A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center:
Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Not that there hasn’t already been enough talk about the Seahawks’ young, but oh-so-talented, safeties. And rightfully so, since Chancellor (22) and Thomas (17) are the leading tacklers on a defense that ranks No. 10 in the league.
But before practice today, we caught up with John Lynch, a nine-time Pro Bowl safety during his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1993-2003) and Denver Broncos (2004-07). Lynch will be the analyst on Fox for the telecast of Sunday’s game between the Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field.
Lynch also did the Seahawks’ season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco, when Chancellor and Thomas combined for 17 tackles.
“I love the way they play. I’m a big fan,” Lynch said. “It’s neat to see young guys and you can tell the game is important to them. And they’ve obviously been blessed with some God-given abilities that lend themselves to the position.
“Just watching them, I can tell they want to be special.”
This dynamic duo might be broken up on Sunday, however. Thomas will start at free safety, but Chancellor is listed as doubtful with the deep thigh bruise he got in last week’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. If he can’t play, Atari Bigby will start at strong safety.
Regardless, here’s Lynch’s assessment of each safety:
On Thomas: “Earl, he’s a flash. Every time I’ve got the film on, I think I’m in fast forward. Then I realize that’s just him. He’s got tremendous instincts. I met with him the first week of the season and he realized there were a lot of things he needed to get better at. He’s worked hard at them. I think he’s got a very, very bright future. He’s got as much range as any safety I’ve seen. (Former Redskins safety) Sean Taylor is the last guy with that kind of range and the ability to get from centerfield over to the sideline.”
On Chancellor: “I remember last year, Pete (Carroll) raving, ‘John, wait until you see this kid.’ And then last week, I think we all saw it come together. Really, throughout the year, you study the three games and he’s played very consistently. He’s an impact player. He’s obviously very big for the position, but also moves extremely well and is a physical presence.”
Lynch had one final observation that bodes well for the future – of the team, as well as Thomas and Chancellor.
“I really think at that position, you can change a game because you’re asked to do so many things,” he said. “At times, you’re rushing the quarterback. At times, you’re down as another linebacker. At times, you’re covering a receiver. So you can have a huge impact. Particularly when you have two, and they don’t know which one’s doing it. And they complement each other extremely well.
“I’m real high on them.”
COACH ON A CART
Tom Cable. The team’s assistant head coach/offensive line coach had back surgery on Monday, but was back on the practice field today – on a cart. And it’s possible that Cable will be able to attend Sunday’s game, sit in the coaches’ box and “do his best coach Paterno thing,” as Carroll put it.
“This is a miraculous recovery for this guy,” Carroll said. “He had major, major surgery just a couple days ago.”
The team used Skype to keep Cable involved in practice and meetings, even when he was still in the hospital.
“There were some hilarious moments when we set (the computer) on the stage and all you could see was this big mug up there talking to the team,” Carroll said. “So he’s been in on the game plan, he’s been contributing throughout, he’s seen every bit of the film and all of the preparation work has gone with Tom knowing what’s happening.
“He has a lot of stuff he’s dealing with, and it’s most admirable that he’s even part of this thing.”
The official end-of-the-week status report, as released by the team:
OG Robert Gallery (groin)
SS Kam Chancellor (quad)
CB Byron Maxwell (ankle)
OT Jarriel King (ankle)
FB Michael Robinson (ankle)
LB Matt McCoy (shoulder/head)
Robinson practiced all week, after missing the past two games, and will start against the Falcons, Carroll said.
On Chancellor, Carroll said, “It’s not an injury that he can’t come back from. It’s just that he has to have enough flexibility to run, and right now he doesn’t have that.”
For the Falcons:
DT Jonathan Babineaux (knee)
DE Cliff Matthews (knee)
LB Stephen Nicholas (calf)
RB Jason Snelling (concussion)
WR Roddy White (thigh)
OT Sam Baker (ankle)
LB Curtis Lofton (foot)
CB Kelvin Hayden (hamstring)
White, the Falcons’ leading receiver, was limited in practice today, but did participate for the first time this week before the team flew to Seattle for Sunday’s game. Babineaux, the brother of former Seahawks defensive back Jordan Babineaux, recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in the Falcons’ 34-18 win in Seattle last season. He also missed the past two games and has been replaced in the lineup by Corey Peters. Nichols, another starter, also has missed the past two games and been replaced by Mike Peterson.
STAT DU JOUR
For the first time this season, the Seahawks will start the same offensive line combination in back-to-back games. Here’s a look at the starting lines from the first three games:
49ers: LT Russell Okung, LG James Carpenter, C Max Unger, RG John Moffitt, RT Breno Giacomini
Steelers: Okung, LG Robert Gallery, Unger, Moffitt, Carpenter
Cardinals: Okung, LG Paul McQuistan, Unger, Moffitt, Carpenter
The players will have a walk-thru on Saturday morning and then gather for meetings on Saturday night at the team hotel.
JUST THE TICKET
YOU DON’T SAY
“It’s a very, very big week and a big opportunity. And these guys prepared like they understood that.” – Carroll
Tags: Atari Bigby, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Michael Robinson, Pete Carroll, Tom Cable
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