Secondary Drama: Seattle’s Walter Thurmond Calls Out Wes Welker
By Rich Kurtzman
We’ve been hearing a lot from the Seattle Seahawks secondary lately.
Richard Sherman has quickly become a household name after his highly ridiculed rant to Erin Andrews following the Seahawks’ 23-17 victory over divisional rival the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday night in which he claimed himself the best cornerback in the NFL, among other things.
“Well, I’m the best corner in the game,” Sherman shouted during the postgame celebration. “When you try me with a sorry receiver like (Michael) Crabtree, that’s the result you’re going to get. Don’t you ever talk about me!” When asked by Andrews who was talking about him, Sherman responded, “Crabtree. Don’t you open your mouth about the best. Or I’m a shut it for you real quick. LOB.”
Sherman was fined $7,875 on Friday for the rant by the NFL.
Now his Seattle secondary teammate, cornerback Walter Thurmond, is speaking up, too. And just like Sherman, who trash-talked Crabtree, Thurmond is being critical of Wes Welker.
Welker, the Denver Broncos slot receiver extraordinaire, came across the middle against the New England Patriots and picked cornerback Aquib Talib, freeing Demaryius Thomas for a pass that was ultimately dropped anyway. But Talib was also dropped due to the “rub” play that more like a bone-jarring collision and he was done for the rest of the game with a knee injury.
On Monday, following the Broncos 26-16 AFC Championship Game victory over his Patriots, highly respected coach Bill Belichick called the play one of the worst he’s seen in 39 years of coaching.
“It was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib,” Belichick said Monday. “No attempt to get open. I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that. It’s not for me to decide. It was one of the worst plays I’ve seen.”
But Welker wasn’t fined by the league due to them determining the play was legal, prompting Thurmond to chime in.
“It was really uncalled for,” Thurmond told reporters Wednesday. “The receiver ran right into the guy. I don’t know the extent of the injury Talib had, but I thought we were supposed to protect football players in this league now. I guess not. I guess that only goes one way.”
“If you’re intentionally coming at somebody, it’s supposed to be a flag,” Thurmond continued. “But they didn’t throw the flag on him. Some players get away with a lot more than other players depending on status, but that’s just the nature of the game.”
Was it a “star” call, allowing one of the most recognizable names in Welker take out Talib and get away with it? Almost every high-powered NFL offense uses “pick” plays as a way to free receivers from defensive backs, though the officials don’t usually allow as much contact as the Welker-Talib encounter.
Either way, Thurmond expects the Broncos to try and pick him as well as his fellow defensive backs that make up their “Legion of Boom.”
“We play a lot of man coverage, so we know they’re going to have a lot of crossing routes like that,” Thurmond said. “We’re preparing for that situation to occur. We know that kind of contact is going to happen because we play so much man, and we’ll be ready for it.”
Certainly, this Super Bowl will be an interesting matchup, with Denver’s No. 1 offense of all-time against Seattle’s No. 1 defense of the season, and exactly how these teams play one another will be thrilling to witness. Something that may work to the Broncos’ advantage is throwing the bubble screen to Demaryius Thomas, allowing him to turn on the jets and possibly go for a long touchdown. Or maybe Manning and the offense will have something new up their sleeves.
We’ll all have to wait and see.
Super Bowl XLVIII kicks off at 4:30 p.m. MT on Sunday, February 2. ,
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Rich Kurtzman is a Denver native, Colorado State University alumnus, sports nerd, athletics enthusiast, and competition junkie. Currently writing for a multitude of websites while working on books, one on the history of the Denver Broncos and Mile High Stadium. Rich is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.