After a brutal leg injury versus the Carolina Panthers on December 4 dashed his hopes of finishing the 2017 season, safety Earl Thomas contemplated retirement immediately after per this tweet:
Thankfully, for him and football fans alike, Thomas has announced that he will return next season after this setback.
This game has been so good to me no regrets.. A lot is running through my mind including retirement thanks for all the prayers.
— Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas) December 5, 2016
Looking at the big picture, this is awesome news. But for the Seahawks and the football world living in the present, Thomas is still out for the rest of this season. As Seattle enters their Divisional Round matchup with the high-scoring Atlanta Falcons, his presence will be dearly missed.
Thomas is the main cog that allows that defense to function. Seattle is known for its man-to-man coverage schemes, and it’s Thomas who allows their corners to feel comfortable on that island. They know that if their receiver beats them, he will be there to clean it up along with Kam Chancellor.
In addition to his ball-hawking abilities in the secondary, what also makes Thomas special is his physicality to where he is also able to play in the second level with the linebackers and make one-on-one tackles with running backs and tight ends on run plays and medium yardage routes.
His overall characteristics of speed, quickness, strength, and awareness make him one of the top defenders in the game. He would be missed on any team, especially in the playoffs where the most physical teams usually prevail.
Matching up with the Lions last week, the Seahawks, without Thomas, were a bend-but-don’t-break defense, giving up a lot of yards but only allowing 13 points. Playing the Falcons this week, they need to be much better and their pass defense needs to be much tighter because they’re dealing with the two-headed monster of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, who constituted the best Pass-Catch combination in the league this season.
With Thomas, the Seahawks defense is all time great, and the threat of Ryan-to-Jones isn’t as daunting. Without Thomas, the defense has flaws that a great combination will be able to exploit and rack up some yardage and points on.
Thomas is a true game changer for the Seattle Seahawks; it’s a shame that we won’t be able to see that until next season.
How do you think the Seahawks will fare without Thomas in the playoffs? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3