RENTON – The student replaces his mentor this weekend as second-year cornerback Walter Thurmond is slated to get his second consecutive start with veteran Marcus Trufant on the season-ending injured reserve with a back injury.
With Trufant out, Thurmond started for the first time this season two weeks ago against the New York Giants. He got beat for a touchdown but also had a chance at an interception, finishing with a combined three tackles, two pass deflections and a forced fumble.
“I got comfortable out there,” Thurmond said. “I was able to get my feet wet, and I was just able to make plays. And I just want to continue that on throughout the rest of the season.”
Thurmond said he regularly sought out Trufant’s advice on technique and how to play certain receivers, but now he’ll have to learn on the job as he’s in the starting lineup.
“Just understanding route concepts and different defenses,” said Thurmond, when asked how Trufant helped him in his first two years in the league. “Studying the different offensive coordinators and knowing what type of systems they like to run. He’s been very helpful in just helping me grow since I’ve been here last year.”
The Seahawks drafted Thurmond in the fourth round of last year’s draft as a potential starter at cornerback, and felt comfortable enough about his progress that they traded Josh Wilson to Baltimore last season.
Thurmond played in 13 games, starting one, and finished with 33 combined tackles and seven pass deflections in his rookie season.
“Walter will jump in right now and assume that starting role and we’ll expect him to play right through and live up to it,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “And Walter expects nothing less than that.”
The University of Oregon product is part of a young starting secondary that, although inexperienced, has the potential to make big plays.
The Seahawks have five interceptions and have given up just six passing touchdowns this season, tied for fourth overall.
Seattle gave up 31 passing touchdowns last year, third-worst in the league.
“We know we’ve got playmakers back there, so it’s time for them to step up,” linebacker Leroy Hill said. “We’re all professionals here. So everybody’s ready to play, and we’ve just got to move on. It’s part of the game.”
SEAHAWKS’ NEXT OPPONENT
10 a.m. Sunday, Browns Stadium
Against the Seahawks: Seattle holds an 11-5 advantage in the series but lost the last meeting between the two teams, 33-30 in overtime on Nov. 4, 2007, in Cleveland. Seattle has a 4-2 record at Cleveland.
Stats and stuff: Seattle is the first NFC opponent Cleveland will face this season. With wins over Indianapolis and Miami, the Browns’ victories came against teams with a combined 0-10 record. Cleveland has just eight plays longer than 20 yards, the fewest in the league. The Browns ran the ball well last year behind bruising runner Peyton Hillis, who is currently injured, but are averaging just 81.6 yards a game, 30th overall. There are plenty of folks with Seattle ties in the Cleveland organization, starting with former longtime Seahawks head coach and Browns president Mike Holmgren. Joining Holmgren are former Seattle offensive coordinator Gil Haskell (senior adviser to the president) and former Hawks receivers coach Keith Gilbertson (senior assistant), former Seattle defensive line coach Dwaine Board and ex-Hawks defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes (senior assistant). Former Seattle quarterback Seneca Wallace and center Steve Vallos also are on Cleveland’s active roster. Seattle quarterbacks coach Carl Smith served two stints with the Browns for a total of five seasons (2001-03 and 2009-10) as the team’s quarterbacks coach. Seahawks assistant director of college scouting Eric Stokes was selected by the Browns in the 1999 expansion draft. Seahawks assistant strength and conditioning coach Jamie Yanchar spent three seasons (1986-88) with the Browns as a volunteer strength coach and is a Cleveland native. Seahawks offensive lineman Paul Fanaika spent the first 13 weeks of the 2010 season on the Browns’ practice squad.
Quotable: “He’s a young player working through what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. I think his confidence level is high, and he’s disappointed we lost.” – Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur on quarterback Colt McCoy, who has completed less than half of his passes in three of his five starts this season.
Eric D. Williams, staff writer
Sept. 11Bengals 27, Browns 17
Sept. 18Browns 27, Colts 19
Sept. 25Browns 17, Dolphins 16
Oct. 2Titans 31, Browns 13
Oct. 16Raiders 24, Browns 17
Oct. 30at San Francisco
Nov. 6at Houston
Nov. 13St. Louis
Nov. 27at Cincinnati
Dec. 8at Pittsburgh
Dec. 18at Arizona
Dec. 24at Baltimore
Jan. 1 Pittsburgh