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October 5, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright: Opponents would be ‘silly’ not to try what Denver did

The NFL, as coaches and players repeatedly say, is a copycat league.

What that means is that teams readily steal what works for others.

And in the case of the Seattle Seahawks, what that specifically means right now is that they expect opponents will try some of the same route patterns that worked so well for Denver on the final drive of the game two weeks ago.

Denver used two big passing plays to tie the game at 20 before Seattle won in overtime 26-20. Hugh Millen broke those plays down well here.

As Millen wrote, Denver’s two receivers on the left side essentially exchanged route lanes on the two plays — the slot receiver breaking outside and the outside receiver going inside, in the most simple terms. The routes created just enough hesitation and confusion in Seattle’s zone defense to allow receivers to get open for big gains.

The Seahawks say they know that since it worked well for Denver, other teams will try it, starting with Monday’s game at Washington.

“We are going to see it come Monday and we’ve got to stop it,” said Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright. “They are going to run it. They would be silly not to run it.”

Wright likened it to two years ago when the Seahawks went through a period of struggling against trap plays.

“We couldn’t stop the trap and we saw it for like three weeks straight,” he said. “We are going to see (what Denver did) until we can stop it.”

Wright took blame afterward for the Denver touchdown that tied the game, a 26-yard pass from Manning to tight end Jacob Tamme.

Wright said this week that film made it clear that “I was playing one route but they ran a completely different route.”

Asked what he needed to stop that play in the future, Wright said “anticipating it more. … better communication and anticipation is the big thing.” In particular, Wright said, on such plays the defender who initially picks up a receiver has to stay on him “until it doesn’t matter.” On the key plays against Denver, Seattle’s defenders assumed coverage from others that at times wasn’t there.

“Me and the corner,” Wright promised. “We’ll be on it.”

The Seahawks, though, were taking no chances this week, spending some time in practice working on those plays.

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said that’s simply par for the course to work on things that opponents have previously exploited.

“When a play happens, an explosive play generally, those are the ones that we have to repeat as we are going,” Quinn said.  “So those are the ones we make an big emphasis on.”

Asked what was learned specifically by what happened against Denver, Quinn said: An awareness. There were certain plays that we had up last year that were ones to attack whether it be a certain coverage. So for us, it’s really the awareness. That play is up and let’s make sure we practice it. So it’s not as uncommon as you think to say, ‘OK, this happened a couple weeks ago, and even though it’s not part of current team’s game plan, we make it part of it in terms of the way we practice it.”




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