Peter Schrager Podcast: Does Lynch expect an upset in Seattle?
A few days before broadcasting his first NFL playoff game, NFL on FOX analyst John Lynch was the guest on the Peter Schrager Podcast this week. A former four-time All Pro safety, Lynch opened up on a plethora of topics surrounding this weekend and the sport as a whole.
Lynch revealed that he almost played a part in the Peyton Manning recruitment to Denver in March of 2012, though his services really weren’t actually needed. Knowing Lynch and Manning were very friendly, Broncos team president John Elway asked the one-time Broncos safety to join he and Manning for dinner at a nearby country club when Manning was in Denver for his free agent visit. When Lynch got there, however, Elway and Manning were already well on their way.
"That night, John [Elway] called and I was out to dinner with my family and he called and said, ‘Come on over.’ They were at Cherry Hills Country Club, a place where Peyton could just have his space. So I got there, and those two were just in deep conversation. They stayed over there for two hours. I was going to go over to their table, but I sensed that those two were just fine."
Schrager asked Lynch if he thinks "Monday Night Football" analyst Jon Gruden, his former coach in Tampa Bay, would ever return to the sidelines: "I always thought [Gruden] would [return]. It’s just in his blood. There are other people that have left, like Tony Dungy. I think Tony’s being honest when he says he’ll never be back. Now, Gruden’s never said he’ll never be back."
Lynch added, "In the right situation — and I think what you look at is quarterback and ownership, those two things — if [Gruden] finds the perfect situation, I would not be surprised to see him go back."
On whether he’d want Jadeveon Clowney on his team, Lynch said, "Heck yeah. All day and twice on Sunday, as Warren Sapp used to say. That guy’s a freak. Did it bother me some of the stuff I saw in the earlier part of the year? Not playing hard? Well, that’s what a great coach does. He gets the most out of him. One thing I learned in my career, it was a lot easier to play defensive back in Tampa than I did in Denver. A consistent pass rush. I never took it for granted in Tampa, but I never realized how much it impacted my job as a defensive back. That extra ‘Two Mississippi’."
Calling the Seahawks-Saints game on FOX alongside Kevin Burkhardt on Saturday, Lynch expects it to be a lot closer than the 34-7 contest between the two teams in Week 13. Lynch said you can never count out a Sean Payton coached team, "Sean Payton does a tremendous job. I don’t know if it’s anger, but that chip on the shoulder — that people are doubting you — absolutely it does. How do you channel that fuel? Whether it’s the media or doubters, in general, what do you do with that fire? That’s what matters."
"He’s got such a diverse background," said Lynch. "The West Coast offense. The Bill Parcells connection. He still uses Parcells’ lessons all the time. He had a gas can in the locker room last week, an old Parcells trick. I think the world of Sean. He knows how to get teams ready and he’s been here before. He’s a special coach."
On a fellow former Stanford defensive back, Seahawks star Richard Sherman, Lynch said, "We hear all the trash talk and all the self-promotion. We see the personality. But when we meet in these production meetings, he’s one of the most cerebral people — not only football players — that I’ve ever been around. One of the greatest compliments you can give a guy is, ‘He’s a pro.’ Well, Richard Sherman — that guy is a pro. He writes the book and he writes the script before he even plays.
"It’s a beautiful thing to watch this guy and know the preparation that he goes through. And he’s got the skills. I played with a great corner, Champ Bailey, and to those guys aren’t targeted. So to have eight interceptions when you aren’t targeted? That’s just phenomenal. It means you’re making the most of when people do go at you."
You can listen to the full interview here: