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Earl Thomas discusses complexity of Seahawks defense

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Minicamp Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

For much of the past year fans of the Seattle Seahawks have lamented the fact that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer runs an offense that many have labeled simplistic or otherwise lacking in complexity. It’s been no secret that part of what Pete Carroll likes to do is to out execute the opponent so that even if the opposition knows what’s coming, there’s nothing that they can do to stop it.

This has been a big piece of the defensive philosophy Pete Carroll brings to the table, as for years the Seahawks have run a cover-3 defense with Earl Thomas protecting the Hawks from the deep ball. Unfortunately, severe injuries derailed Thomas’ ability to provide a shield of protection over the top in two of the past three seasons, and in 2019 Thomas will roaming center field for the Baltimore Ravens.

When asked about the differences between playing in Pete Carroll’s defense versus what he is being asked to do for the Ravens, Thomas’ response was rather candid.

Part of the reason, obviously, that the Hawks were able to run so much cover-3 was the fact that All World free safety Earl Thomas was patrolling center field for the team. Basically, Carroll had one of the best safeties in NFL history deployed in the Seahawks scheme, and with Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor also in the defensive backfield, the Hawks didn’t need to be complicated.

That trio was talented enough to run a lot of cover-3 and out execute the opponent, and now that Thomas has moved on it’s likely that fans will see the defense shake up its coverage once again, just like in 2018 following the loss of Thomas to a broken leg in Week 4. In any case, whether it’s cover-3, cover-2 or whatever coverage variant becomes the Hawks primary in 2019, it will be up to Coach Carroll to attempt to replicate the success of his secondary from earlier in his tenure with Seattle.