Are the Seahawks really, truly, fully back?
It sure looks like it. And they sure say so. Amazing what two wins in five days over top division rivals do.
They are playing with the same brash confidence and swarming, thudding defense they had last season while winning it all. And I was struck Thursday night in the roaring locker room by what defensive end Cliff Avril told me above the bass-pumping rap music when I asked him after his two sacks of Colin Kaepernick how much this feels like 2013 -- especially on a defense that has allowed Arizona and San Francisco three points each and a total of 368 yards combined.
Avril said this “most definitely” feels like the vibe and play of last season’s Super Bowl champions.
Or – get this -- even better.
"It’s a lot more fun than it was even last year, actually, to be honest. We're just letting it loose on defense,” Avril said. “We’re out there not caring. It’s us against the world. That’s the mentality we’ve got right now.”
“I think the biggest thing that’s changed the last two weeks is we are having fun. We trust each other.”
The players and coach Pete Carroll say that trust came from a meeting led by 10 veterans -- including Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson, Kam Chancellor and Marshawn Lynch -- last week days before the 19-3 win over Arizona. We discussed that meeting here on the blog last week, but the results this week were nothing short of season-altering.
"They’ve touched what it is, and the special attitude with intensity, the toughness that it takes and really it comes back to what they’re doing.”
Of course, this trust -- and this renewed defense -- is going to get a huge test in eight days at Philadelphia against Chip Kelly's offense.