Can Seahawks defense pass the test?
There is an excitement in the uncertainty. That becomes clear as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley begins talking about the challenge of...
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — There is an excitement in the uncertainty.
That becomes clear as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley begins talking about the challenge of facing the Green Bay Packers offense with its All Pro quarterback, litany of wide receivers and penchant for explosive plays.
"It's almost like I don't know how we'll do," he said. "I don't know. We're going to go in there, test our philosophy, see how it works, but they'll know we're there. We're going to hit 'em. We're going to hustle. We're going to be ballhawks. We're going to go for that ball.
"Our guys are saying, 'You know what, we're ready for the challenge. We're ready for the challenge. Let's go see.' "
Read Bradley's words again and then try and say you're not more than a little bit excited to see how this Seahawks defense with its tall cornerbacks and Pro Bowl safeties measures up against Aaron Rodgers and a Packers offense that led the league in scoring at 35 points per game last season.
Seattle's defense has already made an impression this season, denting Dallas last week. Now the Seahawks have a chance to make a national name for themselves with everyone across the league watching. Seattle's defense wants to be known as one of the best in the league, but that is a title that is not given, but earned in games just like this one.
"We always want to see the top talent," safety Earl Thomas said. "I think that makes us better as a secondary, and also better as a defense. If you want to be considered the best, you have to beat the best, so we're just taking that outlook."
Not that there's any other choice. Seattle is in the midst of a run through the gauntlet of some of the league's top passers. There were 10 different quarterbacks who passed for more than 4,000 yards in 2011, and Seattle is scheduled to face five of them in a seven-game span that began with last week's victory over Tony Romo and the Cowboys.
"Every week is a challenge of our philosophy," Bradley said. "We went into Dallas saying, 'OK, here's what we built on for a couple of years now, and all through (offseason) and training camp, let's see how our philosophy holds up.'
"We've got another big test this week."
And another one in Carolina with Cam Newton two weeks from now. And Tom Brady and New England at home on Oct. 14, and continuing to Matthew Stafford in Detroit on Oct. 28.
It is daunting, but there is an excitement in that challenge, too. Seattle sent three defensive players to the Pro Bowl last year as Thomas was named a starter and strong safety Kam Chancellor and cornerback Brandon Browner were injury replacements. The Seahawks finished 2011 ranked in the top 10 in yards allowed for the first time since the 1990s.
Has Seattle's defense arrived as a bona fide heavyweight contender in a league where passing totals have spiked? We're about to find out.
"Let's go play the game and see what happens," Bradley said, "And if there's things that go wrong, we'll get them fixed."
Monday's game is by no means a final examination, but it is a test, and Seattle is going to do its best to keep Green Bay from passing.
"What a great opportunity," Bradley said. "This is one of the best offenses in the league, the most explosive offense, let's go see how we do."
• Receiver Doug Baldwin's availability will be a game-time decision on Monday after he suffered a shoulder injury earlier this week, which kept him from practicing Friday and again Saturday. He is listed as questionable for the game, which indicates a 50-50 chance of playing.
"He thinks he can get right," Carroll said. "We'll have to wait and see all the way to game time."
• Cornerback Byron Maxwell is out for the game, but the rest of the Seahawks team, including tight end Zach Miller and left tackle Russell Okung, are expected to be available for normal duty.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @dannyoneil