Focus on: Antoine Winfield

Posted Aug 5, 2013

Concerned that Antoine Winfield isn’t making one play after another on the practice field for the Seahawks? Don’t be, because the veteran cornerback is doing his job by taking his receiver out of the play.

Ten practices into his first training camp with the Seahawks, Antoine Winfield has yet to make that signature play.

You know, the type of interception or kind of deflection that underscores why the three-time Pro Bowl cornerback was signed in free agency to fill the nickel spot in the Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” secondary.

Pete Carroll supplied the answer for all the things Winfield seemingly hasn’t done, by explaining all the things he quietly has.

“He’s been in great position; takes away a lot of routes, so we can’t even throw it,” the Seahawks’ fourth-year coach said on Sunday.

Told of Carroll’s comment, Winfield just smiled after Monday’s practice.

The follow-up question also elicited a smile, followed by a laugh: When was the last time he was confused by anything an offense threw at him? A formation? A route? A deceptive tactic?

“A while. It’s been a very long time,” Winfield said. “I’ve been playing in this league; this will be my 15th season, so I’ve pretty much seen it all.”

And not just playing, but playing at the highest level. A first-round draft choice by the Buffalo Bills in 1999, Winfield started the next four seasons and then signed with the Minnesota Vikings in 2004. In nine seasons with the Vikings, he was voted to three Pro Bowls and had at least 75 tackles six times.

That adds up to a lot of snaps, a lot of routes covered, a lot of plays denied.

“I do a great job of studying film,” Winfield continued with the explanation of his ability to take away plays before they can happen. “So I get a lot of tips from that. And just play fast.

“I wouldn’t have lasted this long without playing how I play football.”

Think about it. Fifteen seasons for a guy who is 5 feet 9 and weighs 180 pounds. Starting the third stage of his career at an age (36) when most cornerbacks have been retired for a season or three.

“He’s been terrific,” Carroll said. “He just knows what’s going on, just like you would think. Makes the most of his plays.”

Then there’s Antoine Winfield the run-stopper/run-support player, as evidenced by his 1,019 career tackles – and an average of 92 in the seven seasons when he’s made 16 starts, including 101 last season.

“What he is,” Carroll said, “is an extremely productive player making tackles in the run game and running plays down. He’s one of the most productive players in the NFL over the last few years. We can’t believe his numbers.”

Or the way Winfield simply takes plays away in the passing game.