It’s barely more than six months until the NFL playoffs, so it’s certainly time fans and media start predicting which NFC teams will make the post-season. ESPN’s Mark Schlereth kicks off what should be a slow week in NFL news by sorting through his picks.
Seattle fans will be delighted to hear he thinks the Seahawks will not only make the playoffs but will win the NFC West. He said he likes the way they control the line of scrimmage, and considers Cliff Avril a good addition. He listed Atlanta, San Francisco, Green Bay, Washington and New Orleans as the others.
The Giants, Cowboys, Bears and Vikings, he predicted, will be on the outside this year.
As a preface, Schlereth cited the “bad blood” between the Seahawks and Niners, with cornerbacks “calling out head coaches.” In a small upset, it wasn’t the voluble Richard Sherman, but Brandon Browner. Schlereth's reference was to a brief comment Browner made last week with KJR’s Dave Mahler.
Browner was asked about Harbaugh’s earlier comments about PED suspensions (“If you cheat to win, you’ve already lost”). Although Harbaugh did not directly mention the Seahawks, the target was clear. Browner said he hadn’t heard Harbaugh’s comments. When synopsized for him, he downplayed it as irrelevant because Harbaugh is not going to be on the field. He might have stopped there, but added that if Harbaugh did happen to be out there, he’d put his “hands around his neck.”
While Browner’s been penalized for illegal contact before, I'm fairly certain the league frowns upon the choking of an opposing head coach. In fairness, Browner said nothing about squeezing his hands once they were on his neck. In context, it wasn’t such a provocative comment, but the fact that it’s generated national attention is evidence this rivalry is being watched well beyond the West Coast.
Clare Farnsworth at Seahawks.com has a fun story about the four Seahawks who carry the names of their grandfathers and fathers. Test yourself, try to name them.
Earl Thomas III, Walter Thurmond III, Golden Tate III and Percy Harvin III. The first three were drafted in 2010. Farnsworth points out the league’s changing stance on allowing the III on a game-day jersey. “… the arrival of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III last season changed all that.” Thomas plans to have Thomas III on his jersey this season. (Although his hair mostly obscures his name as it is).