Plenty of media and fans expressed misgivings about Earl Thomas returning punts, so they had to be happy when coach Pete Carroll took Thomas off those duties this week in the wake of a disastrous season opener.
Thomas fumbled the ball on one return and did not seem very instinctive about judging whether to call for fair catches. Carroll said he thought the return duties were distracting from Thomas’ duties as the team’s defensive quarterback at free safety, so he is putting Bryan Walters in as the returner.
Thomas responded to the move Thursday and ripped fans who didn’t want him returning punts.
“Fans can kind of sleep easier now,” he said. “They can stop sending their regards in. They were a little bit selfish in my perspective.”
As Roger Goodell and the NFL try feverishly to dig out of the dirty hole that is the Ray Rice domestic-violence case, at least something positive has come out of the fiasco: That video of Rice knocking out his fiancée has made everyone understand just how horrific domestic abuse is and perhaps how lightly the NFL has viewed it over the years.
“Unfortunately, we had to see an incident that elevated our awareness to really get to the right place,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday. “It’s unfortunate we have to learn the hard way.”
It seems crazy that people did not understand what Rice had done until they actually saw the second video. What possibly could have been the precursor to the first video, in which he is seen dragging an unconscious Janay Palmer out of the elevator? Rice admitted he hit her, which is why he was charged, placed into a diversion program and suspended by Goodell.
But that second video sent shockwaves through the NFL and for some reason changed the way everyone viewed domestic violence.
Percy Harvin, Kam Chancellor and Bruce Irvin — three of the Seahawks’ most explosive players — have been joined at the hip over the past year, linked in the misery that the ultra-important joint connecting their legs and torso has caused them.
Each had surgery to fix his injury — you might say it was the “hip” procedure to undergo over the past 12 months — and now they are, yep, hip to play again.
All three feel better than ever, and it showed in the opener against Green Bay.
Last season, the Seahawks played the final month without two of their top three cornerbacks, and the replacements were better than OK.
The Seahawks find themselves in a similar situation this year, only a bit earlier and without the benefit of the replacements knowing the defense as well.
Pete Carroll reiterated on Wednesday that Marcus Burley, acquired Aug. 30 from Indianapolis, will take over the nickel cornerback position that opened up with injuries to Jeremy Lane and Tharold Simon, and newly signed Josh Thomas will be the No. 4 cornerback.
“We’re hoping that Marcus will take over that (nickel) spot,” the coach said. “It’s a spot that he’s familiar with. He did a nice job coming in the game (against Green Bay) in short time. … We’re looking for Marcus to do a real nice job and take that spot over.”
One of the few weaknesses in Seattle’s season opener was the play of Earl Thomas on punt returns. He didn’t show the right instincts for catching the ball in traffic, and he ended up fumbling one of his chances.
Coach Pete Carroll initially said they would work through those issues and keep Thomas at punt returner, but after further reflection the coach decided to remove that distraction so Thomas can concentrate on playing the position he is paid to excel at: free safety.
Bryan Walters will take over as the main punt returner, Carroll said Wednesday.