It’s yet another recognition for the hard-to-believe-he-is-already-in-his-fourth-year pro. Thomas, who turned just 24-years-old earlier this month, has garnered Pro Bowl honors (2011, 2012) and first-team AP All-Pro (2012) selections since coming into the League out of the University of Texas with the 14th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. He has led a Seahawks defense that has jumped from ranking 27th in the NFL in 2010 to ninth in 2011 to fourth last season.
Despite a stellar 2012 where he racked up 66 tackles, nine passes defensed, forced and recovered a fumble, and picked off three passes – one of which he returned 57 yards for a touchdown, Thomas’ ranking at No. 66 is the exact same spot where he showed up last year on this same list.
That’s why it’s not too surprising that the hyper-competitive Thomas isn’t all that satisfied with his rank, saying he’ll use it as “fuel to the fire.”
It’s quite fitting that the 12th-best game on NFL.com’s list of the Top 20 games of 2012 goes to the home of the 12th Man.
The Seahawks’ 24-23 victory over the New England Patriots in Week 6 of last season at CenturyLink Field was unveiled today at No. 12 on their list. In that game, the Seahawks battled back from a 23-10 deficit midway through the fourth quarter, as quarterback Russell Wilson threw scoring passes to wide receiver Braylon Edwards and again to wide receiver Sidney Rice with less than 90 seconds to play. The Seahawks defense then closed the door on Tom Brady and the Pats by forcing a turnover on downs on New England’s ensuing possession to secure the 24-23 win.
The game was somewhat of a coming out party for Wilson, who completed 16 of 27 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns, good for a 133.7 quarterback rating. Until that point, Wilson’s arm had been kept under wraps by head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who asked Wilson to avoid risks and play it safe with the football.
Wilson’s counterpart that day, Brady, threw 31 more times than the Seahawks rookie, completing 36 of 58 for two touchdowns and two interceptions – one by cornerback Richard Sherman and another by free safety Earl Thomas.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has his full recap of the game here, and below he explains why this game was ranked where it was:
“Patriots-Seahawks featured two of the better clubs from last season, with the bonus being that we rarely see this interconference matchup.
Going a step further, you couldn’t find two more contrasting styles if you tried. Seattle pounds the ball, tries to completely shut down your offense and asks its quarterback to make plays in spots. Meanwhile, New England often places the whole game on its quarterback’s shoulders, while living off takeaways on defense. Consider: Brady attempted 31 more passes than Wilson in this game, despite the fact New England had a two-score lead in the fourth.
All that made for an intriguing matchup decided by one point. Not bad.”
Pete Prisco has his annual list of the Top 100 players in the NFL at CBSSports.com, and guess who checks in at No. 9?
It’s Richard Sherman, the Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback. Says Prisco, “He is cocky, brash and plays with a nasty edge. Oh, he can also cover. He had eight picks and led the league with 32 passes defended. …”
Other Seahawks on Prisco’s list include an All-Pro free safety who just turned 24; a pair of Russells; an All-Pro running back; and a recently acquired receiver/runner/returner. Here’s where those players are ranked, as well as Prisco’s comment:
FS Earl Thomas (51) – “He is the centerfielder on a good defense, showing off both range and the ability to tackle. He is just now getting to his prime.”
QB Russell Wilson (82) – “Despite his size, he showed in his rookie season that he has what it takes to be a top-level quarterback. It’s early, but he gets it.”
LT Russell Okung (86) – “He is the anchor of the Seattle line, the guy who protects Russell Wilson’s backside. He is coming off his best season.”
RB Marshawn Lynch (87) – “He had 1,590 yards and averaged 5 yards per rush. He is a big reason why Seattle made the playoffs.”
WR/RB/KOR Percy Harvin (97) – “He is an explosive playmaker when he’s on the field. But he’s had trouble staying there and his per-catch average of 10.9 needs to be better.”
Prisco also has a Top 10 of players under 23, and Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is ranked No. 4. Says Prisco, “He finished seventh in the NFL in tackles playing in the middle on one of the best defenses in the league. He is a rangy linebacker who can also play the pass. He had three interceptions as a rookie.”
NFL Network’s NFL AM has been counting down the Top 100 Plays of 2012, and 40 plays into the countdown, the Seahawks are well represented on their list.
We take timeout to pay homage to the six plays on the list that feature some of Seattle’s very own.
No. 96 - Golden Tate’s 14-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown that gave the Seahawks a three-point lead with 32 seconds left in the game against the Chicago Bears in Week 13. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler would connect with wide receiver Brandon Marshall on the ensuing drive to set up a field goal that would tie the game at 17, but Russell Wilson led an 80-yard touchdown drive in the opening possession of overtime to give Seattle a 23-17 victory with a play that we’re sure will show up later on this list.
No. 89 – It’s only appropriate that play No. 89 on their countdown goes to the Seahawks’ No. 89 – wide receiver Doug Baldwin. His 43-yard juggling catch against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16 made the cut on the countdown. Baldwin was the club’s leading receiver that day, hauling in four catches for 53 yards and two scores, as Seattle topped the division rival Niners, 42-13, on Sunday Night Football.
No. 88 - Eighty-eight goes to Golden Tate, who shows up for the second time in the countdown’s first 12 plays. Tate’s acrobatics are on display again in this one, as he takes a quick pass from Russell Wilson and dodges defenders for 11 yards before diving into the end zone for a touchdown in Week 9 against the Minnesota Vikings. The play gave the Seahawks a 20-17 lead they would not surrender, as they bested the Vikings 30-20 at CenturyLink Field.
No. 77 – Russell Wilson checks in at No. 77 on the countdown, but not for one of the many plays he made with his arm last season. It’s Wilson’s feet that get the recognition here, as he practically out-maneuvers the entire New England Patriots defense on a 3rd-and-4 play to pick up nine yards and a first down. No offense to CBS Sports play-by-play man Ian Eagle, but this play gets much more entertaining (and equally more appropriate) when the slapstick comedy “Yakety Sax” tune is played over the top of Wilson’s scramble. Mute the video of the play below and queue up “Yakety Sax” on YouTube, try to start both videos at nearly the same time, and enjoy.
No. 69 – The Legion of Boom makes their presence known for the first (and we’re pretty sure it won’t be the last) time on the Top 100 plays of 2012, as free safety Earl Thomas snagged a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown to cap off a 50-17 win over the Buffalo Bills in Toronto. Aided by Thomas’ effort, the Seahawks became the third team in NFL history and first since 1950 to score 50 points or more in back-to-back games, after posting 58 in a shutout of the Arizona Cardinals the week prior.
No. 61 – Tight end Zach Miller makes the list for his tremendous one-handed touchdown grab in Week 8 against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Miller hauled in a 16-yard pass from quarterback Russell Wilson for his first touchdown as a Seahawk.
That’s it for now. The Top 100 Plays of 2012 will pick back up with plays No. 51-60 on Monday, May 13 on NFL Network’s NFL AM.
Jerry Gray being selected for induction into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday did not go unnoticed by Earl Thomas.
And it’s understandable, because their careers have been interwoven since Thomas, the Seahawks’ All-Pro free safety, arrived on the University of Texas campus in 2007. Gray intercepted seven passes in 1984 to tie the Longhorns’ single-season record. Thomas broke it with eight in 2009. And when Thomas arrived in Seattle as a first-round draft choice in 2010, one guess who his position coach was. That’s right, it was Gray.
“When you leave a certain place, you definitely want to be remembered,” Thomas said today after working out in the Seahawks’ offseason program. “And coach Gray definitely is remembered there at UT. Our DB coach (Duane Akina) always does a great job of keeping the legacy of great players who did it before you, and coach Akina always said good things about coach Gray.
“He just got in the Hall of Fame, so I guess that says it all.”
Gray, a four-time Pro Bowl defensive back during his seven-season career with the Los Angeles Rams (1985-91), left the Seahawks’ coaching staff after that 2010 season to become the assistant head coach/defensive backs coach at Texas. But that lasted less than a month before Gray become defensive coordinator for the Titans.
“It is truly humbling. To know that they have voted you as one of the best players to ever play college football is humbling and hard to fathom,” Gray told the UT website. “When you go off to college, you don’t think that way – that I am going to be one of the best ever. It is a great honor and again, humbling.”
Thomas always will be able to say that he knew of Gray and then knew Gray before he officially became a Hall of Famer.
“It was funny that I broke his interception record and then got to see what type of guy he was when he coached me my first year in the league,” Thomas said. “He’s a very smart coach. I didn’t know too much about the NFL coaches and how they were going to attack the game. But he definitely helped me grow to be a better player.”
Make that a player that has started 48 regular-season games, and four playoff games, in his first three seasons with the Seahawks. And been voted to the Pro Bowl in each of the past two seasons. And, last season, became the first Seahawks’ safety to be named first-team All-Pro since Kenny Easley in 1985.
“The best way to kick off my appearance for the season is without a shirt on. I’m in a little bit better shape, right?”
If you’re a fan of Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson’s “The Real Rob Report” then it should be a pretty easy guess as to who’s behind that lighthearted quote that helps kick off his newest episode.
If you’re not yet a fan of the show, it’s about time you get in on all of the behind-the-scenes Seahawks goodness.
Robinson’s latest chapter features a look in at Phase 2 of the Seahawks’ offseason program at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. The familiar faces of Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner, Winston Guy, John Moffitt, Max Unger, Josh Portis, Jermaine Kearse, and Phil Bates are all included, as well as the first “Real Rob Report” introductions with newcomers Percy Harvin, Cliff Avril, and Michael Bennett.
Remember, you can stay up to date on everything from the Real Mike Rob by following his show on Twitter and subscribing to his channel on YouTube. And be sure to check out Moffitt’s venture into the apparel business at moffittmerch.com, where like he said in the video above – he’s not “lining his pockets” with the proceeds – they help feed the homeless at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.
Marcus Trufant played the past four seasons under Gus Bradley when Bradley was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator. Today, Trufant, an unrestricted free agent, is visiting Bradley in his new role and location – head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Trufant’s visit was reported by the Jaguars’ website.
The Jaguars rebuilt their secondary during the NFL Draft by selecting strong safety Jonathan Cyprien with the first pick in the second round and then adding cornerbacks Dwayne Gratz (third round) and Demetrius McCray (seventh) and safety Josh Evans (sixth). But Trufant, the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 2003, could mentor the young secondary – just as he did for the Seahawks the past few seasons with the All-Pro tandem of free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman as well as Pro Bowl-caliber strong safety Kam Chancellor and cornerback Brandon Browner.
The Seahawks released Trufant last offseason, only to re-sign him for a 10th season. But this year, a similar move is unlikely because the team signed nickel back Antoine Winfield in free agency, drafted cornerback Tharold Simon and also has incumbent backups Walter Thurmond, Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell.
UPDATE – At 11:54 a.m. the Jaguars officially announced they had signed Trufant:
With the 25th pick in the seventh round of this year’s NFL Draft, the Seahawks selected Harding defensive end/linebacker Ty Powell – on what just happened to be his 25th birthday.
That move was significant for another reason, as well. Powell is older than free safety Earl Thomas, whose 24th birthday just happens to be today.
Think about that for a moment. The just-turned-24 Thomas has been in the league for three seasons, all as a starter on an increasingly better Seahawks defense that has jumped from ranking 27th in the league in 2010 to ninth in 2011 to fourth last season. And he’s also played in the Pro Bowl twice and been voted All-Pro once.
How does this happen? Thomas wasn’t quite 21 when the Seahawks selected him in the first round of the 2010 draft because he left the University of Texas after his redshirt-sophomore season.
For all that you’ve already done, and all that is yet to come, Happy Birthday, Earl.
The Seahawks already have one player in the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players for 2013 and they’re about to get another.
Players No. 90 through No. 81 will be profiled Thursday in the weekly series, which starts at 5 p.m. PT. We know who that player is and where he’s ranked, we just can’t say. But make sure you tune in early to see who it is.
Among the candidates: All-Pro and Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas, All-Pro and Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, recently acquired receiver/runner/returner Percy Harvin, Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung and Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson.
All-Pro and Pro Bowl center Max Unger? He was at No. 95 when the series kicked off Saturday following the conclusion of the NFL Draft.
Unger was the Seahawks’ second-round draft choice in 2009. He started at right guard that season, becoming the first rookie lineman to start all 16 games for the Seahawks since Ray Roberts in 1992. Unger was back at right guard in 2010, but he got a season-ending toe injury in the opener. He moved to center – the position he had played at the University of Oregon – in 2011 with the arrival of line coach Tom Cable and has only gotten better by the snap.
“I knew Max when he came out of college,” said Cable, who was with the Raiders at the time. “I thought he would be a fine, fine center when he got to this level. … So we put him there from Day One and his development has been second to none on this team.”
Good morning, Seahawks fans, and welcome to day three of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Yesterday, the Seahawks took Texas A&M running back Christine Michael with the 62nd overall pick in round two and added Penn State defensive lineman Jordan Hill with the 87th overall pick in round three.
Heading into today, the Seahawks hold 10 draft picks – No. 123 (4th round), No. 138 (5th round), No. 158 (5th round), No. 165 (5th round), No. 194 (6th round), No. 199 (6th round), No. 220 (7th round), No. 231 (7th round), No. 241 (7th round) and No. 242 (7th round).
We’ll get started with all of that beginning at 9 a.m. PT, but in the meantime here’s a look at what’s “out there” about the Seahawks after day one and two of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times has a look at the Seahawks’ unconventional approach to draft day.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune details the Seahawks’ selection of Michael in round two.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald recaps day two of the Seahawks’ draft.
Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com rehashes the Seahawks’ selections of Michael and Hill in the draft’s second and third rounds.
ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando has his story on the Seahawks’ moves from day two of the draft at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has his list of the 10 best remaining players in the 2013 draft.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com’s Around the League has his take on winners and losers from day two of the draft.
NFL.com has an updated look at every pick made so far in the 2013 draft.
Once again, we’ll be streaming live coverage of rounds 4-7 with Seahawks Insider Tony Ventrella here at Seahawks.com, which is where you can also find Clare Farnsworth’s recap of what transpired on day two of the draft for Seattle.
You can stay connected and up to date with all of the Seahawks’ draft picks by tuning in to our Draft Central page.
And like yesterday’s cyber surfing post, we leave you with several reactions from Seahawks players and coaches as they watched the day’s picks pour in.
Congrats to the young fellow, let's go to work.—
Kameron (@Kam_Chancellor) April 27, 2013
That's a nice smart pick. I'm sure he was the best available player in the 2nd round.—
Winston Guy Jr. (@WinstonGuyJr27) April 27, 2013
Christine Michael (@Cmike33) April 15, 2013