The Seahawks are back on the practice field today at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton after yesterday's hiatus. We talk to Denver coach John Fox and a Broncos players, presumably Peyton Manning, just after noon on a conference call. Then Pete Carroll holds his weekly Wednesday press conference, the locker room is open for interviews and Richard Sherman is scheduled to speak before practice early this afternoon.
There is one factor the Seahawks will have going for them this week that they didn't in San Diego.
Crowd noise for them, not against.
Like San Diego, Denver uses audibles and signals at the line of scrimmage as the basis for a short, ball-control passing game. Everyone knows about quarterback "Omaha!" Manning yelling at the line of scrimmage, barking out code. But the Broncos' receivers also communicate with each other pre-snap, not to mention the line calls the between the center, guards and tackles to confirm protections.
An overlooked aspect of February's Super Bowl was how loud it was with all the Seahawks' fans that were inside Met Life Stadium in the Meadowlands. It turned the normally staid, corporate-suit crowd in a neutral site at Super Bowls into a raucous, de facto home game for Seattle. Manning and his receivers couldn't hear or breathe, let alone operate; we remember the first offensive play. when Manning and his center didn't communicate an audible and snap count correctly and the snap went through the unsuspecting QB's hand and into the end zone for safety.
Think those two points would have happened in Denver, the first score in Seattle's 43-8 rout?
Sunday, the Seahawks get that real home game against the Broncos. And it's not going to be quiet at CenturyLink Field.
“Denver has a lot of stuff they do,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “They have a lot of little situational calls they make. A lot of really interesting, intriguing little things that they do with their receivers to get guys open for third-and-mediums and -shorts. They’re as good as you can get at that.
“They’re probably more involved with those kinds of scheme plays than you see from anybody in the league.”
The more intricate visiting teams are just before the snap the more difficult it is for them to play in Seattle -- where the Seahawks have won 18 of their last 19 games. Not saying what Manning does with the Broncos' offense pre-snap can't be done in Seattle, just that it's going to be far more difficult than it normally is for them. And that will give the Seahawks' defense an edge it sure didn't have in San Diego.
--In today's News Tribune I wrote about how the Broncos and Seahawks are coming at this Super Bowl rematch from polar-opposite directions.
--This is only the sixth time in NFL history that Super Bowl foes have met in the following regular season -- and first time since October 1997 when the Packers beat the Patriots in the regular season 10 months after Green Bay beat New England in the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl winner is 3-2 in these rematches.
--Here's nfl.com's Bucky Brooks detailing what he sees as the "blueprint" on how to beat the Seahawks' defense that San Diego used. Much of it is what we talked about on here during the game and Sunday night, short passes against Seattle's base sets, isolating tight end Antonio Gates on linebackers K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner and audibles to runs many times when the Seahawks had five defensive backs and only two linebackers on the field.
I still say the reason it worked so well for the Chargers was how accurate Rivers was throwing the ball on lofts over those linebackers and ahead of the defensive backs -- and how mobile he was stepping up and around a Seahawks' pass rush that actually got to him but couldn't bring him down but once. Two of his TD passes to Gates came after the Seahawks thought they had Rivers sacked.
Manning has proven to be less mobile than that, though more exquisite in getting the ball out quickly to the right guy when a pass rush does get home. The Seahawks' biggest key on defense for Sunday's game will be the same one it was last weekend: affecting the quarterback and bringing him down with a rush from the defensive front and its rotation of fresh players. Seattle defensive-line coach Travis Jones told me last week the way the Seahawks' front got after Manning in the Super Bowl was the best pass rush Seattle's had in two seasons.
--Gates, by the way, is the AFC's offensive player of the week for his three touchdown catches against the Seahawks.
--Columnist John McGrath wrote on today's News Tribune of his disdain for "heartless" Adrian Peterson. McGrath wrote it before the Minnesota Vikings reversed their decision to activate their star running back for this week's game and instead placed Peterson on an exempt list that bars him from anything to do with the Vikings indefinitely.
If you missed it when I posted it early Monday morning, here again are the NFL's official snap counts from the Chargers game:
OFFENSE out of 40 SNAPS
DEFENSE out of 82 SNAPS
Earl Thomas 77
Josh Thomas 1