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Seahawks Defense Goes "Right Back to the Drawing Board" to Reinforce Finishing Touch

The Seahawks have held fourth-quarter leads in each of their three losses to open 2015.

Thursday's media availability at Seahawks headquarters ahead of the team's Week 6 game against the Carolina Panthers brought about an unexpected admission from one of the game's best free safeties.

Seattle's All-Pro Earl Thomas, coming off a week that saw him record the Seahawks' first interception of the year, said he played "a little timid" against the Bengals this past Sunday and "wasn't fully prepared" to challenge the Cincinnati offense.

"I learned first-hand last game," Thomas said of his team's Week 5 loss at Paul Brown Stadium that saw the Seahawks surrender a 17-point fourth-quarter lead. "I didn't give our defense a chance because I was playing a little timid, because I wasn't fully prepared."

Thomas described being "fully prepared" as when "You can challenge everything and you're your best and you really trust what you're doing out there." Defensive coordinator Kris Richard said he didn't see a dip in Thomas' performance at Cincinnati, but trusts the way Thomas feels about his own play, and more importantly, trusts him to get it fixed.

"I didn't see that," Richard said. "But ultimately, he knows the truth and he knows the truth of his own heart and ultimately that's what each and every single one of us has to do as a person in general. You know the truth of your own heart and ultimately if that was the case I'm absolutely sure he's going to make sure that he improves on that and the next time he has the opportunity he will be prepared."

Thomas said this past Sunday's loss has challenged the Seahawks to prepare as well as possible moving forward: "That's the only way we're going to give ourselves a chance to be our best," he said.

This week, Seattle's coaching staff has gone "right back to the drawing board" - as Richard put it - to reinforce the team's message on finishing, which the Seahawks define as doing things right longer than their opponent. To help hammer home that message, Thomas said Seahawks coaches have shown film of the finishing touch the club has put on display the past two seasons that has helped carry it to back-to-back Super Bowls.

Part of that tape session included a review of last year's 31-17 divisional-round win over Carolina - this week's opponent, in a game where 17 of Seattle's points came in the final quarter, including an interception return for a touchdown by strong safety Kam Chancellor.

"As far as the visual aspect, they've shown us situations in the past where we've finished all the way through," Thomas said. "So it was good to see us out there finishing, because we know we can do it."

The Seahawks have watched fourth-quarter leads slip away in each of their three losses this season. Richard called those situations "disappointing" more than concerning because he knows what his defense is capable of achieving if they continue to execute and play with great effort down the stretch.

"We know the type of defense that we are and we just need to go out there and prove it is ultimately what it comes down to," Richard said. "When we put a complete game together, that's when we'll know we're ultimately going in the direction that we want to be, and it hasn't happened yet."

On "Turnover Thursday" the sun was high as the team got down to business during practice in preparation for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.

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