SAN DIEGO -- You can understand why reporters had some raised eyebrows after Brandon Mebane’s comments about his new team on Monday.
You know, that Seattle team, led by the Legion of Boom that earned consecutive trips to the Super Bowl and won it all during the 2013 season.
We’ll let Mebane explain:
“There is so much talent on this team, it’s unreal,” Mebane said about the Chargers. “I was telling guys there is more talent on this defense than there was in Seattle. If you look at the draft, you’ve got four first-round draft picks and you have five second-round draft picks all on defense.
“In Seattle, you only had two first-rounders and one second-rounder. Everybody else was pretty much down in the draft, or wasn’t drafted. So if we put it together, play together, and work on our skill, I think the sky’s the limit for this defense. It’s amazing, the skill and the talent level is there. All we’ve got to do is just believe in each other and play together.”
Mebane’s correct. Jason Verrett, Melvin Ingram, Corey Liuget and Joey Bosa were first-round selections, while Brandon Flowers, Jeremiah Attaochu, Manti Te’o, Casey Hayward and Denzel Perryman were all second-round picks.
But of course, Mebane is talking about potential, not production. The Seahawks finished No. 1 in points allowed (17.3 points a game) last season. Seattle finished in the top five in the NFL in total defense the past four years, and had a total of seven players on defense earn Pro Bowl invitations during that time.
The Chargers haven’t placed in the top 10 of the league in total defense since finishing No. 1 in 2010. And only Eric Weddle and Verrett have made the trip to the NFL’s annual all-star game in Hawaii from the defensive side of the football in the past five seasons.
But Mebane believes this year will be different. He says Bosa will develop into a Pro Bowler and Liuget into an All-Pro in future years.
Mebane joked that although Bosa’s been quiet so far while at Chargers Park, he believes the Ohio State product has a little nasty in him -- in a good way. Mebane also compared Bosa to another player he competed with while in Seattle -- Patrick Kerney.
“I think he’s more like a Patrick Kerney,” Mebane said. “He [Bosa] said he liked Mike Bennett, but I’m going to say Patrick Kerney. He’s got Patrick Kerney’s build. What Patrick play, like, 11 or 12 years? He had a great career, so that’s not a bad guy to be compared to.”
Kerney played 11 years in the league at 6-foot-5 and 272 pounds, finishing with 82.5 sacks, 20 forced fumbles and three interceptions. Mebane’s right, the Chargers would take those career numbers from Bosa.
Mebane also likes his new role in San Diego’s defense.
“Up there in Seattle, everyone pretty much figured us out to where I got more double-[teams] last year than I got pretty much any year of my career,” Mebane said. “I think here, where you have five guys on the line of scrimmage, you don’t know who comes or when they are coming. So, I like the opportunity of getting more one-on-ones. It’s going to be awesome.”