How the Seahawks’ secondary is the ‘perfect storm’ in Brady Quinn’s eyes
Brady Quinn, the former quarterback who spent seven years in the NFL, says the Seahawks have the three best players at their position: Richard Sherman at cornerback, Kam Chancellor at strong safety and Earl Thomas at free safety.
Seattle Times staff reporter
One of the first days Brady Quinn was with the Seahawks in training camp last year, he pump-faked a throw inside, then completed a pass outside against cornerback Richard Sherman.
The next time Quinn tried that, Sherman picked him off. Quinn’s takeaway: “Richard’s not going to be fooled twice,” he said.
Whatever you think of Quinn, the former quarterback who spent seven years in the NFL, he offers an interesting window into the Seahawks’ secondary. Quinn is one of the only quarterbacks to play against Seattle’s secondary as a teammate in training camp two summers ago and also prepare for them as an opponent while with the Rams last season.
Quinn said the Seahawks have the three best players at their position: Sherman at cornerback, Kam Chancellor at strong safety and Earl Thomas at free safety. He called their secondary the “perfect storm,” and there wasn’t ever a matchup in which he thought, “This is a win for us.”
The biggest challenge Seattle’s secondary presented, Quinn said, wasn’t deception. Where many defenses confound quarterbacks with trickery and deploying multiple looks, the Seahawks are vanilla.
“When you play a simple defense, one of the advantages you have as a quarterback is you feel a lot more confident knowing what you’re going to get and what you can anticipate,” Quinn said. “You can make a decision quicker. You know where to go with the football quicker. But that’s the problem: Their defense, even though they’re simple, those places where you feel like you can go with the football, there’s just no opening. Either the throwing lane is not there, or they’ve got a guy covered so well because of the talent they have.
“That’s where the simplicity of their defense works to their advantage because they’re so talented, and you can’t really utilize a lot of things you think you can going into the game because they’re just not going to be there for you.”
On Sherman: “Personally I think he could play both sides of the field and follow the best wide receivers around in the league, but that’s not what they’re asking him to do. He does a great job with his responsibilities in that defense.”
On Thomas: “He makes you change the trajectory of your go ball because he is so fast sideline-to-sideline that you can’t put as much arc on the ball. You can’t give him that much time to close on the wide receiver. You have to throw a flatter go ball, which isn’t as forgiving and makes it easier to miss some of those balls and be a little more inaccurate.”
On Chancellor: “His size and athleticism in the middle of the field, he really closes down on things quick. You usually feel like you might be able to find a hole or spot in the zone when you dump the ball down or throw one of those curl routes, but he’s right there to make a play. He eliminates a lot of those yards after catch.”
And then there’s Byron Maxwell, who has locked down his side of the field since becoming a starter near the end of last season.
The pieces in the Seahawks’ secondary fit together in such a way that they complement each other, and they don’t leave many gaps.
Thomas’ speed allows Chancellor to play closer to the line of scrimmage, which allows him to take advantage of his size in defending the run and short passes. Defensive-backs coach Kris Richard calls that combo the umbrella (Thomas) and the enforcer (Chancellor).
Thomas also eliminates some of the most common big-play throws in football: seam routes and post routes down the middle of the field.
Seattle’s corners, particularly Sherman and Maxwell, use their size to throw off the timing of receivers at the line of scrimmage while not allowing big plays on the outside — the No. 1 thing coach Pete Carroll asks of his corners.
“It’s perfect team-building,” said Louis Riddick, a former NFL defensive back and ESPN analyst. “It’s just perfect. It’s not done by accident. That’s why they are who they are, and that’s the beauty of it.”
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org