Tharold Simon is among the Seahawks' cornerbacks eager to get back on the field Saturday night at San Diego.
Expect the Seahawks’ starters to play a bit longer in Saturday’s preseason game at San Diego, going at least a series into the third quarter in a contest that is regarded as a dress rehearsal for the regular season.
What won’t be as long as Seattle’s injured list, especially at cornerback.
Last Friday at Kansas City, seven Seahawks’ cornerbacks were listed as not suiting up for the game.
Saturday, that number could be down to just one or two as the likes of Richard Sherman, Will Blackmon, Tharold Simon and Marcus Burley should all be back.
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For Sherman, Blackmon and Simon it will be their first action of the preseason. Sherman sat out the first two weeks resting a hip flexor injury while Blackmon was nursing a groin. Each, however, has gotten lots of work during the off-season.
Simon, meanwhile, was on the physically unable to perform list until last week while recovering from off-season surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, an injury dating to a game last December at Arizona when he was hurt in sort of a freak accident in the final minutes of a 35-6 win.
“I just was trying to come out of a break and I slipped and I tried to catch myself and the shoulder just came out,” Simon said.
He had surgery shortly after the season and has been rehabbing since, which makes the final two preseason games vital for Simon, a fifth-round pick in 2013, to round back into playing shape.
And once he does, Simon says his eyes are set on competing with Cary Williams for the starting cornerback spot opposite Sherman.
The team signed Williams, who started the last two years for the Eagles before becoming a free agent, to a three-year, $18 million contract, and that investment alone has had many assuming he’ll get the starting role this season.
But Simon hopes to make it a tough decision. At 6-3, 202 pounds, Simon fits the favored Seattle “big cornerback” mold as well as any young corner on the roster. And a good performance in the shutdown win at Philadelphia (when Maxwell was moved inside to play the slot on Jordan Matthews) indicated that Simon was on the rise.
Now to prove it again on the field and try to beat out Williams.
“Oh yeah, it’s a competition out there right now,’’ Simon said. “You know, Cary has been out there for a while, he knows what is going on, he is doing everything he has to do, doing everything right. We love him out there. … But we are all fighting to play. Even if he’s a starter, I’m fighting still.’’
Simon started five games last season, including four in which Maxwell was either sidelined or limited due to injury. But Simon said he knew the team would likely sign a veteran to compete to replace Maxwell and wasn’t bothered by the acquisition of Williams.
Simon said he told people that “no matter who they are going to bring in, the only way somebody is going to probably start over me is if it’s (Darrelle) Revis or (somebody like) that. Sooner or later, I will be ready to go.’’
The comment falls in line with what Simon says is a necessary trait of cornerbacks of having “short term memory’’ to overcome the inevitable bad plays,
That served Simon well in moving past a few tough plays from Seattle’s post-season — Simon was on the defending end of two touchdown passes by Carolina in the NFC divisional playoff game and two more in the Super Bowl, the latter coming when he was pressed into duty after a first-quarter injury to nickelback Jeremy Lane (Maxwell moved inside to the nickel with Simon taking over for Maxwell outside).
“I played real well in the season until we got to the playoffs,” Simon said. “Those games really brought my attention that you’ve got to go out there and play ball and know what is going on and always be ready.”
While the shoulder injury bothered Simon a little bit in the Super Bowl — particularly after taking a friendly fire hit from Earl Thomas on New England’s first touchdown —- he says “they (the Patriots) just had a better night that night than I was. I guess they was just a little bit more prepared than I was. I’ll know next time to come out prepared, ready, even if I’m not starting.’’
Simon says the shoulder is 100 percent but that he just needs more snaps to get ready for the season, a process that should start in San Diego.
“I mean, it’s just gaining confidence,” he said. “Last year was kind of thrown in there here and there and really couldn’t have my confidence built up because one week I’m playing, the next week I might not play, probably just special teams. Then I’m thrown in there maybe somebody goes down. I couldn’t really get comfortable or confident with my play. But this year it’s a totally different level. Even though I’m not out there starting now, I’ve always got to be ready to go.”