FOXBOROUGH — A week ago, coach Bill Belichick lauded Champ Bailey, Denver’s 11-time Pro Bowl cornerback, as being in a class by himself. While he did not suggest there was anyone in Seattle who approached Bailey’s stature, Belichick was nonetheless impressed by the physical skill set of the Seahawks’ bigger-than-average secondary.
“They’ve got really big corners, which is unusual,” Belichick said, referring to Brandon Browner, a 6-foot-4-inch, 221-pounder from Oregon State, and Richard Sherman, a 6-3, 195-pounder from Stanford. “[Kam] Chancellor [a 6-3, 232-pounder from Virginia Tech] is a big safety, too, so they’re a big, physical team.”
The Patriots, who have the league’s leading offense at 439.4 yards per game, will be challenged on all fronts when they travel to Seattle’s noisy CenturyLink Field for Sunday’s 4:05 p.m. contest, particularly against a Seahawks defense that ranks as the stingiest in the league, allowing an average of 258.6 yards and 14.0 points (second fewest in the NFL) per game.
“These guys are long, they’re extremely big, they’re 6-4, 6-3 corners,” Belichick said. “You just don’t see them very often, and to see them on one team, they’re hard to get away from. They’re big and they’re physical and they take up a lot of space. A lot of guys aren’t used to going up against that size a player – 220-pound corners.
“There’s not a lot of them out there, so that’s a challenge because it’s a little bit unique. They’re also good tacklers and good run-support players. It’s hard because it’s not unlike playing against a taller middle linebacker, a guy like Brian Urlacher, who’s 6-4, 6-5 in the middle of the field. Their range and their height just makes those throws over the middle a little bit tougher.”