Not that much was needed to spice up the Seahawks’ rematches this year with the Denver Broncos, but just in case, a verbal volley from Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner helped reignite the rivalry Tuesday.
During an appearance on ESPN’s “Take Two,” Wagner — at the prodding of host Stephen A. Smith — said the Broncos “looked scared” during Seattle’s 43-8 Super Bowl win. “Nobody wanted to catch the ball,” Wagner said. “Nobody wanted to come up the middle.”
Wagner referred to an early tone-setting hit by Kam Chancellor on Demaryius Thomas and said from that point on, the game turned.
“If you look at the previous games, (Denver) got a lot of balls across the middle,” Wagner said. “That first hit (Thomas) came across the middle and (Chancellor) smacked him. You didn’t really see too many balls caught across the middle (after that). They were very timid. That says a lot about our defense.”
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Wagner added that “when you go out against our defense, you really have to have your head on a swivel … everybody is coming after your head.”
Wagner was also asked about losing some defensive linemen/pass rushers and whether that would hurt the Seahawks this season. Wagner said instead that he thinks Seattle “got way better this year because we are all so young. We are all still growing.”
And asked about now being the hunted, Wagner said he wasn’t worried.
“We’ve got bullets, too,” he said.
In apparent response to Wagner’s comments, Denver defensive lineman Terrance Knighton said via Twitter: “I welcome all the Seahawks players and fans to dwell on last year. We reloading and we ready for war. “
The Seahawks open their exhibition schedule Aug. 7 at Denver, then meet the Broncos again in Week 3 of the regular season, in Seattle on Sept. 21.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @bcondotta.