Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner #54 of the Seattle Seahawks speaks to the media during Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day at the Prudential Center on January 28, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. Super Bowl XLVIII will be played between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos on February 2. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
JERSEY CITY, N.J. - The Denver Broncos, and specifically WR Wes Welker, were criticized for the "pick play" he ran in the AFC Championship game that injured New England Patriots CB Aqib Talib.
If the Broncos try to use a similar tactic against the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl, LB Bobby Wagner says they may get more than they bargained for.
Welker ran into Talib, seemingly intentionally, in order to free up a crossing receiver to make a catch. "Pick plays" are technically illegal in the NFL. However, the enforcement of such plays isn't very black and white and has room for interpretation.
"It can be illegal, legal... try to pick Kam Chancellor. See how that works out," Wagner said.
The league ruled Welker's play was legal as he connected with Talib simultaneously to the receiver catching the pass. Using "picks" is the most effective way, along with bunching receivers together, to beat tight man-to-man coverage.
Seattle will likely play man-to-man frequently against the Broncos as Manning isn't very capable of running from the pocket.
Therefore, Seattle will have to deal with many crossing routes from the Broncos looking to free up space for Denver's talented receiving corps.
"They run a lot of crossing routes but they're not going to pick us off like that," Wagner said. "We're too physical for that. We're not going to just sit there and let them pick us off. We're going to hit them."
Marshawn Lynch not wanting to be story, becomes the story anyway:
Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch isn't a fan of talking to the media. Lynch wants to let his game speak for him.
"I’m just about action," Lynch said during media day Tuesday. "You say ‘hut’ and there’s action. All the unnecessary talk, it don’t do nothing for me. I appreciate that people want to hear from me, but I just go to work and do my thing. You feel me?"
But by begrudgingly making himself available for just a few minutes at a time during required media sessions, Lynch has become the story anyway of Super Bowl week.
Lynch has answered questions from reporters for less than seven minutes each of the last two days while his teammates have been required to be available for up to an hour each day. FB Michael Robinson even answered several of the questions asked during the limited time Lynch made himself available.
The little time devoted to answering questions is purely to avoid a fine from the league.
"I really don’t have too much to say, boss. I really don’t," Lynch said Wednesday. "I appreciate it, but I don’t get it. I’m just here so I won’t get fined, boss. That’s the only reason I’m here."
Lynch signed a four-year, $31 million extension with Seattle prior to the 2012 season. Part of that contract requires him to be available to the media, something he didn't do for the entirety of the regular season. The league imposed a $50,000 fine on Lynch for not speaking at the start of the playoffs but held the fine after appeal if Lynch would cooperate going forward. If the league feels he isn't cooperating again, the $50,000 fine will be served and he will be fined at least an additional $50,000 for another offense.
Lynch has been available briefly, as required, throughout the postseason. However, while Lynch may be cooperating with the letter of the law, he certainly isn't cooperating with the spirit of it.
The way Lynch handled his media day appearance led to a complaint being filed by the Pro Football Writers Association.
The Super Bowl is the biggest stage in the NFL and the biggest stage in sports in sports in the United States. Lynch doesn't want the spotlight, but it's shining brightly anyway.
We all have aspects of our jobs we don't care for but have to do anyway. Lynch is required to be accommodating to the media and chooses to make it as difficult as possible, both on himself and the people on the other side trying to do their jobs as well.
Instead of putting on a good face for three days, Lynch has continued to be evasive. In New York, that has made him the center of attention.
Super Bowl XLVIII Injury Report for Wednesday:
Did Not Participate
DT Sione Fua (calf)
TE Joel Dreessen (knee)
DT Terrance Knighton (knee)
DT Chris Kuper (ankle)
QB Peyton Manning (ankle)
RB Knowshon Moreno (ribs)
K Matt Prater (illness)
DT Mitch Unrein (knee)
CB Kayvon Webster (thumb)
Did Not Participate
RB Marshawn Lynch (not injury related)
WR Doug Baldwin (hip)
WR Percy Harvin (concussion)
DT Brandon Mebane (ankle)