It was pretty easy to see that, by the start of the 2013 NFL Playoffs, no team would enter a matchup with the Seattle Seahawks with any sort of advantage. The Super Bowl Champs capped an impressive postseason run with one of the more astonishing title game beatdowns one can remember. Their 43-8 shellacking of the Denver Broncos came weeks after one of the most entertaining Conference championship games against their division rival San Francisco 49ers. Seattle was able to use their all-world defense to frustrate two completely different styles of offenses as they gave the franchise their first championship. The Seahawks were also able to stifle a Drew Brees-led Saints offense in the division round before their epic clash with San Francisco.
As for the Eagles, among several other hypotheticals, one was left unsatisfied with their loss to New Orleans in the Wild Card round. Aside from prolonging what had been an exciting second-half to Chip Kelly’s first season as coach, the loss also prevented Eagles fans and the NFL from seeing how their offense would have stacked up against some of the NFL’s premiere defenses. Considering a win over New Orleans would have set up a matchup with the eventual Super Bowl champs in Seattle, a lot of questions about Chip Kelly’s approach would have been answered, to an extent, had that come to fruition.
In the offseason, Philadelphia plucked a special teams gem from the Seahawks in defensive back Chris Maragos. Given the performance of their defense, very little exposure was given to Seattle’s exceptional coverage teams. Maragos was one of the primary playmakers on Seattle’s coverage units and will be expected to do the same for an Eagles team that struggled mightily in that department.
Considering the bravado with which Seattle carried themselves on their march to the Super Bowl, it’s hard to imagine that any team gave that defense any level of concern. In an interview with Bleedinggreennation.com, Maragos indicated that may not have been the case.
Going back to prior to your playoff run last year, when you looked at the landscape of the six NFC teams of who made the playoffs, was there one team or a couple teams that the Seawhawks really thought were going to be real challenging?
“The Eagles. The Eagles, for sure. That was the one team we didn’t want to play. We were always talking in the locker room and we felt like, man, they’re young, they’re hungry, they’re coming on strong with what they’re doing… It was one of those deals where we were like that’s a team that, you know, it’s one of those trap teams that sneak up on you and do some great things. They’re young, talented, aggressive, and one of the teams that we thought were really dangerous.”
Even more so than the 49ers?
“Absolutely, because we knew them so well. We were looking at the Eagles going, man, this is new stuff. They’re flying around, these guys are playing fast, they’re putting up points, just a lot of energy going on around there. So that was one of the teams we didn’t quite have a good handle on.”
Credit to Brandon Gowton for landing the interview with Maragos. Definitely interesting light shed by the defensive back in regards to his former team. Aside from some of the points that Maragos hit on, there were a few glimmers of hope that, at the time, had me sharing his perspective to an extent. Though they were unable to do so, teams like the 49ers that focus so much on the run appeared to have more success than pass-heavy teams against Seattle. The Seahawks did not blitz much in 2013, but instead relied on their base defense doing enough to force teams to try to throw the ball against their secondary. Considering the Eagles were the best team in the NFL at running the football, it would have been an interesting matchup to see how the Philadelphia offensive line and LeSean McCoy could have operated against the Seattle front seven.
Maragos did a nice job of playing up the support of his new fanbase with these answers. I don’t doubt that Seattle was at least wary of what the Eagles were doing. Whether or not it was to the extent that Maragos made it seem is tough to determine. The Seahawks visit Lincoln Financial Field on December 7th for a late-season date that could potentially have serious playoff ramifications. This will be the first opportunity to see if Maragos’s comments have any sort of merit on the field.