Legion of Boom Reborn

by Kevin Nesgoda

The Seattle Seahawks have been making moves this offseason that truly shows just how serious they are about being Super Bowl contenders. There isn’t a spot on the roster where they have not tried to upgrade or add more depth to make sure they are ready for a championship run. However, the biggest jump they have made has been in their secondary. With additions of all pro safety, Jamal Adams, and arguably one of the best statistical corners in the league, Quinton Dunbar, the Seahawks made a massive jump in the defensive back department. While Seattle’s secondary now might not have all of the pieces that the original Legion of Boom possessed, they will have as good or even better talent than before.

When trying to compare a historical defense to a team that hasn’t even stepped on the field, things can get dicey. However, one thing I can say is that Seattle has brought in a group of high caliber players to emulate their success that they had between 2011-2015. While the Seahawks have always stayed competitive, they have also had huge weaknesses. So, to get started on the comparison, I wanted to start with the cornerbacks.

Corners

Looking back on the original legion of boom, Seattle had Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, and Byron Maxwell. Sherman brought a high IQ to Seattle’s cornerback group, and with his size and speed he was able to man up most of the time and essentially be on his own island. Over his time with the Seahawks he was able to cover well in one on one situations giving his safeties the ability to play with instinct and wreak havoc on opposing offenses. Brandon Browner was a CFL product that was given an opportunity to join the Seahawks 2011. The 6’4 corner was a solid role player and was able to hunker down on the right side of the defense. Byron Maxwell was the extra depth that really helped this defense and would see significant amounts of playing time, especially when Browner got suspended in the Seahawks super bowl run in 2014.

The first comparison I want to point out is the amount of depth at the corner back position. On roster, Seattle currently has ten CB. While not all of them will be there by the time the season starts just the sheer number shows how strongly they value depth at this position. If I had to pick the starting corners today however, I would say Shaquill Griffen and Quinton Dunbar, with Tre Flowers and Quadre Diggs both getting significant playing time. With time and experience we have already seen Griffen grow leaps and bounds from when he started in Seattle. This year I believe we will see him be able to lockdown receiver’s more often and turn his batted balls into interceptions. Quinton Dunbar is a tall lanky corner, that possess speed and is known for interceptions. That key factor alone was the reason why Seattle brought him in. Dunbar also fits because he excels in man coverage and his IQ/work ethic shows that he has the ability to make improvements in zone coverage. With these two running the show, quarterbacks are going to have to be able to fit the ball into some tight windows.

Safeties

Now onto the safeties. Going back to the original LOB, Seattle had the dynamic duo of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Thomas’s ball hawk tendencies made him a menace all over the field. He was able to cover a tremendous amount of territory and his stats in the interception department confirmed that. Kam Chancellor was a heavy hitting safety with above average ball skills. His ability to come down and play in the box was really the beginning of the hybrid safety era. In the grand scheme of things, I believe Chancellor would rather steam roll an opposing player than to rack up a bunch of pass breakups. I believe Seattle has tried emulate this with the addition of Jamal Adams, and returning safety Marquise Blair.

My projected starters at safety for the new era Legion of Boom, would be Jamal Adams and Marquise Blair. Jamal Adams as we know is an instant spark in the Seattle defense. He is a young player that brings a lot of different talents. Adams is built as if he could play linebacker, but has the quickness and acceleration that gives him the ability to cover the more athletic tight ends. Adams plays well downhill just like Chancellor and Thomas use to do. He also brings and interesting pass rush option which will give him the ability to rack up some sacks in Seattle’s so called “boring” defense. Marquise Blair brings that “Earl Thomas” attribute. His quick reaction gives him that ball hawk instinct while also allowing him to make plays down around the line of scrimmage. Blair is only twenty-three and had tremendous upside in the Seahawks new Legion of Boom. As the season progresses, we will be able to truly tell if we are seeing the birth of a new era for Seattle’s defense, but all signs are showing they are going to have a championship caliber team.

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