Mike Ferreri: The Seahawks and the bye week payoff

Mike Ferreri: The Seahawks and the bye week payoff
Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman says the team's formidable defense is using its bye week to get even better.
When it comes to the NFL playoffs, bye weeks are a luxury and the Seahawks are making the most of theirs this week.

After a few days off to recover from the final regular season game of the year against the Rams, the Seahawks were back on the practice field Thursday afternoon at the VMAC in Renton. They don't know which team they'll face in the Divisional round but that didn't matter - the Seahawks were focused solely on getting better as a team.

"For us, this week has really been focused on what we can do for our football team," said Russell Wilson after practice Thursday. "How can we improve our offense, how can we improve our defense, our special teams."

The bye week is offering the Seahawks a chance to "self-scout" - critique themselves and work on all the little things that will make a difference when it comes time to start their playoff run.

Thursday there was no scout team to face from this week's opposition, another luxury of the bye week. It was the Seahawks offense against the Seahawks defense.

Certainly that is one way to get better for Russell Wilson.

"To be able to go 1's versus 1's the whole entire day is always a good thing," he says. "Our defense is really good, and to go against them is really good for me, too; to go against our DB's and what they're seeing. Earl Thomas back there talking trash - so you get excited about that."

The Seahawks had the top-ranked defense in the NFC, ranking first in points allowed per game (14.4) and yards allowed per game (273.6).

Richard Sherman leads the NFL with 8 interceptions. Regardless, Sherman said Thursday the Seahawks defense was using this week to get even better.

"You use this week to relax and get your body right. Then you got practice, self-scout, evaluate, look at your game, see what you can do better, see what you have been having trouble with and you really get to work on your technique."

As for who he'd like to face in the divisional round of the playoffs - the 49ers, the Packers or the Saints - Sherman didn't have a preference.

"We'll play whoever comes. Good luck to everybody. They'll have a good time, but they're gonna have to deal with us when they get here," he said.

When one of those teams does get to CenturyLink Field, they'll face a defense that does nothing fancy or outrageous - they just attack and make the day miserable for opposing teams.

"Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn's motto is, 'You're gonna have to deal with us,'" said Sherman. "You're gonna know exactly what call we're in, exactly what defense we're in - and then we're gonna win."

The one concern with a bye week for teams is a letdown. Too long between games can be problematic as some teams lose their edge and then have to find it in a hurry. Following Thursday's practice Sherman wasn't worried about his team getting too relaxed.

"Once you get to a certain point in the season you get a certain rhythm, and I think we're starting to catch our stride and catch our rhythm and everyone is on the same page," he said.

"Chemistry-wise, our D-line is playing unbelievably, our linebackers are playing unbelievably. It's getting to the point where we really want it. Everybody's getting healthy, it's actually a great thing for our team."

... And a terrible thing for any team that has to come to Seattle for a playoff game.