Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks ready for 'pick plays'


The Broncos have four wildly talented receiving threats and an incredible array of formations to deploy them. Peyton Manning knows the best way to beat zone coverage and knows how to beat man coverage.

Super Bowl XLVIII will provide Denver's toughest test yet: the deep, physical Seattle secondary. Seahawks safety Earl Thomas expects the Broncos to go after them with a lot of pick plays and crossing routes.

"That's how teams want to attack us now," Thomas said Thursday, via the New York Daily News. "They don't want our big corners to press or they don't want us to mess up the timing, so getting us in condensed formations ... bunch formations, but we know that. We understand how teams want to attack us. That's the beauty of it."

The Broncos have been successful running these plays all season, especially in the AFC Championship Game. (Greg Bedard wrote a terrific explanation of them recently for The MMQB.)

Seattle is better suited to defend the plays than any team in the league because its defensive backs are excellent at getting their hands on receivers to avoid getting "picked off" in the first place.

"If (Welker's) coming at me to do a pick play, I'm going to try and get around him," Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor said. "I'm going to get around him and get to my guy. If I blatantly see him, I'm not just going to run into the guy and let my guy be wide open. I'm going to go around him and get to my guy (and) be athletic."

Chancellor will be a key player to watch. Thomas, Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell all are playing so well that Manning figures to attack the middle of the field, where Chancellor, Seattle's linebackers and reserve cornerback Jeremy Lane could be bigger factors. There aren't many "mismatches" for the Broncos to exploit, so they will need to partly rely on creating space with their formations and "rubs."

The Seahawks will be expecting nothing less.

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