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.”