ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Don't expect any of the Denver Broncos wide receiver to try to match words with Seattle's defensive backs, particularly outspoken cornerback Richard Sherman.
That's simply not the Broncos' style, receiver Eric Decker said Friday.
"We don't need to talk about it, we need to play about it," Decker said.
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It wasn't necessarily a shot at Sherman and any of his teammates, but it is an interesting contrast in approaches from the NFL's No. 1 offense (in Denver) and the No. 1 defense (in Seattle). While Seattle's defensive attitude was born out of a group of players who consider themselves underdogs — Sherman and starting safety Kam Chancellor, for example, were both fifth-round picks — the Broncos' skill position players pride themselves on being unselfish. In this group, a trash-talker just wouldn't fit in.
"We're a confident team and proud of what we've accomplished, but at the same time, we know we have to play 60 minutes of football, and we're pretty humble about it," Decker said.
Denver's biggest talkers are, like in Seattle, on defense, but star cornerback Champ Bailey isn't among them. He leaves that to guys in the front seven, like now-injured defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, or linebacker Wesley Woodyard.
"We're all different personalities. I don't have a problem with [Sherman's] personality. If you don't want somebody to talk, give him a reason not to. That's it. He's probably going to talk anyway, but at the same time, he is who he is. I like his game. And he's not too crazy with [talking], you guys make it a lot more crazy than it is."
Yet Broncos fans in Denver have this week tried to link Bailey and Sherman. A billboard outside a restaurant on South Broadway wrote "Seattle has a chump, we have a Champ" on its marquee. An appliance store has displayed pictures of Bailey and Sherman on its digital billboard, the word "Class" written over Bailey, and "no class" over Sherman.
There will be no such comparisons from Bailey himself, who on Friday said he's a big fan of Sherman's play.
"I noticed myself watching him a lot more this year, starting paying attention. He's a good player, does a lot of good things on the field. Every week, he's making a play that can change the game, and that's the way I see it," Bailey said.
The more intriguing match-up of course is Decker and his fellow receivers against Sherman's self-proclaimed Legion of Boom. Decker said the Broncos know that the Seahawks will be their biggest physical challenge of the season. The Broncos' skill position players are expecting plenty of man-to-man coverage, and plenty of hard hits right from the snap.
That style frustrated Denver's receivers at times this season, particularly in a late-October loss to Indianapolis, and in a November loss to New England. There were lessons in those games that can apply now, Decker said, as the Broncos are aware that opposing teams believe the best way to disrupt the Broncos' high-powered passing game is to mess up the timing between quarterback Peyton Manning and his receivers.
"You have to be physical, because these guys are going to get you at the line, they're going to get you at the top of your routes, they're going to come down and hit you, so you have to make sure you bring it to them as well," Decker said. "Seattle is a very physical team, they play in a physical conference, so it's a challenge for us to make sure we're ready to go, our energy is up."
And yes, part of the Broncos' plan against Seattle's aggressive defense will likely include using pick plays or rub plays — just like they have in previous games when they've faced man coverage like Seattle likes to play.
Seattle defensive players earlier this week sided with New England coach Bill Belichick, who told reporters on Monday that he believed Wes Welker committed "one of the worst plays I've ever seen" when Welker collided with Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib, who was injured on the play.
Welker was not penalized during the game, nor did he receive a fine from the NFL.
Welker, in his first media session of the week, declined the chance to fire back at his former coach.
"I don't really have any reaction," Welker said.
Follow Lindsay H. Jones on Twitter @bylindsayhjones
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