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Seattle's 'Legion Of Boom' Comes To FedExField


Throughout NFL history, there are units – offensive and defensive – that have received nicknames for their play on the field.

The Redskins have "The Hogs" and "The Fun Bunch." The Pittsburgh Steelers can claim "The Steel Curtain," and the Chicago Bears are remembered for the "Monsters of the Midway." All are widely known, and all appropriately named for their on-field dominance.

As the Seahawks roll into town for Monday Night Football, they bring with them Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas – otherwise known as "The Legion of Boom."

Statistically the NFL's top pass-defense from a year ago, the defending Super Bowl champs are picking up right where they left off, ranking sixth in the NFL is pass yards allowed (747), and are allowing just 249 pass yards a game while grabbing two interceptions through the team's first three games.

"Those guys are both excellent corners and are very physical down there," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "The whole group in general, they're just a physical group. The safeties are physical, the linebackers are physical and they do a great job of reading eyes and playing their zone coverages."

The group's ringleader is fourth-year defensive back Richard Sherman, who recorded an NFL-best eight interceptions last year and, while he has yet to record one this year, the 2013 Pro Bowler does have 10 tackles.

"He is a great corner. We have a lot of respect for him," Kirk Cousins said of Sherman. "He's a guy to be aware of on the field, but at the same time you don't want to be letting it affect you too much."

Although Sherman has the ability to essentially lock down half the field with his coverage skills, Gruden is confident that his bunch of receivers is up to the task.

"Sometimes when they want to play bump and run, man-to-man, he can get up and jam people and do a great job," Gruden said of Sherman, a Stanford grad. "He's obviously a great corner, but we feel like we have good receivers and we have to go out and challenge whoever the corner is."

Over the offseason, Washington added DeSean Jackson to their receiving corps to play opposite of Pierre Garçon. With a pair of dynamic receiving talents on either side of the quarterback – along with Andre Roberts in the slot – Gruden hopes to have the perfect counter to the Seahawks' secondary.

"That's why we went out and got DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon and Andre Roberts," he said. "So hopefully those guys will be up to the challenge. We're not going to shy away from anybody, but obviously we know both corners are very good."

Having played Seattle before in a 2012 playoff game, Garçon understands what type of challenge the Redskins' offense faces on Monday.

"They're very good. They're fast. They fly around. They play physical," Garçon said. "They got a lot of help on their defense line and that definitely helps the whole scheme of the defense."

For as much credit as Seattle's secondary receives, the front seven has been just as strong this year. Ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (72.3), Seattle's defensive front is a strong group that forces teams to throw the ball, which only plays right into their own strengths.

"They're averaging giving up 2.8 yards a carry," Gruden said. "You'd think with such a great pass defense, 'Heck, let's run the ball.' But, teams are only averaging 2.8 yards a clip. So they do a great job in the run game."

Roberts, who played the Seahawks twice a year in his four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, believes that doing just that – running the ball – will be the most effective way to beat them.

"They're a physical defense," Roberts said. "I think what we have to do is control the clock like they do running the ball and not having any turnovers and we should be successful."

However the method, Washington faces quite the task in going up against Seattle on Monday night, especially when it comes to dealing with their secondary. Named The Legion of Boom for their aggressive and hard hitting style, intimidation is certainly a part of their mental game.

Garçon, however, doesn't seem too worried.

"Everybody hits hard in the NFL," he said.




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