As the Seahawks get set to play their first real game in San Diego since 2002 — the year they returned to the NFC West after 25 years in the AFC West with the Chargers — it’s almost like homecoming weekend for Russell Wilson, too.
Seattle’s third-year quarterback is heading back to the place where his dad flirted with an NFL career, and he also will be facing the quarterback who set the standard at North Carolina State a few years before Wilson shot to stardom there.
“For me,” Wilson said, “it’s a special thing to get to go back there to Qualcomm Stadium and play in that stadium.”
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.
The first week of the NFL season was riddled with key injuries for many teams, and the attrition affected many of Seattle’s opponents.
We detailed before the season all of the injuries and suspensions that already will affect many of the Seahawks’ 13 foes this season, and the hits just keep on coming.
For the second straight week, the Hawks will go against a backup center as San Diego lost longtime pivot Nick Hardwick for the season due to a nerve issue in his neck. His backup is Rich Ohrnberger, who stepped in against Arizona in San Diego’s 18-17 loss on Monday.
In the Seahawks’ opener, Green Bay started rookie center Corey Linsley in place of injured starter JC Tretter.
An even bigger loss Wednesday came in St. Louis, where the Rams learned they could be without star defensive end Chris Long for 8-10 weeks due to ankle surgery. The Seahawks play at St. Louis in Week 7 and Week 17.
Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times takes a first look at the Chargers and compares the stats of Seattle and San Diego. The Hawks have not played a real game in San Diego since 2002, the first year they moved from the AFC West to the NFC West.