Seattle Seahawks: Breaking Down Who Fills the Void at Left and Right Cornerback
By now, we all know that Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Browner and his counterpart Richard Sherman have been hit with a four-game ban from the NFL for failing a league-administered drug test.
Both players tested positive for taking Adderall without having a proper prescription. However, both men have pleaded their innocence and say they never have touched the drug. According to Pro Football Talk, the players were just recently notified after being tested on a Monday in September.
I find it hard to believe that it takes two months to determine if a player passed or failed a drug test.
Unfortunately, the NFL operates the way it wants to and there is no rule as to when a player finds out about his test. Regardless of the appeals process and the speculation on a player's guilt or innocence, the show must go on for the Seahawks.
Currently, they are knee-deep in a playoff hunt that is coming to a close in just five weeks. Right now, Seattle is clinging to the sixth seed and would play the Bears if the playoffs started today. If the 'Hawks want to hold onto the sixth seed, they will need to probably win four of their last five.
Without Browner and Sherman, it would be tough to do. Accuscore gives the Seahawks a 50 percent chance of making the playoffs with both corners playing the rest of the season and a 39 percent chance without the cornerback duo.
accuscore gives Seahawks 50% to make playoffs with corners, 39% without...sounds reasonable.— Davis Hsu (@DavisHsuSeattle) November 26, 2012
Just as Davis Hsu of Field Gulls said, those numbers do sound pretty reasonable. So I beg the question: If Browner and Sherman are indeed suspended, who gives the Seahawks defense the best opportunity to succeed at left and right cornerback?
No. 28 Walter Thurmond has to be considered at left cornerback. I know he hasn't played since October of 2011, but he is finally healthy and what better time is there than right now?
I get why he has been inactive since his removal from the PUP, but with two players down, it's time to throw him into the fire.
The biggest question won't be about his on-field play, it will be about how his twice-broken leg holds up. His limited playing has garnered above-average results and an impressive showing would help him lobby for more playing time when both suspended players return.
In 2011, Thurmond saw 206 defensive snaps, with a majority of them coming on the outside. He made two starts at left cornerback in Weeks 5 and 7. During that two-game stretch, he was thrown at 13 times and he only allowed seven completions.
Opposing quarterbacks had a quarterback rating of 85.8 when throwing his way over that two-game span. The lone touchdown he surrendered was to one of the better receivers in the game, Hakeem Nicks.
Outside of those two starts, his only other appearances came in the slot. In the slot, he had similar numbers as on the outside. He gave up five receptions on eight attempts for 35 yards. The only improvement was the fact that opposing quarterbacks had a lower quarterback rating against Thurmond while he was in the slot.
At right cornerback, Seattle should be installing sixth-round pick Jeremy Lane. I don't like the idea of taking Marcus Trufant out of the slot and putting him back on the outside. His legs aren't young enough to handle the workload of taking on Brandon Marshall, Michael Crabtree and Larry Fitzgerald.
Even though Lane hasn't played a snap at cornerback yet this season and is a bit raw, it's time to throw him into the fire just like Thurmond. Lane attended Northwestern State, but that didn't stop him from getting noticed by multiple NFL teams.
As a four-year player, he snagged four interceptions in 37 games—mot to mention he ran a 4.48 40-yard dash and jumped 42 inches.
As this scenario plays out, it will be interesting to see who logs the most snaps moving forward. At the moment, my gut says Thurmond at left cornerback, Lane at right cornerback and Trufant in the slot.
Drop me a line in the comment section and let me know who you think should fill in for Browner and Sherman.
Follow @TysonNFL on Twitter.
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