teammates. In answering the question Browner acknowledged the impact of their physical toughness and further said, “At the end of the day, this is about the Super Bowl. I’m gonna tell my teammates ‘go hit that elbow, go hit that shoulder.” He would go on to say, “Try to break it if you can. You can be my best friend after the game but, at the end of the day, I know you want the Super Bowl just as bad as I do.”
Taking issue with the aggressive nature of Browner’s statements, Seahawks’ linebacker KJ Wright responded by saying, “We don’t play like that, we don’t go out there and try to hurt guys.”
Seahawks’ wide receiver Doug Baldwin empathized with Browner saying, “I’d expect nothing less.” Baldwin would go on to recognize the harshness of what Browner said but also remarked about the raw competitive nature of the Super Bowl and its players, “I understand the fans want it to be classy and everyone to be politically correct, but that’s the truth of the matter…We want this game just as much as they do, and they want this game as much as us.” Providing a similar but less serious reply, Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner smiled before attributing Browner’s words to the same competitive nature that Baldwin made mention of.
While there remains disagreement about the justification of Browner’s statements amongst the Seahawks players, there is a collective disdain from fans as they respond over social media to express their displeasure.
Browner wasn’t available for comment on Monday.
Possessing the 23rd best rushing defense in the NFL, the Packers are extremely reliant upon their offensive potency. Therefore, the key to a Hawks’ victory lies in minimizing Aaron Rodgers’ effectiveness while executing a performance identical to their season opener.
Having defeated the Pack by a score of 36-16 in Week 1, the Hawks are seeking a similar outcome in the NFC Championship rematch. However, achieving such a one-sided victory is highly unlikely.
Averaging 35 points per game throughout the course of the regular season, the Green Bay Packers’ offense is extremely prolific, an attribute that earned them a super bowl title back in 2010. But unlike the Packers’ 2010 Super Bowl run and the majority of their 2014 regular season, their offense will not go uncontested.
Undaunted by the threat of Rodgers, the Hawks must also prepare for Packers’ running back Eddie Lacy. With his accumulation of 101 yards on the ground against the Cowboys, Packers’ RB Eddie Lacy is currently averaging the most rushing yards per game amongst all postseason players. Look for a solid matchup between Lacy and Wagner as the rest of the Hawks set their sights on pass coverage and pressuring Rodgers.
Recently in the news for his post-game antics, Marshawn Lynch will need to make headlines with his on-field performance this Sunday.
Remaining NFC Champs is ultimately dependent on the success of the whole but in order to ensure those collective successes the Legion of Boom and Marshawn Lynch need to deliver.
Seeking a repeat as super bowl champions, the Hawks began their 2014 regular season plagued with injury and also struggling to retain chemistry within their locker room. But despite their rocky 3-3 start, the Hawks were able to find their stride in week 7, only a game after ridding themselves of the distraction that was WR Percy Harvin. They would go on to record nine victories in their last ten games. With the defense healthy and the ability to return to their essential “ground and pound” mentality, the Hawks managed to claim the number one seed atop the NFC.
Essential to their success was RB Marshawn Lynch. Following his participation in a training camp holdout at the beginning of the season, the influence of RB Marshawn Lynch within the Hawks offense was widely questioned. But after witnessing another season of subpar OL blocking it became blatantly evident that Lynch was a crucial part of the Hawks offensive success. Lynch’s ability to shed tackles is irreplaceable and his 1,306 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground marked his 4th straight season with a rushing performance that surpassed 1000 yards and 10 TDs. These efforts earned Lynch his title as Sportymort’s 2014 regular season Offensive MVP. In regards to value on the other side of the ball, the Hawks MLB Bobby Wagner was just as influential in helping the Seahawks to return to excellence. Despite missing almost a third of the entire season, Wagner ranked second on the team in tackles with 104, making him my Defensive MVP. Wagner’s efforts were complimented by a breakout season from OLB Bruce Irvin. Accounting for both of the teams pick six’s, a forced fumble, and 6.5 sacks, Irvin was the defensive sparkplug that generated positive momentum for the Hawks on more than one occasion. Irvin’s quality season has since earned him the title as Sportymorty’s Breakout Player of the Year.
Strengths and Weaknesses:
After a dominant season in which the Hawks produced the number 1 rushing offense and overall defense, it is clear that their strengths remain the same: capitalizing on the Beast that is Marshawn and allowing the fewest yards in the NFL. Unfortunately, their weaknesses were just as evident; penalties and blocking. Awarded the title as 2014’s most penalized NFL team, it often seemed as if the Hawks committed a penalty on every third play. Accounting for a vast majority of those penalties while struggling to protect their QB at times, the offensive line needs to play with more consistency.
Now that the playoffs are underway, it’s time for the Hawks to make their 12 wins count as they face off against the Carolina Panthers in the NFC divisional round this Saturday at Clink.
The Hawks looked stellar in their 36-16 victory over the Green Bay Packers, trouncing their opponents in every facet of the game. The offensive line led the charge as they helped RB Marshawn Lynch rack up 110 yards and 2 touchdowns rushing. Rookie RT Justin Britt was a key part of the offensive line’s success against the Pack and if this game is any indicator of what the rest of the season may look like for him, I believe that the Hawks made an incredible second round pick. The Hawks were able to open up ginormous holes thanks to the play of the OL, but the Hawks pass blocking shouldn’t be overlooked. Throughout the course of this game TE Zach Miller was challenged with the task of pass blocking OLB Clay Matthews. Miller’s ability to contain Matthews was huge part of the Hawks victory. Miller helped shutdown one of the biggest sack getters in the game, and his efforts helped the other members of the offensive line focus on stopping OLB Julius Peppers. Only allowing a single sack and successfully containing Peppers and Matthews for a majority of the game, the Hawks did a fantastic job in giving Russell Wilson more time.
Although his stats weren’t flashy, he was almost perfect in his decision making and his 110.9 QB rating is a good indicator of that. Divvying the ball to several targets on the night, Wilson threw for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns with a 67.9 completion percentage. The most electrifying of those targets was most definitely WR/KR Percy Harvin. Being the playmaker that he is, Percy had 160 all-purpose yards against Green Bay, 49 of those yards coming from seven passes caught, 41 yards from four carries, and 60 yards from three kick returns. Although he did not reach the end zone, Percy’s ability to provide big plays is what put the Hawks in the position to score.
Without a single ball thrown in his direction, CB Richard Sherman wasn’t able to record a single defensive stat against the Pack. However, his counterpart CB Byron Maxwell was tested by Packers QB Aaron Rodgers in his ability to cover WR Jordy Nelson. Despite allowing Jordy 83 yards receiving, Maxwell was able to keep him from scoring a single touchdown and also recorded an interception. Maxwell’s performance was a good sign of his capability to step into his starting role at right corner. Thanks to a 14 tackle performance from MLB Bobby Wagner, the Hawks were able to limit RB Eddie Lacy to only 34 yards on 12 carries. Stopping Lacy was a big part of shutting down the Packers offense, and as Wagner put it “made them (Packers) one-dimensional”. Overall, the Hawks defeated the Packers with an all-around team effort that was nothing short of amazing to watch.
Following their less than perfect performance last Sunday, the Hawks look to defeat the Cardinals this Thursday in Arizona. With a record of 3-3, the Arizona Cardinals currently reside at the bottom of the NFC West tied with the St. Louis Rams. This week’s division rival matchup should still be a good game despite the fact that Arizona is in last place.
Even with the emergence of young secondary stars CB Patrick Peterson and CB Tyrann Mathieu, the Cards rank 19th in passing yards allowed. Surprisingly their defense ranks 5th in rushing yards allowed. Despite the Cardinals defensive strengths, the Seahawks are likely to find a way to run the football. Starting DE Calais Campbell is out for this week’s game against the Hawks, and LB Karlos Dansby is questionable. The Cards’ key injuries are going to have an impact on how efficient the Hawks are in running their offense. Thankfully, the return of recently injured TE Zach Miller will give additional help to the passing game.
Unfortunately, Hawks’ MLB Bobby Wagner will be out for the second straight week with an ankle injury. The loss of Wagner, accompanied with the probable loss of DE Chris Clemons, could have an effect on how successful the Hawks are on Defense. On the ground the Cards aren’t much of a threat, but if WR Larry Fitzgerald is healthy enough to play Sunday, it could make for an exciting matchup between him and Sherman. The Seahawks are always more than capable of playing good defense, they just need to prove their offensive strength in this week’s game.
The showdown in the desert should turn out to be a good one regardless of injury. The Hawks have the defensive strength to defeat the Cards but they still have yet to prove they can have success pass blocking for QB Russell Wilson. Russell Wilson and the Hawks will likely pull out another victory but they will face a significant challenge in beating both the Cards and Rams in consecutive weeks on the road.