BY Adam Lewis 07:45PM 12/04/2014

Seahawks think they’re ready for Eagles’ speed

Eagles running backs LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles pace a Philadelphia offense that has one speed, thanks to coach Chip Kelly.

A swarming Seahawks defense faces what could be its toughest test of the season Sunday in Philadelphia. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

RENTON – Recognizing that more NFL teams are transitioning to up-tempo offenses, Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn did what adept coaches do: Adjust.

“We didn’t get in a defensive huddle the whole training camp, knowing that there are teams we’d have to be ready for,” Quinn said Thursday. “Not necessarily just Philadelphia, but teams that we are going to play this year.”

Preparation for defending against a fast pace actually began in OTA’s, according to Quinn. Through three quarters of the regular season, it’s proven effective. Facing the Green Bay Packers in the opener, the Seahawks held in check QB Aaron Rodgers, a frontrunner for NFL MVP, in a 36-16 win. In Week 3, Seattle topped the Denver Broncos’ no-huddle scheme led by QB Peyton Manning, 26-20 in overtime, a little more than seven months after blowing out the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

But Seattle’s defense, ranked third in the NFL in points allowed  (18.4 per game), will receive perhaps the greatest test of endurance when it squares off with the 9-3 Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field (1:25 p.m. PT, FOX).

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll didn’t seem worried Wednesday.

“We’ve been in the no-huddle defensive mode for so long that we’re familiar with how this goes,” Carroll said. “We’re not concerned about that, really. We practice like that all the time.”

Said CB Richard Sherman:

“It doesn’t change anything for us. We’ve dealt with tempo for a couple of years now. We’ve dealt with the Patriots’ tempo, Denver a few times with their tempo. It doesn’t change a thing for us. We play disciplined, sound football. It gives you more opportunities.”

Perhaps SS Kam Chancellor described best the way to stop Chip Kelly’s attack. The coach implemented it to near perfection at Oregon before making the jump to the NFL.

“Know your fits, and make your hits,” Chancellor said.

Seattle will need to at least slow down Philadelphia RB LeSean McCoy, the league’s third-leading rusher with 1,018 yards. An explosive, shifty runner, McCoy has drawn comparisons to Kansas City RB Jamaal Charles for his ability to cut back and bounce a run to the outside. It was Charles who torched the Seahawks for 159 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in Seattle’s Nov. 16 loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Eagles; No. 2 running back is a similarly-fleet footed Darren Sproles.

“You’re going to see some shaking and baking from those guys in this game,” Carroll said of McCoy and Sproles.

Along with WR Jeremy Maclin, the pair pose perhaps the biggest threat to disrupting a Seahawks defense that has allowed a combined six points in the past two games after MLB Bobby Wagner returned from a foot injury. SS Kam Chancellor in recent weeks also appears closer to 100 percent after offseason hip surgery and assorted injuries plagued much of his season.

In turn, the Seahawks, after a 3-3 start, have won five of their last six to improve to 8-4 with four games left in the regular season. They trail the fading Cardinals by one game in the NFC West, with a Dec. 21 matchup looming against Arizona at University of Phoenix Stadium. That could potentially decide the division champion.

First, they must hold down Kelly’s offense.

“We understand they have to deal with us as much as we have to deal with them,” Sherman said. “It’s not like they’re any less human than we are.”


CB Jeremy Lane (glute) and tight end Cooper Helfet (ankle) didn’t participate in Thursday’s soggy, cold outdoor practice . . . DE/DT Michael Bennett was also held out, though he’s often sat out practices because of a bothersome toe this season and has yet to miss a game . . .  C Max Unger (ankle/knee) didn’t practice and isn’t expected back until the Dec. 14 game against San Francisco, at the earliest . . . Limited Thursday were Byron Maxwell (shin) and Marshawn Lynch (back).



  • jafabian

    Going into the Super Bowl I was confident the Hawks would win because I learned under Chuck Knox (it was drilled into me with numerous Knoxisms) that football is won in the trenches and that defense wins games. This matchup is similar to the SB because the Eagles have a solid offenise, ranking fourth in the NFL but have issues on defense, ranking 24th. Meanwhile the Hawks have pulled themselves up to rank 13th in offense, lead the league in rushing and are tops in defense. If Wilson can match his output of last week they’ll be on track for a win.

    Only issue could be taking Sanchez lightly since he’s the backup QB playing in place of Nick Foles. If the D-Line gets to him early he’ll be looking over his shoulder the whole game. The Eagles have played a favorable schedule this season and haven’t faced a defense close to what the Hawks have.

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    • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

      Your point is well taken and something I have been contemplating since my gaze turned towards this game directly after that well earned win in Santa Clara in which Russ and Sherm had their feast on the 49ers logo.
      The Eagles REALLY do mirror the Broncos SB Squad in that lets slap 40 points on em boys mentality. Most of the time 40points in the NFL is certain Victory.
      Problem for the Eagles (and Denver’s Demise) is that they are not comparing the SEA~D to former great defenses of the past for nothing. They havent given up 40.
      In fact in the last 3 seasons they have only rendered 34points once in a 6point road loss to the colts in which for 3 qtrs it looked like that win was in the bag. So its an aberration. They rendered an unusual 30 twice this season before the Harvin implosion ran its course. When Seattle loses its generally very close with thier chances in the 4th qtr to snatch that victory from the fortunate winner. No opponent went over 30 in 2012. Our offense was lights out at the end of that season scoring 50 in Buffalo(Toronto) and a 58~0 drubbing to the Cards at home as 2 examples.
      My point is its almost a bats chance in Hell that Philly runs 40 on them sunday since their D is stout and should they rattle Sanchize like the Hawks did Kaep as I expect? Look for Sherman’s pick total to perhaps double cuz you KNOW Rich is wanting to get his numbers up~there’s only 4 more games to go in the season for crying out loud.
      Heres to the Hawks having a similar day like that 50~17 drubbing against the Bills which was in mid December also with the Hawks having aspirations of a division title chasing the 49ers. Go Hawks!

      • art thiel

        The key is Carroll had extra time to plan for Kelly.

    • art thiel

      No danger of taking him lightly, but they know they can get to him physically and psychologically.