Following day four of Seahawks training camp at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Kris Richard took time to meet with the media. Here's three things we learned from the Seahawks defensive coordinator.
1. Earl Thomas Is Teaching The Younger Guys All He Knows
Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas started training camp on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list as he continues to rehab from the offseason surgery he underwent after injuring his shoulder in Seattle's NFC Championship win over the Green Bay Packers this past January. As a result, Thomas has been forced to play spectator through the first four days of camp.
"Earl is in a good place," Richard said. "Of course he misses being out there on the field. But he understands the position that he is in right now. He has to rehab. He has to get his shoulder strong.
"But I think the key part for him is now he's able to teach the younger guys all that he knows. So that's how we keep him inundated in the system right there is now he's in a teaching position. Yeah, it may hurt him some not to be able to be out there, but he understands exactly where he is and what we need of him, so he's in a really good place."
With Thomas out of action and Kam Chancellor yet to report to training camp, it's been DeShawn Shead and Steven Terrell who are taking advantage of the team's next-man-up mentality.
"Obviously it's been a great opportunity for them," said Richard. "They've been doing a fantastic job. DeShawn Shead, Steven Terrell, those are guys we have starting right now for us and they've been around, so they understand exactly what we need from them and they've been doing a great job."
2. He's Embracing His New Gig
Richard was elevated to Seattle's defensive coordinator earlier this year after spending three seasons (2012-14) in charge of the team's secondary, a group that's produced a trio of All-Pro playmakers in Chancellor, Thomas, and cornerback Richard Sherman. He replaces Dan Quinn, the Seahawks' defensive coordinator from 2013-14 who accepted the head coaching job with the Atlanta Falcons the day after Super Bowl XLIX. This season, Richard said his responsibilities to the secondary will remain the same, but he'll have a much bigger voice in determining how the entire defense will operate.
"This is grace, there's no doubt about it," Richard said. "I recognize the real blessing that I have before me here. When I set off on coaching from day one, I wanted to be the absolute best coach that I could be in whatever position that I was in. That was what I was going to be locked into. Of course there are aspirations to move on and ahead and do all that stuff right there, but that's too far out in the future. I am focused on the things that are right out in front of me right now because that is what is going to help this football team be our best and if we're all locked in and if we're all focusing on the next day, that's when we give ourselves the best chance to be successful."
3. They're Working To Fill Tony McDaniel's Role
Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, who was released yesterday on the heels of contract extensions for Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, started 29 of the 32 games he played for the Seahawks the past two seasons. He tallied 82 tackles, 2.0 sacks, and two passes defensed in that time, numbers the Seattle defense is working to replace in the early stages of camp.
Ahtyba Rubin, signed in free agency from the Cleveland Browns this offseason, is one of the leading run-stuffing candidates to replace McDaniel in the starting lineup. Richard mentioned Demarcus Dobbs as another option on Monday, but the Seahawks defensive coordinator said the coaching staff will use the players' day off this Tuesday to assess the situation.
"Right now there isn't anyone down in particular that we've penciled in to be the replacement," Richard said. "But we'll end up figuring it out. Right now those are the guys that come to mind. Ultimately again, we have to sit down as a staff and make those decisions."
A new cornerback joined the team on Day 4 of Seahawks Training Camp presented by Bing.