Legion of Boom

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  • liny195
    November 20, 2019 at 10:29 pm #2328

    DENVER (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks‘ “Legion of Boom” blew up with Kam Chancellor’s neck injury and Richard Sherman’s exit. The Denver Broncos‘ “No Fly Zone” was grounded by Aqib Talib’s trade and T.J. Ward’s departure.Not so fast Shaquem Griffin Color Rush Jersey , insist the holdovers.These two teams may not have the star power in their respective secondaries that they’ve boasted in years past, but they still have formidable, youth-infused defensive backfields expected to play leading roles in 2018.When Talib was traded to the Rams this spring, he suggested the “No Fly Zone” no longer existed.Nonsense, retorted cornerback Chris Harris Jr.“I started the ‘No Fly Zone,’ so it’s going to always be here,” said Harris, who has some new co-pilots in cornerbacks Tramaine Brock, Adam Jones and Isaac Yiadom backing up Talib’s replacement, Bradley Roby.At safety, the Broncos had hoped to add some pop to go with Darian Stewart’s heady play, and they acquired Su’a Cravens from Washington. But he’s on IR with a sore left knee, leaving Will Parks and Dymonte Thomas to step up.Behind Sherman’s swagger, Seattle’s secondary became a catchphrase across the NFL. The “Legion of Boom” was so well known the names of Sherman, Chancellor and Earl Thomas were always associated with that moniker.Not anymore.Sherman is now with division rival San Francisco. Chancellor’s career is likely over after a neck injury suffered last season. Thomas is still around but he only returned to the team on Wednesday after a holdout that produced neither the contract extension nor the trade he hoped for.Broncos coach Vance Joseph doesn’t see much difference on film, however.“That defense is more of a culture than it is a certain player,” Joseph said. “They play hard, they play fast and that’s what coach (Pete) Carroll brought there five or six years ago. As I watch the tape this year, it’s different names and numbers, but it’s the same personalities. It’s Seattle. It looks like Seattle.”If Thomas plays Sunday, it will likely be on a limited “pitch count” as Carroll described it.Otherwise, Seattle’s secondary features Shaquill Griffin and Dontae Johnson at cornerbacks, Bradley McDougald at strong safety and some combination of Thomas and Tedric Thompson at free safety.Not quite “Boom” worthy just yet.Griffin is on his way to being Seattle’s next secondary star. He showed the skill last year as a rookie playing oppositeSherman and may eventually take over as the leader of the unit. Johnson was a starter last year in San Francisco, and McDougald may be one of Seattle’s most versatile players with the ability to bounce between both strong safety and free safety.“It’s very reassuring Earl is back,” McDougald said. “I’m happy he’s here and I’m ready to get to work.”Other subplots as the Broncos try to extend the NFL’s longest active winning streak in openers to seven:STATING HIS CASE: QB Case Keenum , trying to help the Broncos avoid their first back-to-back losing seasons since 1971-72, figures his Denver debut got a little bit harder with Thomas ending his holdout.He praised Thomas as one of the best safeties he’s ever faced, insisted, “he can do some things on film that nobody else can do.”That said, Keenum likes his teammates and his chances.“I’ve got a lot of respect for 29,” Keenum said. “But we trust our guys running routes and catching the ball versus anybody out there.”SHAQUEM STARTS: Shaquill Griffin’s twin brother, rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin, is expected to start against the Broncos with K.J. Wright out following minor knee surgery. It’s another chapter in the remarkable story of Griffin Bradley McDougald Color Rush Jersey , who had his left hand amputated as a child. While Griffin is a superior athlete, he is undersized for the position and will be challenged both in the run game and trying to defend bigger tight ends Jeff Heuerman and Jake Butt.HONORING T.D.: Royce Freeman is set to become the first rookie running back to start Week 1 for the Broncos since Hall of Famer Terrell Davis in 1995. Fellow rookie and local hero Phillip Lindsay, who starred at the University of Colorado, got Davis’ blessing to rock his No. 30 jersey .“As a running back, it’s special to be able to wear T.D.’s number,” Lindsay said.COLORADO CONNECTION: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was once a farmhand of the Colorado Rockies, who drafted him a day before his father died in 2010. “I’m very, very grateful for the Colorado Rockies organization and what they did for me and just gave me a chance and allowed me to take my mind off of my dad, who was my best friend. I’ll never forget that,” Wilson said.The New York Yankees now hold Wilson’s baseball rights, and while he’s got a great gig now, “I think I’d look pretty good in them, wearing the pinstripes,” Wilson said. “When you put on a Yankee uniform, they say you become immortal.” LOS ANGELES RAMS (11-6)OPEN CAMP: July 26, UC Irvine, Irvine, CaliforniaLAST YEAR: Coach Sean McVay led one of most remarkable single-season transformations in recent NFL history. Rams ended their streaks of 12 consecutive non-playoff seasons and 13 straight non-winning seasons with rampage to first NFC West title since 2003. Franchise with NFL’s worst offense in 2016 became league’s highest-scoring team, racking up 478 points after scoring 224 in previous year. Quarterback Jared Goff emerged as solid starter in second season, and running back Todd Gurley was NFL’s top offensive player with relentless year. Coordinator Wade Phillips’ defense also took quantum leap, with NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald leading makeover into versatile, hard-nosed group. Despite tepid home playoff loss to Atlanta, Rams captured city’s attention in second year back in LA, shrugging off competition from relocated Chargers.IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: DT Ndamukong Suh, CB Marcus Peters, CB Aqib Talib, WR Brandin Cooks.IMPORTANT LOSSES: LB Robert Quinn, CB Trumaine Johnson, LB Alec Ogletree, WR Sammy Watkins, WR Tavon Austin, LB Connor Barwin, offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur.CAMP NEEDS: Donald skipped all of last season’s training camp Brett Hundley Color Rush Jersey , and is likely to hold out again while he attempts to land one of biggest contracts in NFL history. His absence didn’t hurt much last season, but every day he waits to begin partnership with Suh is missed opportunity. Rams acquired four elite veteran talents in offseason, and they all must connect with teammates quickly. Defense must adjust to styles of Talib and Peters, its two new aggressive cornerbacks. New starting middle linebacker must be chosen after Ogletree’s cap-related departure, with Cory Littleton likely to get first shot. Goff and Cooks must build chemistry to keep McVay’s high-octane passing game in top form.EXPECTATIONS: Rams all-in on pursuit of first Super Bowl berth since the 2001 season, and have talent to get there. They’ve brought back almost every important part of last season’s excellent offense, and added three game-breaking stars to defense. Even if they still haven’t written gargantuan check necessary to make Donald happy, Rams intend to contend for championships for next several years, starting now.—SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (9-7)OPEN CAMP: July 26, Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Renton, WashingtonLAST YEAR: Seattle missed postseason for first time since 2011 and injuries and depth issues caught up with aging core. Once-vaunted defense took significant step back and offense that had been best at running was downright dreadful. Seattle had one rushing TD last year by running back and QB Russell Wilson again spent large portions running for his safety. That Seattle won nine games and was in playoff conversation into late December was remarkable.IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Rookie RB Rashaad Penny, WR Brandon Marshall, WR Jaron Brown, TE Ed Dickson, OL D.J. Fluker, DT Tom Johnson, DT Shamar Stephen, rookie DE Rasheem Green, LB Barkevious Mingo, rookie LB/DB Shaquem Griffin, K Sebastian Janikowski, K Jason Myers, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, offensive line coach Mike Solari, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.IMPORTANT LOSSES: RB Eddie Lacy, WR Paul Richardson, TE Jimmy Graham, OL Luke Joeckel, DE Cliff Avril, DE Michael Bennett, SS Kam Chancellor, CB Richard Sherman Richard Sherman Color Rush Jersey , offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, offensive line coach Tom Cable, defensive coordinator Kris Richard.CAMP NEEDS: Happy Earl Thomas is good place to start. Thomas held out from offseason activities and has said he will not take part in team functions until contract situation is addressed. Thomas’ deal expires after season. Who will be Seattle’s No. 2 wide receiver? Tyler Lockett, now fully healthy after broken leg suffered late in 2016? Veteran Brandon Marshall after injury-filled 2017? Seattle must also find pass rush after departures of Bennett and Avril. Frank Clark can’t do it alone.EXPECTATIONS: Different than they’ve been since first couple years of Pete Carroll’s tenure. Seattle clearly decided to refresh locker room this offseason. Gone are big personalities of Sherman and Bennett. Also gone: lots of talent, a void that may not be filled immediately. There is optimism about Seattle’s rookie class, but for first time since 2013 Seahawks don’t go into season as one of favorite.—ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-8)OPEN CAMP: July 27, Glendale, ArizonaLAST YEAR: Cardinals dealt with myriad injuries but managed to pull out win in Seattle in finale to finish 8-8 in coach Bruce Arians’ final game. He announced retirement next day. Arians finished with franchise-record 50 wins, but his teams failed to make playoffs in last two years. QB Carson Palmer, after another season shortened by injury, also announced retirement. 8-8 record came despite loss of standout running back David Johnson when he dislocated wrist in opener. It was another standout year for Larry Fitzgerald: In 14th NFL season, he finished second in league in receptions with 102. Outside linebacker Chandler Jones led NFL with 16 sacks.IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Coach Steve Wilks, QB Sam Bradford, QB Josh Rosen, QB Mike Glennon, RT Andre Smith, RG Justin Pugh, WR Brice Butler, WR Christian Kirk, CB Jamar Taylor, RB Chase Edmonds.IMPORTANT LOSSES: Arians, Palmer, S Tyrann Mathieu, WR John Brown, WR Jaron Brown, QB Drew Stanton, OT Jared Veldheer, CB Justin Bethel, OG Alex Boone, DT Frostee Rucker, ILB Karlos Dansby, DT Josh Mauro, TE Troy Niklas Duane Brown Color Rush Jersey , OT Earl Watford.CAMP NEEDS: With new coach and new systems on offense, defense and special teams, plenty for Cardinals to work on once they don pads. While most practices will be held in air conditioned comfort of University of Phoenix Stadium, Wilks says he wants some workouts outside in sweltering Arizona summer heat. There will be several important position battles, including for No. 2 receiver spot behind Fitzgerald. There’s also intrigue at quarterback, where Rosen has drawn praise as Cardinals bring along Bradford slowly after last year’s knee injury. Rosen will try to unseat Glennon as backup. Wilks and new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy want much of offense built around dynamic Johnson, who led NFL in yards from scrimmage two seasons ago. But Johnson skipped mandatory minicamp in contract dispute. Wilks also has cut camp shorter, ending it on Aug. 13 – just after second preseason game – and moving back to practice facilities.EXPECTATIONS: Outside of Cardinals organization, expectations aren’t high. Many early forecasts have them finishing last in the NFC West. But Wilks has impressed players with his system and he says team has cornerstones of great players – Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Johnson and maybe Bradford – to build winning team. Preseason games will be particularly interesting as Rosen is likely to get extensive playing time.—SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (6-10)OPEN CAMP: July 25, Santa Clara, CaliforniaLAST YEAR: Coach Kyle Shanahan’s first year with San Francisco was tale of two seasons. 49ers lost first nine games – including record five straight by three points or fewer. But San Francisco posted most dramatic in-season turnaround in NFL history by winning final five games after putting midseason acquisition Jimmy Garoppolo in as starting quarterback.IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: CB Richard Sherman, RB Jerick McKinnon, C Weston Richburg, LB Jeremiah Attaochu, G Jonathan Cooper, LB Korey Toomer, T Mike McGlinchey, WR Dante Pettis, LB Fred Warner.IMPORTANT LOSSES: RB Carlos Hyde, S Eric Reid, CB Dontae Johnson, DE Elvis Dumervil, C Daniel Kilgore, T Trent Brown, G Brandon Fusco,CAMP NEEDS: Biggest question marks are at cornerback and pass rusher. Sherman was signed after being cut loose by Seattle and is working his way back from Achilles tendon injury. He is no longer elite shutdown cornerback but is being counted on by Niners. Ahkello Witherspoon showed promise as rookie but will need to step up if San Francisco will have top-flight defense. 49ers were unable to make major upgrades to pass rush in free agency or draft and are hoping for better production from last year’s first-round pick Solomon Thomas, as well as free-agent acquisition Attaochu.EXPECTATIONS: Full season of Garoppolo has created high hopes in San Francisco for franchise that has second-fewest wins in NFL in past three seasons with 13. Garoppolo is undefeated in seven starts as pro and earned $137.5 million contract in offseason based on his strong play after trade from New England. Garoppolo won’t be able to get San Francisco back to playoffs for first time since 2013 on his own. He will need to find go-to receiver, hope McKinnon thrives as featured back, and defense led by emerging star tackle DeForest Buckner improves.—

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