James Dudko looks at how the Patriots could be seeking to emulate Super Bowl champions Seattle Seahawks via their moves in NFL Free Agency.
If it works for the Seattle Seahawks, it can work for the New England Patriots. The Seahawks won last season’s Super Bowl with a fearsome secondary dubbed the “Legion of Boom.”
The Patriots are forming their own Legion after signing ex-Seahawk Brandon Browner to pair with the recently acquired Darrelle Revis.
The deal for Browner was reported by NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2014
Browner has joined on a three-year deal, per Rapoport:
If you’re curious: Browner told friends he had a 2-year, $10M deal last night. Thanks maybe to today’s shenanigans, it became 3 years, $17M
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 15, 2014
Despite the four-game suspension he will serve for repeated substance-abuse violations, Browner is worth the money for the Patriots.
Revis and Browner will form perhaps the most intimidating coverage tandem in the NFL. Both are noted for the way they rough up receivers at the line.
Browner is famous for being the largest cornerback in football. The 6’4″, 221-pounder uses his towering frame to hit receivers early and pin them to the sideline.
With Revis and Browner locking down the outside, Pats head coach Bill Belichick can rely on clogging the middle of the field. He can also feel comfortable calling more blitzes.
Bump and run coverage and sending extra rushers after quarterbacks has been a trend for the New England defense in recent seasons.
Size in the secondary has been a league-wide trend most successfully endorsed by the Seahawks. Now every other NFL team wants to follow suit.
But the Patriots have extra motivation for replicating Seattle’s Legion. They saw how emphatically the Seahawks’ physical, press-based secondary shut down the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Seattle limited Peyton Manning and an offense that set an NFL record with 606 points, to just eight. Manning completed only 34 of his 49 passes for 280 yards. He was limited to a mere 5.7 yards per pass, mostly because his receivers couldn’t escape Seattle’s press tactics and stretch the field.
Belichick knows if the Patriots are going to win the AFC and get back to a Super Bowl, they are going to have to go through the Broncos.
They couldn’t do it last season when Denver swept Belichick’s team aside in the conference title game. The key was an injury to lengthy press corner Aqib Talib, now a member of the Broncos.
Without Talib’s physical presence on the outside, the New England defense couldn’t lock down Manning’s receivers. Now Belichick has two weapons to stifle Manning’s offense the way the Seahawks did.
If the East Coast version of the “Legion of Boom” works half as well as it did in Seattle, the Patriots will be in title game again.