Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley talked to reporters in a weekly chat with him today.
As well as quarterback Brett Favre is playing, with 17 touchdowns to just three interceptions, Bradley said it still comes down to stopping Minnesota’s running game first.
“I think a big part of it is he has such a great running game,” Bradley said about Favre’s success in Minnesota. “And I think it forces people to deal with it, and that opens up the passing game for them.”
As far as containing Minnesota’s explosive running back Adrian Peterson, Bradley said it will be even more important for his defense to maintain gap integrity, particularly on the edges to make sure Peterson doesn’t get outside or cutback in order to use his speed in open space.
Further, Bradley said it’s important for Seattle’s defense to rally to the ball.
“We’ve got to get 11 hats to the ball, there’s no doubt about that this week,” he said. “I mean that’s our goal every week, but with guy now, you’ve got to have it.”
In terms of pressure and whether Seattle will blitz or not, Bradley said Favre is similar to Kurt Warner in he can make you pay if teams blitz, so the important thing will be for the Seahawks to mix things up defensively.
“I think just change-ups,” Bradley said. “You know, you give him a look that maybe he’s not accustomed to, and maybe hasn’t seen from you before. They study all the pressure you have and different packages that you have. But I think you’ve just got to change it up on them and give them a different look.
“And then we’ve got to get pressure if we’re rushing four. We’ve got to get pressure with those guys, because how long can you hold the look. And how long can you play your zone. And he does a great job of pump faking. He’ll pump fake to kind of get zones to cheat one way or another, then he’ll come back against the grain, just like Peterson does in running, he’ll do that in the passing game as well.”
Bradley said against Arizona last week the Seahawks wanted to improve defensively on third down in order to get the ball to the offense. The Seahawks accomplished that, holding the Cardinals to 2-of-12 (17 percent) on third down. The problem Seattle had is the Cardinals’ big plays came on first and second down.
“The third down package that we came up with and put together we thought it was pretty effective for getting us off the field,” Bradley said.
Bradley also said the team ran a lot of nickel and dime packages against Arizona because the Cardinals ran a lot of four-receiver sets, so that’s not necessarily a trend that the Seahawks will use more in the future.
However, Bradley said he likes the way Lawyer Milloy has played in those situations, and will continue to work the veteran safety into different packages so they can get him on the field.
“He was flying around,” Bradley said about Milloy’s play. “You could see his explosiveness, and some of the hits he had. He just has a great awareness. … He’s gradually getting in more in passing situations, and now with the run, with some sets now you’re going to see him play more. So yeah, he’ll definitely be more involved.”
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said the incident between he and Arizona defensive tackle Darnell Dockett was resolved on the field.
“We talked,” Hasselbeck said. “I brought it up to him. I said, ‘Hey man, what was that all about?’ And he apologized and said he didn’t realize he had done it. Stuff like that happens from time to time unfortunately. I’m going to try and stay out of piles – the bottom of piles anyway. It’s a bad place to be.”
Hasselbeck said the elbow to the throat affected him for just a short period of time.
Asked if he experienced anything like that before, Hasselbeck said not in that area.
“Other places, dark places,” he joked. “The Baltimore game comes to mind. It was fourth and 1, it wasn’t good.”
Hasselbeck said the Baltimore player in question is hurt right now with a knee injury. A cursory look at the Baltimore Ravens’ injury report brings Terrell Suggs' name to the surface. The Seahawks played Baltimore in 2003 and 2007, so I’m not sure which game the play in question took place.
“I think it was him, but I’m not really sure,” Hasselbeck went on. “That’s the thing, you never really know who it is.”
It’s also Seahawks head coach Jim Mora’s birthday today. He turns 48 today. The players sang happy birthday to him.
Here’s the injury report
For Seattle, RB Julius Jones was out.
DT Craig Terrill (shoulder) and CB Josh Wilson (concussion) did not participate.
C Chris Spencer (thumb/back) was a limited participant.
And CB Marcus Trufant (concussion) was a full participant.
For Minnesota, WR Bernard Berrian (hamstring), CB Benny Sapp (groin), FB Naufahu Tahi (ankle), CB Antoine Winfield (foot), QB Brett Favre (groin/hip), CB Karl Paymah (ankle) were limited participants.
LB E.J. Henderson (knee) was a full participant.