Seattle Seahawks

Personal matters cloud Earl Thomas’ availability for Week 3

Earl Thomas is one of last vestiges of Seattle’s Legion of Boom. That’s why the Seahawks desperately need him on the field against the Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas have a very weird relationship. The talented Seattle Seahawks safety has been connected with his home state team off and on throughout his entire career. Today, things got even stranger between Thomas and the Cowboys.

That’s because Thomas missed practice for Seattle on Friday for what Pete Carroll deemed to be something “personal in nature.” He specifically said his safety is not suffering from an injury, but he was decidedly noncommittal about Thomas’ status for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys.

The timing of the issue is almost certainly a coincidence. It’s not as if Thomas is going to sit out against the Cowboys due to some affection for them as a franchise. It’s still bad news for a Seahawks team that desperately needs a win on Sunday.

Carroll’s team has started the season 0-2, but both of their losses have come by a single score. It’s worth noting that both losses came on the road. The team certainly expected to get off to a better start, but it’s not time to start hitting the panic button.

Making the playoffs after an 0-2 start is very unlikely [Editor’s note: It only happens about 12 percent of the time in the Super Bowl Era.]. Securing a postseason berth after starting 0-3 almost never happens. That’s why the Seahawks have to place so much emphasis on beating the Cowboys this week. If Thomas can’t play, it’s going to make that job much more difficult.

While Thomas is a solid pass defender, he really shines as an in the box safety who can stifle the opponent’s ground game. There may not be a team in the NFL who depends on their ability to run the ball more than the Cowboys. Every bit of their offense is predicated on Ezekiel Elliott’s ability to grind out yards on the ground. Having Thomas on the field would be a big boost for Seattle’s hopes of keeping him in check.

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In the end, the Seahawks defense has the talent to survive without Thomas for this game. He’d be a huge help against the Cowboys, but the Dallas offense’s lack of dynamic playmakers will lessen the stress on Seattle’s defenders. The team cannot afford to play without Thomas for very long, though. His leadership in the secondary is vital for the Seahawks ability to recover from their slow start.

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