Brandon Browner is now suspended. Marcus Trufant is officially out with a hamstring injury. Only 3 CB had played snaps on defense during the first 11 games of this season, and 2 of them wont be available this week.
Enter Walter Thurmond and Jeremy Lane.
Thurmond was once thought of as a late 1st to early 2nd round draft pick, and a certain NFL start. Then he blew out his knee in college, and slipped all the way to the 4th round where the Seahawks grabbed him. He played sparingly in 2010 as he slowly came back to form.
2011 had Thurmond start as the nickel corner, and then he got elevated to starting. Problem was that in the only game in which he started, he broken his leg which ended his season. It also cost him the first 11 games of this season, as he started the year on the PUP list and then had a tough time getting back to full speed even once he was activated.
So here we are about to play the Seahawk’s 13th game in Thurmond’s 3rd season, and we have yet to see all that much of him. So what should we expect to see tomorrow?
Honestly, I have no idea.
On one hand he was above Richard Sherman on the depth chart a year ago. On the other hand, very very few players have ever come off the PUP list and made a positive impact for their team that season.
Looking back at early 2011, Thurmond strung together a series of good performances before his injury, especially the game against the Giants. But then again, his worst game as the one in which he started, and he will be starting this week against Arizona.
Clearly, there’s not much we can go by, so we might as well just stop trying. Instead, lets look at what type of player Thurmond is.
At 5-11, Thurmond is more of a traditional CB than the player he’s replacing. He’s also not nearly as physical, and isn’t the same type of player in terms of run support. But what he can do is cover. He’s much smoother in the hips, has better footwork, and is smoother coming out of his packpedal and running with the receiver. All of that means the she should be better in coverage, especially smaller/quicker receivers that have plagued the Seahawks this season.
The new nickel corner is rookie Jeremy Lane, and there’s even less info on him. Lane hasn’t played a snap on defense since the preseason. Back then he was a surprising physical corner who looked and played like a smaller but quicker version of Brandon Browner. He made plenty of mistakes, but also made a few “wow” plays.
The problem with using preseason games to scout Lane is that 13 weeks of a practice can work miracles for a rookie. We really have no idea what to expect in terms of his quality of play.
Ultimately, that is the problem. We don’t really know anything about what to expect from the 2 new contributors to the defense. Both have plenty of physical talent, but neither has much in the way of experience.
I guess we’ll finally get to see how ready they are.