The Seahawks kick off a primetime matchup at home against the Atlanta Falcons (5-4) Monday. With so many dominant teams competing for the top seeds in the NFC, the importance of getting a win can’t be overstated – and unfortunately for the Seahawks, they’ll enter the game without some of their most recognizable stars in the secondary.
But fans needn’t hit the panic button yet.
KJ Wright, one of Seattle’s two Pro Bowl linebackers along with Bobby Wagner, joined The Huddle on 710 ESPN Seattle Thursday to talk about how he and Wagner are ready to take their game — and their leadership — to the next level as the team enters the playoff push.
If Seattle wants to get the 11 or more wins it’ll likely take to secure a No. 2 seed, they’ll need Wright and Wagner to be at their best.
“(We’re) two guys that have been doing it a long time at a high level, and so it’s on us to make sure the communication is great,” Wright said.
“(We need to make sure) the playmaking is great, we’ve got to work on that chemistry with other guys – because you lose that chemistry (when teammates are injured) – and so it’s on us to be leaders and take over, and just take our game to the next level and raise up everybody’s game around us.”
Seattle is set to play without starting cornerback Richard Sherman for the first time in six years. Safety Kam Chancellor’s status is uncertain after he suffered a stinger in Week 10. Earl Thomas missed two games with a hamstring strain, but could return this week; he was a limited participant in practice Thursday.
The Falcons’ offense – in particular receiver Julio Jones – will be the first big test for Seattle’s depth on defense. Wright knows Atlanta can cause headaches with their matchups, but he’s up for the task.
“(The receivers) definitely cause problems for the linebackers as well because they send them across the middle in the vicinity, and they do a lot of stuff to attack the hook players,” Wright said. “Same thing with (Tevin) Coleman; he’s a guy they can get vertical. I remember last year they just featured him all over the place versus Denver, he just had a field day. So, we have a lot of matchups with the running backs and the receivers… we’ve just got to be really tied into what Matt Ryan wants to do.”