RENTON So what do the Seahawks think of Jeremy Lane complaining on social media about being benched while still coming back from injury?
What do the veteran cornerback’s coaches think of him writing this on Tuesday for all to see?:
And three mintues later: “S*** ridiculous”?
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What’s Lane’s status now, after that odd venting--and after two games of being hurt and looking up at rookie Shaquill Griffin playing right cornerback and Justin Coleman at nickel back instead of him?
“He’s on this football team,” Kris Richard, Lane’s defensive coordinator and former position coach, said Thursday following practice for Sunday’s home game against Houston.
OK, so Lane’s still got that going for him.
With his contract guaranteeing him $4 million this season no matter what, he’s not exactly easy to trade.
“He’s a competitor,” Richard said, echoing his head coach from the day before. “It’s just one of those things to where you would expect a guy to be frustrated.
“But he’s a competitor. And we don’t expect him to do anything but come back and keep battling and do everything that he’s done from day one since he’s been here.”
Wednesday, coach Pete Carroll sounded the same competition theme--while saying Lane has to earn back his jobs.
“He wants to play. And he had not had that chance to practice,” Carroll said of Lane’s strained groin.
“With a guy coming off a groin, he’s got to go (Wednesday) and (Thursday) and Friday and see how he recovers from these days, and see if he’s ready by game day. And we don’t know that yet, but he’s battling to come on back.
“And this place is about competition, and there is competition going on both sides. He has had really good play at the positions that he vacated and those guys are doing a good job, which is exactly what we want.
“So, he just wants to play.”
Asked if Lane has indeed lost his starting spot and needs to earn it back, Carroll said: “Everybody is. That’s how it goes. We don’t have a rule around here that if you’ve been in your spot, you get it forever. That’s not the way it works. You work.
“Central theme in the program.”
Of course, it wouldn’t exactly work that way if, say, $87.6 million quarterback Russell Wilson ever missed a game due to injury, which he has yet to do in his six-year career. It’s not the way it’s worked when defensive cornerstones Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas have been injured the last couple seasons.
Thing is, Lane is not a defensive cornerstone. Not after his 2016, his first season after signing a four-year, $23 million extension. He was wholly underwhelming, missing coverages and tackles and seeming to take his job as nickel for granted while DeShaun Shead held down the right cornerback spot. Carroll said this summer Lane had shown over the offseason and during the preseason he had matured and responded well to last year. Seattle needed him to, with Shead still out following reconstructive knee surgery in late January.
And Lane needed to respond, for himself. After this season, the final two years of his deal contain no guaranteed money. The Seahawks can save $4.75 million of his $7.25 million scheduled charge against the 2018 salary cap by releasing him after this season ends.
No need to remind Lane of that. That is likely the source of his frustration now.
“Jeremy Lane had a fantastic offseason,” Carroll said at the start of training camp. “He made a big shift in his mentality and his approach. He is so serious. He studied so much. He has applied himself in his conditioning work, his strength work, his focus on the field.
“He has been fantastic. You ask anyone in the program and they will tell you Jeremy Lane is on fire right now. I think he sees the opportunity and he wants to go for it and he wants to own it and we couldn’t ask for more. He is off to a great start and he looks fantastic.”
That was then.
In this season’s opening game Lane got ejected for getting into it unnecessarily with Green Bay wide receiver well away from rookie teammate Nazair Jones’ interception of Aaron Rodgers and eventual return for a what would have been a touchdown without that and Cliff Avril’s penalty for a hit on Rodgers. The Seahawks never did score a touchdown that September day in the 17-9 loss at Lambeau Field.
Lane started games two and three, against San Francisco and at Tennessee, at right cornerback and played inside at nickel in passing situations. Then early in the Oct. 1 game against Indianapolis, he injured his groin. Griffin, the third-round pick from Central Florida who has impressed since the first day of rookie minicamp in May with his poise, knowledge and physical tools, took over at cornerback that night. And Coleman, acquired in a trade from New England at the end of the preseason, played nickel. He returned his first Seahawks interception for a touchdown to spark the win over the Colts.
Griffin and Coleman haven’t looked back since. They’ve been welcome additions, if not at times revelations knocking down passes and making sure tackles to prevent first downs.
Lane has been left with a bad look, online, on the field and so often lately in the training room. After his full practice participation Wednesday he was limited Thursday, according to the team’s practice report.
That injury to his finger is knew. No word on whether it was from using his middle one too much this week over his situation.
That doesn’t bode well for what Carroll said about Lane’s recovery before Wednesday’s practice.
“He’ll go full load (Wednesday) and we will see how it goes, and then we will see what (Thursday) tells us and go from there.”
Signs are Griffin and Coleman will be playing against Sunday against the Texans.
And Lane may still be thinking “S*** ridiculous.”