Earl Thomas and Bobby Wagner have played a lot of snaps together. In fact, during Sunday’s 42-7 loss to the LA Rams, I thought to myself several times, “At least the Seahawks have Thomas and Wagner, two of the best under-30 players in the entire NFL.” And that remains true — Even if the 2017 season ends up being a totally lost campaign, Seattle will return next year with two Hall of Fame talents who are still in their prime.
At least, if they don’t push one another out of town because they hate each other so much, right?
During the loss, Todd Gurley scored four touchdowns and, from what I understand, had the best fantasy performance of any player this season. (I don’t play fantasy sports because ... I hate them.) That was uncharacteristic of any back against the Seahawks defense this season, which had held teams to just 3.1 yards per carry over the last two months, best mark in the league. However, K.J. Wright was out and Wagner was still slowed down by an injury, which was easily evident on a 57-yard touchdown run by Gurley that really broke the spirit of the defense and the crowd.
Thomas was open about it after the loss, saying that Wagner should not have been playing.
Earl Thomas doesn't think All-Pro LB Bobby Wagner should have played with bad hamstring for #Seahawks in blowout loss to Rams. "The backups would have done just as good." @thenewstribune pic.twitter.com/svmgAOE3D5— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) December 18, 2017
I guess Wagner didn’t like his teammate telling him he shouldn’t have been on the field.
Oh great pic.twitter.com/ajckL8e3IG— Ben Baldwin (@guga31bb) December 18, 2017
Wagner deleted the tweet, which is a good move for keeping people from retweeting and quote-tweeting something that you don’t want to continue getting notifications for, but obviously will never erase it from history or the internet. (Maybe Wagner will get lucky and the repeal of net neutrality will stop people from wanting to use the internet at all.) Former Seahawks center Robbie Tobeck had some thoughts on talking about another player’s injury, saying that it is not Thomas’ job to do so.
Another players opinion on an injured teammate should be kept to himself or private. The head coach and that player are the ones that should be making comments concerning. It’s not your job to give quotes that aren’t boring when it comes to someone else’s injury. https://t.co/EtKAn1Gt2r— Robbie Tobeck (@RobbieTobeck) December 18, 2017
All in all, Thomas may be in the wrong. He may also have made an entirely valid point. It may have also made entirely no difference at all; Wagner was too slow to do what Wagner normally does, but doesn’t that mean that Michael Wilhoite and Terence Garvin are also too slow to do what Wagner normally does? Bobby Wagner is an elite middle linebacker, there’s basically nobody who can replace him, including a slowed down Wagner.
Either way, this “feud” doesn’t mean much at all. If anything, it was a very cordial feud. Thomas said that “Wagz” is a great player, but he wasn’t great today. Wagner may have said that Thomas was “jealous of other people(s) success” but also that he hopes Earl keeps ballin’! By this morning, I’m sure both will start coming down from the depths of a loss like 42-7 at home to a division rival and will be sending bitmojis to one another.
This loss, and moments like calling out your teammates, may bring out the best in the 2017 Seattle Seahawks in the next two weeks. It definitely does not have to sink them or keep them from a 10-6 finish that will at least give them another double-digit win season, if not a playoffs berth. I think the team misses Richard Sherman even more than they expected, and they continue to learn more and more about themselves even as the defense and run game falls further and further from the competitive versions of those units that they used to be.
To that I say: “Keep my name IN yo mouth.” Continue to talk about each other, with each other, and for each other — not necessarily for the media — so that you can get better beside one another. Because Wagner and Thomas still have many, many games to play with each other.