I'm guessing you may remember last month when Marshawn Lynch broke off a long run against San Francisco at CenturyLink Field and a helmet-less Earl Thomas came off the sideline to share a brief stare-down with the thumping running back.
Wednesday the All-Pro safety was asked what that was all about.
“It’s just a mutual understanding,” Thomas said.
“The biggest surprise for me out of this year is our relationship. I think since I’ve been here, we’ve never really connected. But I just decided to go talk to him and see what kind of guy he was.”
What did Thomas learn?
“I realize that, ‘Man this guy is just like me in a lot of ways,’” Thomas said. “He’s a dog—his whole demeanor. He’s a man amongst boys out there.”
Thomas said he was the one to approach Lynch at a practice earlier this season seeking this new connection.
“Yes—me listening to my inner voice,” Thomas said. “My inner voice is never wrong, so I did it.”
--I posted my main story from today's News Tribune, on Russell Wilson, in today's early blog item. Here is the Seahawks Notebook from today's paper, leading with Dan Quinn.
--Columinst Dave Boling writes how Carolina coach Ron Rivera has already talked to his team about the 2010 Seahawks doing what these Panthers have done: winning a division with a losing record then advancing in the playoffs.
"The truth of the matter is it's not how you get in," Rivera said of the postseason. "Just get in."
Those 2010 Seahawks went 7-9 yet won the NFC West on the final weekend of the regular season. They are the last double-digit underdog to win an NFL playoff game, beating defending Super Bowl-champion New Orleans as a 10-point underdog in January 2011. These Panthers went 7-8-1 yet won the NFC South. They are 11-point underdogs for Seattle on Saturday.
--USA Today's Jim Corbett has been with the Seahawks for three consecutive days, in their locker room and interview sessions before and after practices instead of parachuting in for a single postgame only. That separates him from about 99 percent of the rest of the league's national media. That is how he wrote what I see as this season's first accurate national story on the Seahawks' true feelings from the inside about Lynch. Richard Sherman is dead-on about perceptions in that.
--Michael Bennett, never one to be boring. Confusing, maybe, as in here. But never dull.
--Oh, yes, the Seahawks -- specifically their receivers -- notice that Carolina is starting two rookies in its secondary since the last time they played the Panthers, in late October. Doug Baldwin says it makes Carolina's defense more "athletic" in the back, which Rivera said was precisely the goal when he made the switches in early November.
--Here is the rest of Thomas from yesterday before practice. The Seahawks are back on the field in Renton this afternoon for the final full practice of the week:
S Earl Thomas
January 7, 2015
(On how Cam Newton has improved as a passer) I just think the speed (of the game) is slowing down for him—he’s an athlete, he relies on his legs, and we know what type of player he is. I just think every year, no matter what position you play, you’re going to grow and that’s what he’s done.
(On Carolina’s offense) I think they’re dynamic in a lot of ways—a lot of window dressing with trying to get you to run this way when they’re trying to run the other way. Obviously, Cam Newton is a threat—run or pass. It just calls for us to be on our keys and play disciplined football.
(On what makes the Panthers so tough) Cam Newton—his ability. It’s a lot of game planning when you play quarterbacks like this—I’d put him in the same quarterback as Colin Kaepernick.
(On the Panthers running game) It’s a little bit of [Jonathan] Stewart and also poor tackling—people are not tackling now this late in the season and this is where you show who you are and we’re a great tackling group so we expect a challenge and we’re looking forward to it.
(On maintaining tackling techniques) Me personally—I’m all imagination and creativity so this is right up my alley: You just visualize everything—you see yourself making those plays. Even when you’re at your locker, you just sit there, and close your eyes. I might go in and out seeing myself making routine plays that everybody think is great.
(On being an All-Pro) Legacy—I’m grateful for everything that this game brings. Obviously I love it, I put my heart into everything I do when it comes to football and I’m reaping the benefits from it.
(On he and Marshawn Lynch’s glare down with each other a few weeks back) It’s just a mutual understanding—the biggest surprise for me out of this year is our relationship. I think since I’ve been here, we’ve never really connected, but I just decided to go talk to him and see what kind of guy he was and I realize that, ‘Man this guy is just like me in a lot of ways.’
(On what else did he see out of Marshawn Lynch) He’s a dog—his whole demeanor. He’s a man amongst boys out there.
(On was he the one to break the ice with Marshawn) Yes—me listening to my inner voice. My inner voice is never wrong—so I did it.
(On when did the conversation happen) It was at practice where everything happens.
(On the team coming together) It’s just really a growing process—the more and more you face adverse situations, and you’re on the same team and you’re around the same people, we do a good job of not running away and we just grow. It may be some bitter moments, but at the same time we have a great responsibility to detach ourselves and understand the bigger picture and we do a great job of that.
(On this defense’s legacy motivating him) I’m motivated personally by myself—I play for my teammates, but that’s not enough so I just expect the positive.
(On he and Marshawn Lynch’s childlike approach to the game) Definitely—I feel like that with all the vets. They’ve found their love again and I’m glad to be a part of that—I think my spirit is very infectious. I just think when you talk to older guys and you see that they really love what they’re doing again—I love stuff like that.
(On the Panthers holding the Cardinals to 78 yards) My initial reaction was that we just laid out the blueprints for them—they saw us play first. I mean that’s been a trend—we play a team, the next opponent—the defense has a good understanding of what the offense is trying to do. Also, their two linebackers are great—two high motors, they fly around.
(On was it hard for him to rest during the bye week) I’m not anxious—I’m not anxious about anything. I’m just excited that we have another opportunity, we didn’t panic, we stayed true, and here we are.
(On Dan Quinn) He understands everybody’s strengths—he does a great job of sticking to who we are. I love Gus [Bradley] but he was more of a zone play caller, but we’re a pressure defense, we get up in your face, we challenge everything. With the athletes that we have, and the talent that we have—we have to play that way.
(On did he put an emphasis on that) Of course—and it’s his attitude. What he preaches in defensive meetings, I sit right next to him, and I just love guys like that—that really love what they do and are really humble to their players. He’s open and not many coaches are like that.