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Thursday in Hawkville: Walter Thurmond returns to Seahawks’ deep, talented secondary

Posted Dec 26, 2013

Having served his league-imposed four-game suspension, cornerback Walter Thurmond is back on the practice field and preparing to return to game action in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Rams.

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 26, when the players returned from having Christmas Day off to continue preparing for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field:

WORD OF THE DAY: DEPTH

With Walter Thurmond back from serving his league-imposed four-game suspension, that’s what the Seahawks have at cornerback. Again.

It was Thurmond who started the first two games of the season on the right side when Brandon Browner was out with a hamstring injury. It was Thurmond who slid inside to cover the slot receiver in the nickel when Browner returned. It was Thurmond who started on the right side in the Week 11 victory over the Minnesota Vikings when Browner was out a groin injury – returning his first NFL interception for a touchdown.

But with Thurmond suspended and Browner still out with his groin injury and now suspended, Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane have stepped in and stepped up the past four games – Maxwell on the right side, where he’s had three interceptions and nine passes defensed; Lane as the nickel back, where he’s had four passes defensed and 11 tackles.

YOU DON'T SAY

COACH EDITION

“It’s hard to imagine that we find ourselves in the last week of the regular season. I can’t believe it’s gone so fast. It’s amazing.”

Coach Pete Carroll

PLAYER EDITION

“I’m in the taking part of the season right now.”

All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, who leads the NFL with eight interceptions, when asked if he had received anything after QB Russell Wilson gave every offensive player an Xbox for Christmas

So now what? Thurmond returned with a roster exemption, so a roster move will have to be made to clear a roster spot when he’s activated for Sunday’s suddenly crucial game.

“As you know, at this position we’ve got some really talented guys,” defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said after practice. “So now, when some of the guys have gone down, we’ve seen some other people who’ve step up and really played well.

“It’s awesome having him back here at practice and going through it. So just the experience of him playing nickel and also outside adds to the whole group. The fact of just having another player of Walt’s caliber back in there really adds just to the whole package of how we’re playing.”

Before practice, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said, “It’s going to be great. Obviously we have a lot of depth, but it’s nice to get his legs back, his energy, his aggression, his play. He’s a tremendous player. And you can always use more corners. The more corners the better. And I think he’s one of the best out there and it will be a great boost for our team and our defense.”

INJURY REPORT: EARL THOMAS, RICHARD SHERMAN RETURN TO PRACTICE

The official report, as issued by the team:

STAT DU JOUR: LOWERING THE BOOM

The Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense also leads the league in passer rating by opposing quarterbacks and shares the lead in fewest TD passes allowed:

Opposing QB passer rating
Team Rating
Seahawks 63.3
49ers 73.5
Bills 75.2
Bengals 76.3
Dolphins 76.7

Fewest TD passes allowed
Team No.
Seahawks 15
Panthers 15
Titans 15
49ers 15
Dolphins 17

Out
LB K.J. Wright (foot)

Did not practice
DE Red Bryant (knee)
WR Percy Harvin (hip)
WR Jermaine Kearse (ankle)

Full participation
RB Derrick Coleman (shoulder)
RB Marshawn Lynch (not injury related)
OT Russell Okung (toe)
CB Richard Sherman (hip)
LB Malcolm Smith (ankle)
OG J.R. Sweezy (concussion)
FS Earl Thomas (thigh)

Sherman, Thomas and Lynch were back after sitting out Tuesday’s practice and being listed as not participating on the estimated injury report that was issued Wednesday, when the Seahawks did not practice.

For the Rams:

Did not practice
WR Tavon Austin (ankle)
S T.J. McDonald (illness)
RB Daryl Richardson (thigh)

Full participation
DE Chris Long (thigh)

Austin, the rookie who is the Rams’ second-leading receiver and also returns punts, sat out practice again. He has not practiced since injuring an ankle in the Rams’ Dec. 8 loss to the Cardinals. But Long was back after sitting out Wednesday.

OPPONENT WATCH: ROBERT QUINN

Add to the list of all the impressive things Robert Quinn has done this season the fact that the Rams’ defensive end and NFL sack leader has done it all with a brain tumor.

“I have a brain tumor,” Quinn said during a conference-call interview. “I’ve been knowingly living with it for a little bit over six years. Because the tumor is sitting on top on my spinal cavity, they went in and drilled a hole underneath the tumor. So I missed some of my senior year of football (in high school) and little bit of the wrestling season and that’s kind of the short version of it, I guess.”

UP NEXT: “NO REPEAT FRIDAY”

The players will hold their final full practice before Sunday’s game Friday, with a walkthrough to follow on Saturday.

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