Focus on: Earl Thomas

Posted Nov 1, 2013

Just when you thought there was nothing left to possibly say about Earl Thomas, his teammates and coaches have come up with several more scoops of praise for the Seahawks’ All-Pro free safety.

After selecting Earl Thomas as the best player during the best start in franchise history, and also making a case that the Seahawks’ free safety has been the best defensive player in the NFL in the first half of the season, we figured there wasn’t much left to say about him.

Wrong. Thomas has remained a hot topic this week as the Seahawks have been preparing for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at CenturyLink Field to kick off the second half of their season. Leading the team in tackles (57) and intensity, and sharing the NFL lead in interceptions (four), will do that – especially when you’ve done it the way Thomas has.

Quarterback Russell Wilson, when asked if there is one person on the Seahawks’ No. 2-ranked defense that he’s glad he doesn’t have the play against in a game: “Richard Sherman/Earl Thomas, those two guys. I mean you look at Earl out there and he’s just flying around. That hit that he took on (Rams QB Kellen) Clemens, I mean I would have broken a rib. He flies around. He’s so intense all the time.”

Sherman, the All-Pro cornerback who also needs to be included in any discussions about the Seahawks’ midseason MVP and NFL Defensive Player of the Year, when asked if he’s ever been around a player as intense as Thomas: “No. No I haven’t, man. He’s one of the most locked-in football players I have ever seen and you can see his dedication and his focus to the game every single day. He’s having a career year, and it’s because it’s something he’s focused on. He’s focused on making open-field tackles, catching the picks. He was disappointed in certain facets of his game last year and he works harder than anybody to fix them. And he’s doing that, and that’s why he’s having the kind of year he’s having. When you see a guy work the way he does and stay focused the way he does, he treats practice like a game more than anybody I’ve ever seen. That’s why when you see him do it in a game you’re like, ‘Well, I saw him do it in practice 50 times, so of course he’s going to do it in the game because that’s the kind of player he is.’ ”

Dan Quinn, who was with the Seahawks during Thomas’ rookie season in 2011 as the defensive line coach and returned this year to be the defensive coordinator, when asked to evaluate Thomas’ play this season: “I think he’s really on it, in terms of the exact technique of what we want, the mindset from practice to in the game. I don’t know if you can sense the intensity he that he brings out to practice. It starts for him in the walkthrough. When he gets on the grass, he’s all business. It really carries over into the game in the way he prepares, the way he plays. He’s off to an outstanding start and is someone we kind of had targeted in terms of the way he had an offseason and the way he wanted to go about it. It’s lining up for him exactly like he’d like.”

But, as we’ve all learned, it will be Thomas who has the last word in any discussion of all the things he does and how he’s able to do them. And, as usual, it will be his actions that speak the loudest.