Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Seattle corners face huge test

Seattle corner Richard Sherman, middle, with an interception, says today will be a “fun matchup” against Atlanta’s receivers.

Getty Images

Seattle corner Richard Sherman, middle, with an interception, says today will be a “fun matchup” against Atlanta’s receivers.

Seattle's cornerbacks are going to have their hands full today.

At least that's the Seahawks' hope, because Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman are going to be asked to engage with, battle and frustrate Falcons receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White at the line of scrimmage.

"We're going to try and hang with them," coach Pete Carroll said.

Stand up and man up. That's what Sherman shouted on the sideline during last week's wild-card win at Washington and in the locker room afterward.

But Washington, like Seattle, is a run-oriented offense. Atlanta is part of the NFL's new era of airborne offenses. And as far as receiving tandems go, White and Jones are a pair of aces.

"Probably the most complete we've faced," Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. "I don't want to slight anybody else, but (they're) very talented."

They will be playing into the teeth of a Seahawks defense that in many ways works from the outside in. The ability of Browner and Sherman to play man-to-man coverage and the range of safety Earl Thomas over the top key the defense.

And as strong and fast as the Falcons' receivers are, the Seahawks don't intend to concede anything.

"I expect our guys to try to play like they always play," Carroll said. "They don't need to change anything."

Atlanta's Matt Ryan was one of 11 quarterbacks to throw for more than 4,000 yards this season, the second straight season he has done so. The Falcons had the fewest rushing yards of any playoff team in the regular season, yet were No. 7 in scoring overall.

They had three players catch more than 70 passes, tight end Tony Gonzalez (93), White (92) and Jones (79). Even running back Jacquizz Rodgers caught 53 passes, three more than Seattle's leader, receiver Sidney Rice.

That puts the onus squarely on the secondary. And it starts with the cornerbacks who, in a rare instance, won't have a huge size advantage.

"We're built similarly," Sherman said in reference to the Falcons' receivers.

Browner is 6 feet 4, giving him an inch on the 6-3 Jones. The 6-3 Sherman has 3 inches on White, who was a two-time high school state champion in wrestling.

"It's going to be a fun matchup because they're physical," Sherman said. "They've got two great receivers. We've got two good corners. It's going to be a fun matchup for both sides."

Said Thomas: "It just gives us an opportunity to show what we're made of."

Seattle corners face huge test 01/12/13 [Last modified: Saturday, January 12, 2013 9:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge

    Bucs

    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]
  2. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz celebrates his Trop-record 482-foot home run in the ninth inning.
  3. Rays journal: Kevin Kiermaier returns, Mallex Smith sent to Triple A

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It didn't take CF Kevin Kiermaier long to make his presence felt during his return Friday to the Rays lineup. Kiermaier pretended to have Mariners DH Nelson Cruz's first-inning line drive lined up even as the ball went past him to his right and to the wall.

    Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) flies out in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  4. Rays vs. Mariners, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    6:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    This is a 2017 photo of Jake Odorizzi of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)