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How the Patriots and Seahawks have changed since their last meeting

Related: Patriots will have to defend ‘every inch of the field’ against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense

Seattle Seahawks v New England Patriots Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks may have met in Super Bowl 49, but they are far from familiar opponents. Given that the two teams are playing in different conferences, they are scheduled to meet just every four years. This means that the rosters will look markedly different each time they go up against each other during the regular season.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the Patriots and Seahawks have changed since their last meeting in November 2016.

Patriots changes

The following players from the teams’ last meeting on November 13, 2016, are still with the team:

C David Andrews, LS Joe Cardona, WR Julian Edelman, CB Jonathan Jones, G Shaq Mason, S Devin McCourty, WR Matthew Slater, G Joe Thuney, RB James White

Offense: Besides the two obvious changes — Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski leaving — the Patriots also saw some additional turnover on the offensive side of the ball, especially when it comes to the downfield receiver group. Julian Edelman is still available, but the other top pass catchers from 2016 are not: Martellus Bennett, Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all left the team at one point over the last four years.

Defense: This year’s offseason has impacted the Patriots defense quite a bit: Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung opted out, Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts left in free agency, and Duron Harmon was traded. As a result, only two players remain that were part of the 2016 team as well. Others who have left since then include Trey Flowers, Rob Ninkovich and Malcolm Butler — all of whom defensive starters four years ago.

Special teams: While Joe Cardona and Matthew Slater are still in New England as core special teamers, kicker Stephen Gostkowski, punter Ryan Allen and safety Nate Ebner are no longer part of the equation. Allen left the team in 2019 after losing the training camp competition against Jake Bailey, with Gostkowski and Ebner departing earlier this year.

Coaching staff: While the likes of Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels are still running the show in New England, the rest of the coaching staff did see some turnover. The most prominent departees are long-time offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who retired this offseason and was replaced by Cole Popovich and Carmen Bricillo, as well as defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. Since Patricia’s departure in early 2018, the Patriots are operating with an official coordinator on that side of the ball.

Seahawks changes

The following players from the teams’ last meeting on November 13, 2016, are still with the team:

WR Tyler Lockett, DE Damontre Moore, DT Jarran Reed, CB Neiko Thorpe, LB Bobby Wagner, TE Luke Willson, QB Russell Wilson, LB K.J. Wright

Offense: The most important player of the Seahawks’ offense — quarterback Russell Wilson is still around to lead the attack, but much of his supporting cast from four years ago has left: Seattle will field a brand-new offensive line, a new running back group, and a wide receiver corps that is no longer headed by Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse. While the team drastically rebuilt its offense since 2016, it remains among the most potent in the NFL.

Defense: 2016 was one of the final years of the legendary “Legion of Boom” secondary, and none of its members — headed by Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor — are no longer with the organization. While players such as Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs might fill that void one day, Seattle’s secondary is no longer the best in the game. The defense as a whole, however, still features plenty of talent around starting linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.

Special teams: Only one member of Seattle’s core special teams group remains in 2020: Neiko Thorpe, who joined the team in 2016. Back then, the group still included players such as Stephen Hauschka who made four field goals when the Patriots and Seahawks went up against each other the last time. Punter Jon Ryan and long snapper Nolan Frese have also been replaced over the years.

Coaching staff: Pete Carroll, the NFL’s oldest head coach, has gone nowhere since 2016. All three of his coordinators have, however: offensive play caller Darrell Bevell’s job in now filled by Brian Schottenheimer; defensive coordinator’s Kris Richard by Ken Norton Jr, and Brian Schneider’s in the kicking game now belongs to former Patriot Larry Izzo.