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Manning responds after Sherman calls his passes 'ducks'

Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks speaks to

Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks speaks to the media. (Jan. 29, 2014) Credit: Getty Images

JERSEY CITY - It took almost a week, but the Seahawks finally started quacking.

After four days of little more than praise and homage for Peyton Manning and the Broncos that tiptoed the line between respect and reverence, the Seahawks couldn't hold their false modesty any longer. In their final media availability of the week, several players finally began talking with the bravado and bluster for which they had become known.

That included a comment by trash-talker-in-chief Richard Sherman that sat in the weeds for a few weeks. In a Jan. 3 column for Sports Illustrated's, Sherman praised Manning's intelligence but added: "His passes will be accurate and on time, but he throws ducks.''

Sherman spun those words as a compliment yesterday, saying he meant that Manning's passes are not always as pretty as they are effective. He went so far as to completely agree with Manning's interpretation of the remark.

"I do throw ducks,'' Manning said. "I throw a lot of yards and touchdowns [on] ducks, so I'm actually quite proud of it.''

Now that we've all agreed on that matter, the Seahawks suddenly cranked up the volume of rhetoric on what Pete Carroll promised would be "a rockin' day'' for his team. With Super Bowl XLVIII suddenly three days away, the Seahawks got their motormouths running.

"I don't envision us losing,'' defensive end Michael Bennett said.

"Every game I go into I have the utmost confidence we're going to win,'' safety Earl Thomas said. "And this is just like all those other games.''

Bobby Wagner even went so far as to challenge Manning. As the middle linebacker, it will be his job to adjust the calls based on what the Broncos show at the line of scrimmage and try to keep up with all of the last-second directions and changes that Manning famously makes. But Wagner said he expects to be one step ahead.

"They're going to have to keep up with us,'' he said.

Asked if Manning has ever seen a defense the caliber of Seattle's during his long and illustrious career, Thomas said: "I don't think he has.''

That's a long way from the restrained conversations the previous few days. Just 24 hours earlier, Seahawks linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. was talking about Manning as if there was no way he could lose.

"Wow,'' Norton said Wednesday. "This guy is always right. It's amazing. Having two weeks to work on us, we are in trouble.''

Perhaps that was just coy gamesmanship, a little rope-a-dope from a boxing scion. By yesterday, the talk was about getting to Manning, hitting him hard, making him uncomfortable. The Seahawks want him to be the one in trouble.

"I feel like I can get to him,'' Bennett said. Wagner agreed.

"We've got to get him off his spot,'' Wagner said. "We've got to hit him. We feel like we've got the players that can do something.''

The Seahawks still flashed a little bit of that underdog shrug. Carroll even suggested that his team could play "exceedingly well and still not be able to beat them.''

But that's not what they figure will happen.

"I don't think we envision ourselves losing,'' Bennett said. "We wouldn't play the game. We would just forfeit it and not waste our time doing this media day today. We could be home with our families at Disney World. Or maybe Turks and Caicos or something like that.''

Instead, they're in New Jersey. Getting ready to play in the Super Bowl. And after nearly a week of verbal pitter-pattering, it feels like they just showed up.

New York Sports