PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 18: Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is flipped over Walter Thurmond #28 of the Seattle Seahawks after catching a pass in the first half during the game on September 18, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Again, with Nate's permission I've moved his excellent Walter Thurmond 2011 Season Retrospective to the front page for further discussion and analysis. Thurmond is an exciting, albeit frustrating player in that he's made some great plays over two years and improved a lot in that time, but has had some very tough luck with injuries. He played well six games for the Seahawks last year - first at LCB then at the nickel cornerback spot that we've been talking about so much recently, but it looks like he'll start the year on the PUP list after suffering a setback in his recap from an awful leg injury suffered in Week 7 last year.
It's a bummer, because Thurmond is a very good corner - showing versatility enough to play outside (check out the play at 1:43, for example) or at nickel, in man or zone (here, for example). He plays up on the line or 15-yards off, almost like a safety. He's got the quicks that some of the Seahawks' other cornerbacks lack and when on the field in conjunction with Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, could conceivably do some damage. A lot of the tape below you'll see Thurmond in off-coverage and it might be a little bit frustrating, much like Marcus Trufant's tape is frustrating to watch, but with most of these looks, he's doing exactly what the defense calls for. Keep the receiver in front of you, prevent the big play, stop the run and blitz on occasion.
The lowlight is probably when he gets beat for a touchdown against the Giants and Hakeem Nicks on a perfectly thrown pass from Eli Manning, but even on that play, Thurmond is in position and right with Nicks - he just doesn't get his head around quick enough or his hands up fast enough. Overall, the gametape cutup is pretty positive and again, it's too bad he'll likely be out to start the year. Watch below too for a better idea on how the Seahawks plan to utilize guys like Jeremy Lane, Marcus Trufant, and Roy Lewis - depending on who wins the nickel spot, and it's a good look at some of the requirements needed for that position.
Thanks again to Nate for putting these together, too.