The Seahawks are in Green Bay this week to take on the Packers at Lambeau Field. Facing Aaron Rodgers in the snow will be the first test of the Legion of Boom minus their foundation, safety Earl Thomas.
I’ve ranted and raved about Earl Thomas before. If I ever get a real job, Thomas’ number 29 is the first jersey I’ll buy. Thomas is the tactical key to the Seahawks‘ simple cover three base defense. With ET3 using his finely honed anticipation skills and his 4.4 speed, everyone else can be more aggressive in locking down their sides of the field.
The Seahawks fared just fine in his absence against Carolina last week, cruising to a 40-7 victory despite Thomas being carted off in the second quarter. But Aaron Rodgers has had a week to prepare and figure out how to target Thomas’ replacement Steven Terrell.
As always, there’s a glass-half-full or empty outlook on how Terrell might fare filling Thomas’ shoes: Optimists will point to Terrell’s adequate play against Cam Newton and company. Pessimists will point to a stat that Danny Kelly at The Ringer pointed out on Tuesday: “Per NFL GSIS’s tracking, Seattle has given up just four deep completions over the middle of the field, and two of those came after Thomas had left the game on Sunday.”
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John Schneider also added some depth at safety this week by reuniting with Jeron Johnson, a possible hedge against Terrell or simply a safe move at safety. In any case, the Legion of Boom will be tested like never before without Thomas. The Seahawks have four games remaining in the regular season. After their date with the Packers tomorrow, they face their three division rivals. The Cardinals will likely test the defense with Bruce Arians’ patented huck the ball deep attack, but the 49ers’ and Rams’ passing attacks aren’t especially scary. Tomorrow will be the toughest test for Hawks defense all season.
Other Injuries and Snow
As of today, the forecast in Green Bay calls for a high temperature of 32 degrees and a 90 percent chance of snow accumulating six to eight inches on game day. Rodgers and his receivers will be prepared for the snow, but how well will Russell Wilson and the offense adapt? Wilson at least has some experience playing in the snow; his final year in college was at Wisconsin, but it’s tough to prepare for snowy conditions in Seattle, even after the recent snow flurry.
Linebacker Mike Morgan will return from a hip injury after a good week of practice. Fullback Will Tukuafu didn’t make it out of concussion protocol and will be replaced by former Husky receiver and Oakland Raiders fullback Marcel Reese, who was signed this week. With running back C.J. Prosise scheduled for more evaluations of his broken shoulder blade, Reese could absorb some passing down work out of the backfield. Wide receiver Paul Richardson is expected to return to the lineup this week.
Kickoff is at 1:25 p.m. on Fox.