The Seattle Seahawks defense enters the 2012 season with high expectations. A top-10 unit in 2011 that placed three defensive backs in the Pro Bowl has been bolstered with first-round pick Bruce Irvin, who posted nearly a sack per game in college, and a deep defensive line that retained Red Bryant and added Jason Jones.
Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley hopes that an offseason for the younger players on the unit to become more familiar with the system will help the defense play fast and physical this season.
"I hope very physical," Bradley said on "The Brock & Salk Show" on 710 ESPN Seattle. "We've got some guys that really pride themselves on that. On our defensive line, guys like Red, (Brandon) Mebane, and then, when you look at our secondary, too, Kam Chancellor, (a) 228-pound strong safety that's very physical in nature. And then our linebackers. Leroy Hill is a physical player. So I think that's the mentality we're constantly building and I think we'll play more physical with a better understanding we have of our concepts."
The Seahawks' schedule will have them facing three of the top four passing offenses in the NFL from a season ago, as well as the Carolina Panthers, who have 2011 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Cam Newton under center. Asked how one prepares to face quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Newton, three quarterbacks who have caused opposing defensive coordinators to sing "Moon River" like Chevy Chase in Fletch, Bradley referenced the medical procedure he underwent on Friday morning.
"You know what, you go in -- this morning I had a colonoscopy. And then right after the colonoscopy, you get up in the office and you watch more tape," Bradley said before bursting into laughter. When asked which is tougher: the colonoscopy or watching tape of those quarterbacks, Bradley wasn't sure.
"Ooh man, that's a good one," said Bradley. "Those guys create quite a challenge. And our division is quite a challenge. We're so excited for it. Our guys are so pumped up for the challenge and we could really see that in OTAs and minicamps. They are truly an enthusiastic bunch that looks forward to this challenge and it can't come fast enough."