The Seattle Seahawks played defense–no, check that–they played great defense in 2012. But even the best defenses can have their issues, and the biggest issue for the Seahawks defensively was keeping the opposition from converting on third down.
The addition of veteran DB Antoine Winfield may have just helped to solve that issue.
In an interview with ESPN, Winfield spoke of his forthcoming teammates. “They’re young, athletic and energetic. I’m excited to play with Richard (Sherman), Brandon (Browner), Kam (Chancellor) and Earl (Thomas) because they’re some of the most talented players on defense in the NFL right now.”
And Winfield just made them even more talented.
The Minnesota Vikings released Winfield last month a move to salvage some salary cap room, as he was due more than $7 million in base salary for the 2013 season. Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier had hoped to be able to re-sign the veteran defensive back.
The one-year deal between Winfield and the Seahawks is reported to be for around $3 million. Clearly a choice of teams over money for Winfield.
Winfield will more than likely see most of his playing time with the Seahawks at the nickel corner slot, effectively helping to shut down the passing game of opponents on third and long situations, where the Seahawks struggled mightily in 2012. The Seahawks allowed opponents to convert first downs 38 percent of the time on third down in 2012, 17th overall in the league, and very low by playoff team standards.
If Winfield is in the secondary against the Atlanta Falcons during their playoff game, it may have had a different outcome.
In a 14-year NFL career, Winfield has 27 interceptions and 14 forced fumbles, including a 2012 season which saw Winfield tally 83 tackles, including 11 tackles for a loss, and three interceptions.