Seahawks Insider

Wednesday practice notes: Thurmond sits out with head injury

Post by Eric Williams on Oct. 27, 2010 at 4:35 pm with 22 Comments »
October 27, 2010 5:27 pm

There was a little surprise when today’s injury report came out, with rookie cornerback Walter Thurmond listed with a head injury. We did not see him practice today, but I assumed it was more of a preventative measure coming off of major knee surgery over a year ago with as many reps he played against Arizona.

But Thurmond appears to have been dinged up enough that he did not practice on Wednesday. And with Kelly Jennings also out because of a hamstring issue, Nate Ness got plenty of reps with the first unit as the team’s corner on the outside. And he looked solid, both in team and individual drills.

“He’s really progressed nicely,” Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “Watching him on the one-on-ones he got a lot of reps today, so it will be interesting to see how he did. Some guys are out right now, so this will be a good opportunity for him. We’re excited about it.”

As Carroll told us before practice, Russell Okung (ankle), Kelly Jennings (hamstring), Matt McCoy (hamstring), Brandon Mebane (calf) and Michael Robinson (hamstring) did not practice.

And Chris Clemons and Ben Hamilton did not practice as more of a preventive measure. Both are expected to play on Sunday.

Bradley said he’s concerned about Oakland’s speed on offense, with speedsters like Darren McFadden, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford and Johnnie Lee Higgins

“They’ve got great speed at the skill positions, there’s no doubt about it,” Bradley said. “The tight end (Zach Miller) does a great job, too. He’s real crafty getting open, and you can see he’s kind of the guy they go to in certain situations. But all around, very good personnel.”

As far as dealing with McFadden, Bradley said it will be important for his defense to make sure they take the proper angle and rally to the ball.

“Wrap-up, get guys to him and the old swarm tackle deal because he can make the first guy miss. And I think the big thing is that we’re trying to simulate is just the speed. He gets into a lane, and then getting after him to where you take the right angles on. We saw last week there were some bad angles on film, but that’s just because of the burst that he has.”

Bradley talked about the differences between quarterbacks Bruce Gradkowski and Jason Campbell. Bradley noted that defensive secondary coach Jerry Gray coached in Washington when Campbell was there and knows him well. And Bradley was in Tampa Bay when Gradkowski was there.

“He’s (Campbell) got a really good arm,” Bradley said. “But Gradkowski’s real smart. I was with him at Tampa Bay and I know that was one of the things he presented to the team that he had. He’s real smart, real sharp, knew where to go with the ball and made good decisions.”

Bradley talked about the maturation of Earl Thomas, saying the turning point for him was when he made the impressive pick in the end zone against Matt Hasselbeck during OTAS, and from there has steadily gained confidence to the point where the University of Texas product has regularly made big plays on defense for Seatte.

“He played a lot of corner, and he played a lot of quarters as a safety,” Bradley said. “He was never a middle safety, so there was a little of a learning curve there. So he went though that the first part of OTAs and minicamp, but he’s really picked up on it now.”

Notes from practice
Leave a comment Comments → 22
  1. Dukeshire says:

    There is no question Thomas’ adjustment to cover 1 has really freed up this defense. Among other things, it allows them to use Milloy up in the box more often (which is where Carroll likes his SS when possible) to really support the run.

    If Curry wanted a break out game, this would be a good one. He’s far and away the fastest of the front 7, and they could really use him to play at the same level he played vs San Diego, before he got hurt; sealing the edge and force runs back inside and applying pressure to the QB will be important this week.

    Since this is the first we’re hearing about Thurmond, I would imagine it isn’t something that will keep him out Sunday.

  2. variable575 says:

    So is it his head or knee? Seemed like you alluded to a cover up slightly?

  3. Is this the appropriate time for me to mention for the 100th time about the importance of quality depth at CB more so than many other positions?

    I’d write “lol” but I’m still pretty mad about it, actually.

  4. variable575 says:

    forget it :)

  5. freedom_X says:

    What is Oakland’s tendencies? Use a lot of 3 and 4WR formations, or a heavy run oriented attack with 2 WRs?

    If they use run-oriented formations, I would expect to see a lot more Aaron Curry in the Oakland game. Seattle’s been using a lot of nickel and dime defenses lately, and Curry’s hardly seeing any action at LB. Seems like he’s playing mostly on the line.

    But if Oakland is more of a run-1st offense, then I would expect Curry’s snaps on defense to be much higher than the last 2 games.

    Seattle is interesting in that most teams have LB’s filling out the top 5 tacklers on defense, but Seattle only has Lofa at @4, then all the other LB’s come at 7-8-9. LB seems to be rather devalued in the Carroll defensive system.

    But they are making great use of multiple DB formations. I wonder if Earl Thomas’ skill in coverage is letting Milloy be a “virtual” LB?

  6. odd about Thurmond. I checked the tape from Sunday and he was still on the field during the final series. We can’t afford to have him out if Kelly is still out. Would be bad.

  7. I wouldn’t say that Mr. Happy doesn’t value LBs, I think he’s simply doing a pretty good job of playing the hand he’s dealt.

  8. Dukeshire says:

    freedom_X – I think there is something to that. Not that Carroll devalues LBs, but of the front 7, only Lofa doesn’t rotate in and out. Curry and Heater really only play in the base package and Herring in the nickel. And as I mentioned, Thomas’ play has allowed Milloy to to play in the box. And that = tackles.

  9. freedom_X says:

    Yep on your Thomas comments, I just don’t know quite how that works schematically is what I meant to say. Does Thomas cover so much ground, he can compensate for Milloy? Or is it more complicated than that (which I suspect?)

    I didn’t mean to say that LB’s don’t have much value in Carroll’s scheme, but certain schemes place higher value on certain positions. A Tampa-2 prizes linebackers and pass-rushing linemen. This is how the older Seattle defense was constructed (except the previous management couldn’t find any pass rushing linemen, and the LB’s couldn’t stay healthy, so the defense flopped.)

    To express it one way – if Carroll were spending draft picks to fill his defense, he wouldn’t be putting an all-around run/pass coverage LB at the top of his list. He’d be looking for that LB/DE pass rush hybrid, which I think is similar to what lots of 3-4 defenses look for. But after that, he’d probably spend most of his currency on other defensive positions instead. That’s how it seems to me.

  10. Ewalters7354 says:

    I hope Thurmond is ok.He is really doing a good job filling in for Kelly,even though I think he is clearly outplaying Jennings at the position.With that being said,if he can’t go this week or the staff just wants to be safe,I would think this is the game to do so.The Raiders don’t have any polished receivers.They enjoy throwing to their TE and backs out of the backfield.The key to the game is quite simple;stop the run,score on offense,and make them throw.I don’t think our offense will struggle against their basic defense.They run the same blitz packages over and over again(ala John Marshall).I also don’t understand why they are favorites to beat us.They are no all that great.Denver just had things go against them and everything was going the Raiders way,but I don’t think they are that good.

  11. Our alignments are pretty stacked for our safeties to get more tackles than the LBs. As Dukeshire said, in all alignments – base, nickel, bandit – its Lofa, Milloy, and Thomas that are always on the field, and so they are cleaning up on the stats (Milloy in the box, and ET all over the damn place :)

    What I most notice when looking at our defensive stats is how evenly the tackles are spread out, compared to past years. We have 8 players over 20 tackles, and only Milloy and Earl over 30. I would chalk this up to how freely our coaches are substituting the situational alignments. A lot less base defense so far, and lots of DBs on the field, especially with how much teams are trying to pass against us (avg 41 passes vs avg 23 rushes by opponents).

    Its a great year to be a backup DB on the Seahawks! And those young guys like Thurmond and Lewis are getting coached up and performing well!

  12. freedom, interesting comment about “certain schemes place higher value on certain positions”

    I would say the change this year with Carroll in terms of what he values is that he emphasizes the role of his 2-gap NT (Cole) and his big run stuffing DE (Bryant) and wants raw SPEED everywhere else, with plenty of substitutions to keep legs fresh.

  13. SEA isn’t the only team banged up, so is OAK:

    OAK’s QB Bruce Gradkowski (shoulder), TE Brandon Myers (concussion), WR Chaz Schilens (knee), DL John Henderson (foot), LB Thomas Howard (knee), LB Travis Goethel (back), CB Jeremy Ware (ankle), and CB Walter McFadden (hamstring) were inactive @ DEN.

    WR Louis Murphy (lung) suffered a bruised lung vs DEN, probably will be out vs Hawks, with WR Jacoby Ford probably taking his spot.

    Missed Today’s Practice: WR Louis Murphy (lung), OG Robert Gallery (calf strain), DL John Henderson (foot), CB Chris X. Johnson (concussion), and WR Chaz Schilens (knee).

    Limited in Today’s Practice: RB Michael Bennett (hamstring), FS Hiram Eugene (pectoral), LB Travis Goethel (back), QB Bruce Gradkowski (shoulder), LB Thomas Howard (knee), TE Zach Miller (foot), C Samson Satele (concussion), DL Matt Shaughnessy (concussion) and LB Kamerion Wimbley (groin).
    Apparently TE Brandon Myers (concussion) must be good to go, since he wasn’t reported missing practice. If Myers couldn’t go vs SEA, FB Marcel Reece would have to play TE, provided Oakland didn’t sign anyone. TE Zach Miller is the only other TE on the roster, and he was also listed as “limited” in practice (foot).

    OAK @ DEN:
    QB J.Campbell (knee) threw 12-for-20 for 204 yds and 2 TDs.
    RB D.McFadden went off for 165 yds rushing and 3 TDs on 16 atts and caught 2 passes for 31 yds and 1 TD.
    OG Robert Gallery (calf) suffered a calf strain vs DEN, likely still gonna play vs Hawks.

  14. BobbyAyala says:

    E –

    They’re favored because they’re at home, that’s the only reason.

    Thing is, McAffee doesn’t sell out and it’s quiet as a mouse.

    You’re right, they’re not that good. They’re middling at best.

    They have weapons, but a crappy line and even worse QB’s.

    Their cornerback though, Asumgha or however you spell it, might be the best football player in the game. I love watching him play.

  15. variable575 says:

    I know this is late but I just read through the dungy post along with the religious debate. HahAhaha. That was the funniest stuff I’ve read in a long time. Cali and longco, well done!

  16. Dukeshire says:

    freedom_X – To answer your question, yes. Thomas’ ability to cover sideline to sideline and stop the deep ball is what allows Milloy to play something of a “robber” role. (I’ve never heard Carroll call the SS position that, but what we’re talking about here reminds me of the same type Cover 1 Nick Saban runs, and that’s what he calls it, so for better or worse…) Milloy, when he’s down in the box he has to be able to read runs or “rob” any of the underneath passing routes (curls, in routes, crossing patterns). You have to be able to recognize what the offense is going to do and react accordingly. It’s a perfect role for him considering how well he understands offenses and how strong of a tackler he is. And Thomas’ freakish talent and instincts allow Carroll / Bradley to use Milloy in this way. (There are more elements to it like the man v zone coverage from the corners, trying to disguise what they are running from the offense, etc… but it really is pretty simple.)

    Last year, Mora preferred cover 2 (or Tampa 2 as you noted, where the two safeties split the field down the middle and cover their respective zones accordingly. This is not a strength of Milloy. He simply doesn’t have the ability to cover receivers down field any longer. As a result, he didn’t play nearly as much or as well.)

    In any case, that’s the gist. As for LBs, I think you may be right. They are trying hard to get Curry into that “hybrid” role. Hawthorne (or whoever plays Will) is intended to be the playmaker. And the Mike needs to be the most well rounded, just like Lofa.

  17. BobbyAyala says:

    I love Lofa.

    He is, by far, the most important player on this team, IMO.

  18. A first for me this year; despite following the roster moves as much as possible, there are so many that I’ve never heard of several key players. Nate Hess being 1, last week’s star Raheem Brock being another.

  19. longco44 says:

    This may have been answered already and I just wanted to know if Nate Ness was brought on from the Practice Squad.. BTW… Whos currently on the practice squad right now?

  20. Dukeshire says:

    freedom_X – In rereading my post I should point out that when they choose to run a zone out of their base 4-3 with only Thomas over the top, it’s a cover 3. Thomas in the middle and the outside corners dropping into a deep outside zone, splitting the top of the defense into thirds. But it doesn’t seem like we have seen that as often, maybe due to concerns about Hawthorne’s ability to cover passes in the flat (curls, screens etc…). Anyway…

  21. BobbyAyala says “Thing is, McAffee doesn’t sell out and it’s quiet as a mouse.”

    The black hole on Halloween? I’d think it’ll be pretty raucous.

    Or maybe not. I wonder if they’ll dress up as lawyers, yacht clubbers, and whatnot, since they wear facepaint and plastic spikes the rest of the year…

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