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Earl Thomas: Hawks need ‘tackling plan’ for Luck


By Alexander Bigelow
Special to

Andrew Luck has made one thing abundantly clear since his time at Stanford: He isn’t one to shy away from contact.

Whether it was the time he de-cleated USC linebacker Shareece Wright, or his constant willingness to break the pocket and scramble, Luck’s ability to run is something Seahawks safety Earl Thomas knows their defense is going to have to account for come Sunday.

luck spike

Colts QB Andrew Luck is known for his throwing ability, but the second-year player has racked up 381 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in 20 NFL games. (AP)

“When you talk about Luck, he is breaking tackles,” Thomas said Wednesday while on “Wyman, Mike and Moore” on 710 ESPN Seattle. “That is the crazy thing. He is breaking D-lineman tackles, making them looking like DB’s out there, so we definitely have to have a tackling plan when he escapes the pocket.”

Since entering the league as the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Luck has 381 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on 78 attempts, good for 4.9 yards per carry. For comparison’s sake, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has rushed for 620 yards and four touchdowns over that same stretch on 121 carries. Wilson’s per-rush average is only slightly higher than Luck’s at 5.1. And while Luck is no Michael Vick in terms of his frequency of running, he has still managed to be Indianapolis’ second-leading rusher with 126 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Another aspect of Luck’s game that has drastically improved in his sophomore campaign is his ability to limit turnovers. Luck led all rookie quarterbacks last year with 18 interceptions and nine fumbles, but has only turned the ball over twice thus far this season.

Thomas and the Seahawks’ secondary have no plans of allowing that nearly-spotless trend to continue.

“We want guys swarming to the ball like piranhas,” Thomas said. “We are dedicated to really working our craft and paying attention to little details. … When you prepare the way we prepare, that just builds confidence, and when people talk about being cocky, I don’t think that is the case at all. I just think it is the way we prepare.”

Seattle’s secondary is tied for second in the NFL with seven interceptions, with Thomas accounting for two of them. Both Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman also have two, with Sherman’s pick-six against Houston last week standing as a shining moment for a defense that sometimes struggled closing out games last season.

“We love (former Seahawks defensive coordinator) Gus (Bradley), and I want the best for him, but when it came to clutch situations (last season), we kind of got conservative,” Thomas said. “What I like about last game, and we learned about ourselves, we didn’t lose sight of who we were. We stayed aggressive, and it paid off for us. … We stuck to our guns.”