Seahawks great Matt Hasselbeck joined Brock and Danny this morning to talk a little football, and as you'd expect, the interview was insightful and entertaining. Hass hit on some of the coaching points for playing Seattle's defense, so I thought it would be worth transcribing some of those here.
(On Manning at the line of scrimmage, changing plays)
"I think people want to talk about Peyton Manning at the line of scrimmage but there's nothing for Peyton Manning to do at the line of scrimmage. The Seahawks aren't tricking anybody. You know the two coverages they're going to play the whole day. They're kind of Pete's mantra - "Hey, we don't care about the opponent, it's all about us."
"They line up, they play Cover-1, they play Cover-3; the thing that I'd guess Peyton will study is the match ups. I mean, there is a matchup differential just from Maxwell to Thurmond to Sherman, to obviously he safeties are very very good, but they're different kind of guys. The linebackers, you could find match ups there But, it's not about coverage, it's not like he's going to be up there going, you know, "Blue 80, Blue 80 Hut-hut-hut-hut - oh, now we're going to do this, now we're going to do that!" I mean, it's going to be the same (play). I mean, he can do that as many times as he wants, it's going to be the same. The only difference will be press-man bump and run vs. press-man bail. Really, that's what they want to do - they want to bail, they want to give you flat routes all day, and just say hey, we dare you to have the patience to just dink and dunk it down the field. We'll see."
(How did Indy beat Seattle and Denver this year?)
"I think knowledge of a team really helps. Knowledge of match ups. Knowledge of how they're being coached. For us (the Colts) playing both the Broncos and the Seahawks - you know, we weren't a great team this year but we beat both of those teams.
"The people at Indianapolis - their knowledge of Peyton and his thing gave us an advantage, and then in the same way, our knowledge of Seattle of what they do, and in particular Andrew Luck and all our Stanford guys, their knowledge of Sherm.
"Richard Sherman is a great corner, but they have great knowledge of him, there is just no intimidation factor when you're playing against your buddy, and that's their buddy. So, that's where you see guys in huge, huge games, they're just out there playing ball with their friends. Like they did at recess, like they did in the front yard. Like they did in the street. You definitely saw Andrew unafraid to go right at Sherm - TY Hilton had an incredible day against Seattle, and that was a major part of it.
"Another part is just doing the little things - setting the edge, stopping the run, eliminating big plays, creating turnovers, you know, that kind of thing. I would say, knowing how to attack Richard Sherman is a big deal.
"You see people do the opposite - Colin Kaepernick lobbing a go-route to someone. You never want to lob a go-route to Richard Sherman. If you're going to throw a go-route, you better throw it on a line to the back shoulder, where he can't see it, right before he turns, off your fifth step, don't hitch, otherwise you'll be in big trouble when you hit the sideline."
(On play in mini-camp in 2010 where Earl picked him off)
"I remember that play, and I still agree with that (that quarterbacks don't know how good he is). He should not have been able to make that play - we ran four verticals from the 11-yard line, I looked right and threw it right. He broke on this thing, but here's the thing - that's how they were coaching him.
"They had Jerry Gray coaching DBs at the time and he'd yell, "Hair trigger! Hair trigger!" basically meaning, hey, we're at the 11 yard line, the first thing that the quarterback does, everybody go. I want the whole defense going with it.
"And, that is the difference with this Seattle defense - nobody does this. Inside the redzone, around the 11, 12 yard line, they play like a three-deep coverage. Or a cover-1 or a cover-3. It's crazy, no one does it. Like, you go in on a Friday, get your redzone report, and you're like "oh, what do they play, 90% two-deep shell," then you go in and watch Seattle (or Jacksonville, those are the two teams) they're like 99.9% in three-deep. So, you can't run it on them, and they're basically just banking on looking at your eyes, and Kam Chancellor's size and all that. They're doing a great job."
(Seahawks being predictable?)
"Say someone said ‘hey, you know all the Seahawks' signals, could you tell the opponent?" Yeah, but it doesn't matter. They're going to be in the same front, in the same defense, just about every time."
(Can Manning complete that seam pass?)
"It's going to be hard. The seam ball has to be completed between 18-and-22 yards. If that ball is at 22 yards, 23 yards, it's going to be an interception.
"But Peyton knows these things, so we can sit here and talk about it, but he's way ahead of it. He's a little bit anal about that stuff, so you know he's ready, you know he's got new ideas on how to do it, but physically it just takes a great throw.
"It takes a line drive ball with a tight spiral if you're going to attack them that way. Where I think they'll attack - Seattle plays so much man, and Peyton is so good at running these pick plays, and I don't know if they're borderline illegal, but they don't call it, so if you're really good at it, and they're really good at it, that's where they'll get their big plays."