When it comes to the Seahawks' defensive gameplan against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, most would presume that slowing down unanimous All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski would be one of, if not the top priority.
Don't tell that to Seahawks nickel back Jeremy Lane. Asked today what makes Gronkowski so good, Lane responded that "I actually don't think he's that good. He's OK."
That, well, um, interesting.
"He does have a big body," Lane continued, "but from what I've seen on tape, he doesn't like you putting your hands on him. So if we put our hands on him and shake him up a little bit, he won't catch that many balls."
Lane expanded a bit further on the Seahawks philosophy, "that's always our key every week, putting our hands on the receivers. It's definitely an issue with [Gronkowski] from watching tape."
As with any receiver or tight end, hitting Gronkowski and delaying his release at the line of scrimmage can be an effective way to throw off his timing. However, if Lane was being honest with himself, he would know that Gronkowski is anything but a big body. He is without a doubt the most dynamic, most versatile tight end in the league. Gronk certainly will not back down from a little contact at the line of scrimmage - he has no quit.
As for a bit on Lane, the 6'0" 190lbs defensive back was drafted in the sixth round in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Northwestern-State Louisiana. He has emerged as the Seahawk's primary slot/nickel cornerback in recent weeks after landing on the short-term IR following a week one groin injury. He's a fiery, competitive player who's created some real stability at the position for the Seahawks.
Nonetheless, while Lane is a solid player and might think he's "good" if matched up in man with Gronk in the slot, he might be wise to watch his words, or he could be the next victim to be thrown out of da club.