Earl Thomas and his Brilliant solution.

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  • It does when your talking about an all-pro. Our defense is better with ET playing his native position at FS, period. Our defense is better with Richard Sherman playing outside CB, period.

    It's easier to find a CB to play nickel, than to find another safety that can do what ET does. We get burned in the slot because ET, Sherm and Browner have their areas locked down. Every team has a weak spot.

    And to quote Jon Schneider: "We usually try not to move Pro Bowl players to different positions". And we're talking All-Pro here.
    Last edited by Basis4day on Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • If they did replace ET in those situations, I really don't care who it is as long as he's a DB with potential who had competition for the position and there's a net benefit in our teams ability to cover. If ET can cover the slot in man, it puts him in a position to deceive our opponents with what he's going to do at the line of scrimmage, like giving the appearance of a mismatch when there isn't one, producing a corner blitz, etc.
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  • Earl Thomas had a pick in each playoff game from the safety spot. He isn't going anywhere.

    But...his words put all on notice that he is well aware Triple OG isn't getting the slot job done, and needs to be replaced.
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  • BirdsCommaAngry wrote:If they did replace ET in those situations, I really don't care who it is as long as he's a DB with potential who had competition for the position and there's a net benefit in our teams ability to cover. If ET can cover the slot in man, it puts him in a position to deceive our opponents with what he's going to do at the line of scrimmage, like giving the appearance of a mismatch when there isn't one, producing a corner blitz, etc.


    Why can't we find your hypothetical DB with potential to play nickel corner? How is that not simpler or easier or more logical?
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  • Basis4day wrote:It does when your talking about an all-pro. Our defense is better with ET playing his native position at FS, period. Our defense is better with Richard Sherman playing outside CB, period.

    It's easier to find a CB to play nickel, than to find another safety that can do what ET does. We get burned in the slot because ET, Sherm and Browner have their areas locked down. Every team has a weak spot.

    And to quote Jon Schneider: "We usually try not to move Pro Bowl players to different positions". And we're talking All-Pro here.


    That Schneider quote is referring to full-time position changes, which is another topic and even within that topic he doesn't completely rule out the possibility of moving a player. By your absolute logic, teams are foolish for moving players around in any fashion, and Jared Allen has no business lining up at RDE, Carlos Rodgers and Revis have no business moving inside to cover Welker, and under no circumstance should an offensive coordinator include plays that call for an unbalanced line or putting a TE like Zach Miller in at HB (which absolutely killed WASH btw).
    Last edited by BirdsCommaAngry on Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • Basis4day wrote:Why can't we find your hypothetical DB with potential to play nickel corner? How is that not simpler or easier or more logical?


    We can but moving ET around may prove to be better (even if only in certain match-ups), and it's not about simple, easy, or subjective ideas pertaining to logic; it's about what's best for the team.
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  • BirdsCommaAngry wrote:
    Basis4day wrote:It does when your talking about an all-pro. Our defense is better with ET playing his native position at FS, period. Our defense is better with Richard Sherman playing outside CB, period.

    It's easier to find a CB to play nickel, than to find another safety that can do what ET does. We get burned in the slot because ET, Sherm and Browner have their areas locked down. Every team has a weak spot.

    And to quote Jon Schneider: "We usually try not to move Pro Bowl players to different positions". And we're talking All-Pro here.


    That Schneider quote is referring to full-time position changes, which is another topic and even within that topic he doesn't completely rule out the possibility of moving a player. By your absolute logic, teams are foolish for moving players around in any fashion, and Jared Allen has no business lining up at RDE, Carlos Rodgers and Revis have no business moving inside to cover Welker, and under no circumstance should an offensive coordinator include plays that call for an unbalanced line or putting a TE like Zach Miller in at HB (which absolutely killed WASH btw).


    No, what i am saying is that our entire defensive philosophy is based around ET playing the free roaming FS which is he. His centerfield coverage skills are what allow our other defensive backs like Kam and Browner to be effective.

    We have the FS position set, covered, end of story. What isn't settled is the nickel corner. Find me a DB to play nickel corner and don't offer ET as a solution. We need a permanent solution to upgrade nickel corner from Trufant, not a situational solution.
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  • BirdsCommaAngry wrote:
    Basis4day wrote:Why can't we find your hypothetical DB with potential to play nickel corner? How is that not simpler or easier or more logical?


    We can but moving ET around may prove to be better (even if only in certain match-ups), and it's not about simple, easy, or subjective ideas pertaining to logic; it's about what's best for the team.


    Whats best for our team is finding a 1st string nickel corner. Hopefully one that doesn't involved situational rotation of our starters.
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  • Basis4day wrote:
    No, what i am saying is that our entire defensive philosophy is based around ET playing the free roaming FS which is he. His centerfield coverage skills are what allow our other defensive backs like Kam and Browner to be effective.

    We have the FS position set, covered, end of story. What isn't settled is the nickel corner. Find me a DB to play nickel corner and don't offer ET as a solution. We need a permanent solution to upgrade nickel corner from Trufant, not a situational solution.


    No, a large chunk of our defensive philosophy is based around ET's versatility. You cite his more typical role of being a roaming, deep safety, but one of the more dominant reasons why ET gets the honors he does is his ability to get after RBs and make all those other plays that most safeties don't. Most importantly, he knows when and where to put himself beyond of his typical role with remarkable consistency. He's a master of calculated risks.

    Basis4day wrote:Whats best for our team is finding a 1st string nickel corner. Hopefully one that doesn't involved situational rotation of our starters.


    What's best for the team is overall improvement. Finding a better nickel back would suit this but we can do much more beyond this in preparation for events with this new nickel back like him sucking worse than Trufant, getting completely outmatched against certain players, getting injured, or if we want to give our opponents more and more to prepare for when facing us, or we want another trick up our sleeve for key situations. Get the picture?
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  • With our current roster, we are a better defense with Thomas at Safety and Trufant at Nickel than we are with Thomas at Nickel and anyone else at that safety spot. Now, we may not even have Trufant next year, and I'm sure JS and PC are looking to fill that role, be it through Thurmond (god I wish he'd stay healthy) or a second tier free agent pickup, or perhaps through better overall depth allowing for us to move someone else from backup corner to Nickelback. Any of these options seem far better and more likely than situationally moving Thomas and weakening our defense as a whole.
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  • kidhawk wrote:With our current roster, we are a better defense with Thomas at Safety and Trufant at Nickel than we are with Thomas at Nickel and anyone else at that safety spot. Now, we may not even have Trufant next year, and I'm sure JS and PC are looking to fill that role, be it through Thurmond (god I wish he'd stay healthy) or a second tier free agent pickup, or perhaps through better overall depth allowing for us to move someone else from backup corner to Nickelback. Any of these options seem far better and more likely than situationally moving Thomas and weakening our defense as a whole.


    Sure but that's only generally speaking. Take blackjack for example. When you get a 12 your instinct will be to hit and statistically speaking, you'd generally be correct. However, if the dealer is showing a 4, 5, or 6, your odds of winning are actually slightly higher if you stand. It's a rare situation but the net benefits of incorporating this into your play can be worthwhile in the long haul. That's the same analytic perspective I would like to think I'm taking when it comes to judging the possibilities of doing something like moving ET around in certain situations. Generally speaking he should be at FS but for guys like Welker who present a unique situation where our general tactics are insufficient, we might want to have something special incorporated into our play. This is, of course, assuming we are unable to find a different player to fill such a role (as good as JS is, this is still entirely possible).
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  • This thread just reminded me........

    It's the offseason.

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  • BirdsCommaAngry wrote:
    kidhawk wrote:With our current roster, we are a better defense with Thomas at Safety and Trufant at Nickel than we are with Thomas at Nickel and anyone else at that safety spot. Now, we may not even have Trufant next year, and I'm sure JS and PC are looking to fill that role, be it through Thurmond (god I wish he'd stay healthy) or a second tier free agent pickup, or perhaps through better overall depth allowing for us to move someone else from backup corner to Nickelback. Any of these options seem far better and more likely than situationally moving Thomas and weakening our defense as a whole.


    Sure but that's only generally speaking. Take blackjack for example. When you get a 12 your instinct will be to hit and statistically speaking, you'd generally be correct. However, if the dealer is showing a 4, 5, or 6, your odds of winning are actually slightly higher if you stand. It's a rare situation but the net benefits of incorporating this into your play can be worthwhile in the long haul. That's the same analytic perspective I would like to think I'm taking when it comes to judging the possibilities of doing something like moving ET around in certain situations. Generally speaking he should be at FS but for guys like Welker who present a unique situation where our general tactics are insufficient, we might want to have something special incorporated into our play. This is, of course, assuming we are unable to find a different player to fill such a role (as good as JS is, this is still entirely possible).


    I'm not quite sure what you are debating here. I said if you can tell me who will make the safety position strong enough so that a move of Thomas to Nickel (even situationally) makes the defense better as a whole, then that's fine. I just don't think that is a very likely scenario and nobody in this thread has yet to name a safety who completes the equation.
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  • I'd have to say I'm debating a difference of perspective. The occasional move from FS to corner seems more like moving Jared Allan back and forth between RDE to LDE, putting Aaron Curry at DT on passing downs, moving Carlos Rodgers and Revis in to cover the slot, etc. Others, including yourself, seem to view it as a more extreme and less potentially gainful adjustment with reasoning I only recall as a JS quote taken slightly out of context and some ideological differences.

    HansGruber wrote:This thread just reminded me........

    It's the offseason.

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  • Is anyone really suggesting that the FO would move ET to Nickel corner on a fulltime basis?
    Of course not, but much like Justin Smith often moves to a DT role on 3rd downs when the 49ers go with a Nickel defense, there's no harm in moving ET to nickel corner when the time is needed.

    Teams often look for slot receivers and have their wideouts run short routes to make the 1st down in those situations, safety is one of the least effective positions - yes we'd be at risk of giving up a deep shot - but ET is there to help out rather than make plays on his own, would you rather have had Winston Guy (a relatively speedy guy himself) helping out over the top and ET covering Tony Gonzalez on third downs and obvious passing situations, or vice versa? (Hint, the latter didn't work very well).

    Yes you lose ET's big play ability on 3rd down, but that's the least important down for snagging a deep interception as an incomplete pass will pretty much do the same thing
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  • themunn wrote:Is anyone really suggesting that the FO would move ET to Nickel corner on a fulltime basis?
    Of course not, but much like Justin Smith often moves to a DT role on 3rd downs when the 49ers go with a Nickel defense, there's no harm in moving ET to nickel corner when the time is needed.

    Teams often look for slot receivers and have their wideouts run short routes to make the 1st down in those situations, safety is one of the least effective positions - yes we'd be at risk of giving up a deep shot - but ET is there to help out rather than make plays on his own, would you rather have had Winston Guy (a relatively speedy guy himself) helping out over the top and ET covering Tony Gonzalez on third downs and obvious passing situations, or vice versa? (Hint, the latter didn't work very well).

    Yes you lose ET's big play ability on 3rd down, but that's the least important down for snagging a deep interception as an incomplete pass will pretty much do the same thing



    As the OP this is exactly what I was trying to say.
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  • themunn wrote:Is anyone really suggesting that the FO would move ET to Nickel corner on a fulltime basis?
    Of course not, but much like Justin Smith often moves to a DT role on 3rd downs when the 49ers go with a Nickel defense, there's no harm in moving ET to nickel corner when the time is needed.

    Teams often look for slot receivers and have their wideouts run short routes to make the 1st down in those situations, safety is one of the least effective positions - yes we'd be at risk of giving up a deep shot - but ET is there to help out rather than make plays on his own, would you rather have had Winston Guy (a relatively speedy guy himself) helping out over the top and ET covering Tony Gonzalez on third downs and obvious passing situations, or vice versa? (Hint, the latter didn't work very well).

    Yes you lose ET's big play ability on 3rd down, but that's the least important down for snagging a deep interception as an incomplete pass will pretty much do the same thing


    Earl already does other things on third down, he doesn't always stay deep on third down, but he does it from his safety position. Why move him to a nickel position which would basically remove his ability to cover large areas of the field, and replace him with someone who can't do the same? Earl does more than just "intercept deep passes". His mere presence can make the qb throw the ball to that check down or slot receiver. Moving Earl to the Nickel removes that and can allow for more big plays from the offense. If anyone actually listens to Pete, a big part of his defensive philosophy is to not allow the big plays down the field. Moving Thomas opens us up for those big plays. Having Earl do things like the occasional pass rush from his safety position surprises teams. Having him line up as the nickelback won't do that.
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  • DavidSeven wrote:I could actually see it working on a situational basis i.e. third downs only. Ideally, however, we'd just find a capable slot corner (you can usually find one deep in the draft or cheaply elsewhere) and let ET do his thing in deep coverage.



    Bingo, a huge reason the Hawks can get away with their press coverage is when Browner and Sherman get beat deep - Earl is usually able to make a play on the ball.
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  • I could see it, but Thomas is SO good at safety. He is a hard hitter, extremely athletic and has the best range I have ever seen along with sticky hands.

    It would take a pretty talented guy to fill that spot, but I wouldn't put anything past PC on defense. He knows it do well and does do some pretty cool things. With Kam out there, playing pass heavy teams something like that could really work.
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  • loafoftatupu wrote:I could see it, but Thomas is SO good at safety. He is a hard hitter, extremely athletic and has the best range I have ever seen along with sticky hands.

    It would take a pretty talented guy to fill that spot, but I wouldn't put anything past PC on defense. He knows it do well and does do some pretty cool things. With Kam out there, playing pass heavy teams something like that could really work.


    I can't agree with the bolded part of your quote. He dropped at least four interceptions this season and I think it might have been five.

    As far as Earl's comment, he also told Pete to "put him on offense" after scoring the Pick 6 against the Bills. Why aren't we debating that? Next season, Lane will probably be the one covering the slot receiver. I worry about him flipping his hips to his left as that is where he struggled a bit last season, but I think he can improve on that over the offseason.
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  • I think there's WAY too much sexual tension between Kid and the Angry Bird. You guys should just make out or something...

    But yeah, you may have noticed that we don't even carry a second FS on the roster. Jeron Johnson could probably fill in if needed in a pinch, but the drop off in talent would be devistating. I wouldn't be against moving Earl around situationally to take advantage of matchups (I can't imagine Tidus Young would have done what he done to us with ET in his grill) and to show opponents different looks, but without having somebody with even remotely similar range to ET (never mind ball skills) to take care of the back end it's a discussion that can't even take place.

    Again... this is why I was bummed Legree didn't work out. I'm sure a suitable back up to Earl is something that's on JS's shopping list again this year. Hope he finds one...
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  • CANHawk wrote:I can't imagine Tidus Young would have done what he done to us with ET in his grill) and to show opponents different looks, but without having somebody with even remotely similar range to ET (never mind ball skills) to take care of the back end it's a discussion that can't even take place.


    That's the thing. We needed ET and Kam to help with covering Calvin Johnson, which freed up other receivers like Young. Defensively you need to pick your poison. We got burned so much in the slot all year because of how good we could be in deep coverage.
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  • Basis4day wrote:
    CANHawk wrote:I can't imagine Tidus Young would have done what he done to us with ET in his grill) and to show opponents different looks, but without having somebody with even remotely similar range to ET (never mind ball skills) to take care of the back end it's a discussion that can't even take place.


    That's the thing. We needed ET and Kam to help with covering Calvin Johnson, which freed up other receivers like Young. Defensively you need to pick your poison. We got burned so much in the slot all year because of how good we could be in deep coverage.


    That is extremely true.

    However (and this all hinges on having even a semi-competent back up FS) if you switch up the look you're giving them from drive to drive, situation to situation, or even play to play, you keep your opponent guessing. That too is a big part of why Tidus Young beat the crap out of us; because they knew what we were doing on every play. They knew that Tidus was going to be wide open on every play because a) we sold out to bottle up Megatron and b) Tidus proved early that he could torch Marcus Trufant at will. By even the 2nd quarter Stafford knew he was going to be throwing to Young all game and we didn't really do anything to stop it.

    Now (and again this is all accademic as it hinges on using a player we don't even have) if even on a couple of plays we showed them Earl Thomas in the slot lined up head on against Tidus Young and our mystery safety (let's call him Carl) playing deep, that forces Stafford to take an extra second or three before the snap to diagnose what we're trying to do and a couple or three seconds after the snap trying to read what we actually did. Hell, with Earl and Carl's speed (I'm assuming Carl will be hella fast) we could show them Earl in the slot and have them quickly flip assignments right before the snap. Being able to do things like that keeps opponents guessing, gets them over thinking and hopefully results in some bad decisions and some delay of game penalties.

    All this is of course moot as we don't have the horses for it, but my point is that we should try to get to a point personnel wise where we can show opponents different looks and different coverages out of different personnel groupings to keep them honest. It's a chess match, it's all about disguising your actual intentions and trying to manipulate what your opponent does. Showing the same look play after play after play after play is just begging to be exploited, which Tidus did to us. It's also what Welker did to us and it's what Harvin would have done to us if Ponder wasn't complete and total ASS as a quarterback.

    Ideally we improve the nickel corner situation to eliminate those slot recievers killing us, but having the flexibility in the personnel to show them some out of the box looks to engineer QB's having a couple of "WTF moments" would be really benneficial too. You could generate a lot of picks that way if you can take advantage of some bad decisions that arise from the confusion.
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  • If we can draft a poor man's ET late, this isn't a bad idea.
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  • Maelstrom787 wrote:If we can draft a poor man's ET late, this isn't a bad idea.


    That's what I thought Legree was supposed to be. Oh well... keep looking I guess.
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