RENTON, Wash. – For the second straight week, Brandon Browner was struggling.
After a rough game in Indianapolis, the Tennessee Titans were not shying away from going after the Seattle Seahawks cornerback.
Pete Carroll felt Browner needed a break. So for most of the second quarter last Sunday, Browner was a spectator on the sideline in the role of student.
Most teams don’t possess the depth in the secondary where a starter and former Pro Bowl selection can be given a break such as Browner was. But it’s another sign of the depth the Seahawks have built in a secondary that remains among the best in the NFL.
While cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas are the All-Pros of the group, there is other talent surrounding the pair that elevates the status of the group.
“We have tremendous depth and tremendous competition at these spots. We have not hesitated , and we have not faltered at all when guys have come off the bench to play,” Carroll said.
“We all know that, our players know that too, our guys are good. There’s no reason not to let those guys play.”
That depth could be even more important this week when the Seahawks make the quick turn on a short week and travel to Arizona on Thursday night, having to face a Cardinals offense that won’t be leery of challenging Seattle’s secondary.
While the Cardinals were routed 58-0 in their trip to Seattle last December, they have won six of the past seven played at home against the Seahawks.
“The coaching staff and the trainers are doing a great job of toning down practice and allowing us to get our legs back for Thursday,” Seattle CB Walter Thurmond said.
Thurmond was called upon to step in when Browner took a break against the Titans.
Tennessee was targeting Browner a week after the Colts had used formations to get favorable matchups with speedy T.Y. Hilton against Browner in coverage. The Titans used Kendall Hunter in the same position and he beat Browner twice in the first quarter.
That’s when Carroll made the switch. He inserted Thurmond while Browner watched.
It wasn’t a demotion, just a chance for Browner to refocus.
“I wanted to make sure that we got it clear to him what was going on, what was happening,” Carroll said.
“They got up on top of him on two different plays there, and I just wanted to make sure he was clear. We have great guys to throw in the game to take care of business, and that’s what happened.”
Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn reiterated the Seahawks have complete confidence in Browner. Quinn was impressed with how he responded when Browner was put back in at the start of the second half.
“That was the main theme, let’s get back, get it under control in terms of the style (he) plays,” Quinn said. “… Right when he went back in he was playing just as you thought he would.”
Browner started the second half and Thurmond returned to his usual role of being the Seahawks nickel defensive back.
Thurmond impressed coaches so much during training camp they went ahead and cut veteran Antoine Winfield.
The Seahawks have also not shied from using Byron Maxwell as a fourth cornerback in some defensive packages.
Seattle also did better in not giving up big plays. After allowing Indianapolis to convert six plays of 16 yards or more, the Titans had just two.
“I think they could start for a lot of these teams in the league and that’s how they play,” Sherman said. “They come in with confidence and I think their confidence level and the confidence of our coaches in them to bring them in allows them to play like they do.”
Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch did not participate in practice on Tuesday with a hip injury. The team inadvertently announced that Lynch missed practice with an ankle injury but corrected the mistake. Lynch’s hip kept him out of practice last Friday, but he played without limitations against the Titans on Sunday. … TE Zach Miller, who missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, was a full participant in practice.
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