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Originally published Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 9:00 PM

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Raheem Brock gives pass rush a boost | Seahawks notebook

Raheem Brock isn't as big as the 300-pounders Seattle started at defensive end earlier this season. But Brock has increased Seattle's pass...

Seattle Times staff reporters

RENTON — Raheem Brock isn't as big as the 300-pounders Seattle started at defensive end earlier this season.

But Brock has increased Seattle's pass rush, part of a schematic adjustment that followed the season-ending injuries to Red Bryant and Junior Siavii.

Bryant began this season playing the defensive-end spot Seattle refers to as the five-technique, lining up against the strong side of the offensive line. A former nose tackle, Bryant was a huge run-stopper, anchoring the run defense alongside nose tackle Colin Cole.

Bryant was lost for the season to a knee injury in Week 8 at Oakland. Siavii eventually replaced him, but he suffered a season-ending injury against Atlanta.

That leaves Brock getting more time at that spot, and while he weighs just 274 pounds, he has added giddy-up from the outside.

"It helps us get more rush on first and second down," Brock said.

The Seahawks finished with a season-high six sacks at Chicago on Oct. 17, but that was the result of a heavy diet of blitzes Seattle threw out in obvious passing situations. Strong safety Lawyer Milloy had two sacks and safety Jordan Babineaux had one sack for a safety. Seattle might be able to provide pressure without resorting to blitzes this week, which would free it up to try different coverages.

Safety first

If rookie Earl Thomas thought it couldn't get any bigger than playing for Texas in the BCS title game, he found out different last week when the Seahawks beat New Orleans.

"They are similar," he said. "There's a certain buzz in the air. ... But the atmosphere (for a playoff game) goes a little bit higher."

Also altering the dynamic a bit for Thomas is that he's been used more in what are essentially cornerback roles the last few weeks, guarding receivers in one-on-one coverage.

Thomas, though, said it's not a big adjustment. He played some corner at Texas before being moved to safety. The last few weeks he's put those skills to use covering slot receivers.

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"I did that a lot at Texas, in the box covering slots in nickel personnel as well as regular personnel, so it's just the same thing," he said. "With me, if I know where my help is it's just 'let's play ball,' and I know when I can gamble or when I have to play it safe. It's all the same to me."

Notes

• Linebacker Lofa Tatupu did not practice on Thursday, but still could play this weekend. He suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter Saturday, but his recovery is proceeding well and he is expected to play, according to Carroll.

• Seahawks quarterback coach Jedd Fisch will leave after the season to become offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Miami. That's Miami in Florida, though quarterback Matt Hasselbeck took a playful jab at Fisch saying he wished him all the best "at Miami-Ohio."

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