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August 30, 2014 at 7:34 PM

Seahawks depth chart: Earl Thomas No. 1 punt returner

The Seahawks released a new depth chart after cutting their roster to 53 players on Saturday, and while there’s not much unexpected, there are a couple of things worth highlighting:

  • Starting safety Earl Thomas is listed as the team’s No. 1 punt returner. That has been one of the offseason’s most interesting developments to watch because Thomas’ attempt at returning punts has been so polarizing. Even some Seattle players have expressed skepticism about not wanting Thomas to return punts because he’s too valuable. But he busted a long return against the Bears in the preseason last week, and it appears coach Pete Carroll is ready to give him the job. If nothing else, that should be a talker for most of the season. Cornerback Richard Sherman is listed as the No. 2 punt returner, although he hasn’t returned any punts in the preseason.
  • Robert Turbin is listed as the No. 2 running back behind Marshawn Lynch. Turbin has fended off the supremely talented but inconsistent Christine Michael for the second straight year. Michael said he is focusing on the small details that have cost him playing time in the past — knowing who to block, making the right read or cut. But the Seahawks still don’t fully trust him, despite how explosive he has proven to be since the Seahawks drafted him in the second round. At the core of the backup battle, Turbin is just more reliable right now.
  • Alvin Bailey is listed as both the backup left tackle and right tackle. The Seahawks kept undrafted rookie tackle Garry Gilliam, but he is still raw and it’s likely the Seahawks will treat him like they did Benson Mayowa a year ago: Keep him stashed on the roster and redshirt him in the hopes that he develops.
  • Ricardo Lockette is listed ahead of Paul Richardson on the  depth chart. Not too surprising but interesting. Richardson has been explosive and is unbelievably fast, but he still is a work in progress.
  • While Brock Coyle is listed as Bobby Wagner’s backup at middle linebacker, that’s not entirely accurate. If Wagner is forced to miss time, K.J. Wright will slide inside to play middle linebacker while Malcolm Smith and Bruce Irvin will then man the outside linebacker spots.
  • Greg Scruggs is listed as a defensive end. He’s played a ton of tackle, especially in passing and nickel situations, so far this preseason. That should continue again this season.
  • O’Brien Schofield is listed as a backup defensive end as well. Will he come in on third down or in nickel situations when Michael Bennett moves from defensive end to defensive tackle, or will Bruce Irvin rush off the edge like he did during his rookie season?

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