Bradley McDougald says he's relying on advice from Kam Chancellor as he takes over his spot at strong safety with the Seahawks.

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Bradley McDougald has been handed two of the hardest NFL tasks imaginable this season — stepping in for Seattle free safety Earl Thomas and strong safety Kam Chancellor.

It was something he signed on for willingly when he agreed to a one-year deal with the Seahawks in the offseason after starting the previous two seasons with Tampa Bay and then becoming a free agent.

As he said this week, his original thought was actually that the team might find ways to use him in packages where he would play with Thomas and Chancellor.

“When I originally came here, I had thoughts of being on the field with Earl and Kam,” he said. “You know, finding a position out there that suited me and enabled the defense to grow.”

But injuries have foiled that plan. McDougald first had to spell Thomas for two games when Thomas suffered a hamstring injury. And now he is taking the place of Chancellor for the rest of the season after Chancellor suffered a neck injury against Arizona.

McDougald has started the last four games in place of Chancellor. And while no one can be Chancellor, McDougald’s play has been more than good enough — he has 34 tackles in those four games and against the Eagles got credit for shutting down tight end Zach Ertz.

“I’m not those guys,” McDougald said. “I’m not Earl. I’m not Kam and I’ve had success without being those guys. So I just keep that in my back pocket and I go out there and I play my game. That’s about it. I just go out there and play my game. I don’t try to make things up. I don’t try and do anything outside of my job. I just do my job and then once you do that and once you make a couple plays doing your job, it looks good.”

What’s helped is his growing relationship with both Thomas and Chancellor.

McDougald says Chancellor has offered advice every step of the way.

“It’s huge,” McDougald said. “Kam is a great role model, great leader, it’s no question as to why he is a captain but more importantly, he is the type of player that can explain the game as a coach. It’s different for somebody that has actually been in the position and actually been in the shoes. A lot of players can’t really coach the next player behind them at their position because they just go out there and do it. It’s instinct. But Kam knows the game. He is really a student and he does a great job of breaking it down and telling me where my eyes need to be and just helping me play faster.”

How does his communication work with Chancellor?

“We’ve done it all,” he said. “Kam has been very flexible with this whole process in keeping me up to speed and keeping me locked in at the position. We’ve shared texts. I went to his house before. We’ve met after in the facility. I mean whatever it takes. I’m going to him, he is helping me out in this situation, so wherever he needs me to be type of situation.”

McDougald’s relationship with Thomas, meanwhile, is even more personal as the two are now manning the back end of the Seattle secondary for the rest of the season. Not since his rookie year in 2010 when Thomas played alongside Lawyer Milloy has he gone this many games without having Chancellor with him in the secondary.

McDougald smiled this week and said he knows Thomas is getting more comfortable with him since he actually laughed in his presence.

“I got him to joke on sideline actually, yesterday at practice,” he said. “So we are getting there. We are getting there. The more we talk and he likes it. He knows that chemistry takes time and you got to go out there and you got to fight and you got to go out there and get bloody with the guy next to you and over time, it will come. In games, when we are out there and we are communicating better and I think the trust is starting to grow more.”

“… Earl, the more I am playing with him, the more I am picking him up and I’m getting a good groove with him,” McDougald said. “I’m moving well with him out there. But yeah, Earl is a special player out there. I mean everyone knows that the way he prepares is special, how serious he takes the game is just special and he gets locked in to these places. But he has grown as a player and he knows that we have a lot of new faces out there so yes, open up and talking more and being more progressive for the people around him, but I love playing with him personally. But getting used to his ways and dealing with him and how he prepares for the game was different at first.”

Thomas is famously a lead-by-example type, leaving being named captain or giving pre-game speeches to others.

But McDougald revealed that coach Pete Carroll has asked Thomas to try to be a little more overt in his leadership with so many veterans gone.

“Pete knows that there’s a lot of new faces around there and he’s got in his (Thomas’) ear a little bit and just try and ease back on the focus a little bit and just try and bring the guys around you,” McDougald said. “Because when you got a guy like Earl Thomas and he comes up and says a couple words to you that can do wonders for a new guy that has only been out there three or four plays, maybe a series. He gives you a couple words of encouragement that could boost a lot of people’s morale so I think that is the real reason Coach and a lot of people want him to be more vocal.”