By now the news of the suspensions to Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner has reached the ears of Seahawks fans everywhere. On the surface the idea of losing two quality corners in such a short period of time would be a devastating blow to a team with Super Bowl aspirations. However, Pete Carroll’s ability to find and develop talented corners is well documented and there are a few more on this roster. Jeremy Lane showed real promise last season when he filled in during Browner’s first suspension and Bryon Maxwell is a guy who could probably start for a team or two. He could definitely start for the Jaguars. There is also a great deal of speculation about solutions from the outside like Antoine Winfield, who could probably still be a fine player for this team.
A Saints fan I know was texting me last night making bold statements about the ability of Drew Brees to pick apart this now depleted secondary. I told him that those statements don’t make sense given the Seahawks have a secondary comprised of 75% Pro Bowl or All-Pro players at the moment. Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are all elite players in this league and they have as much of a chance of stopping Brees as anyone, even without Browner and Thurmond. It should be noted that given Browner was injured anyway Thurmond is the real loss despite the fact that Browner’s suspension is creating more headlines.
What has happened is that the Seahawks have seen their depth at corner erode. Now that backup guys are having to step up there is no one of significance behind them. In the offseason I wrote this piece about the guys the Seahawks could least afford to lose. That list is no longer accurate. Richard Sherman is now the guy this team can’t lose.
Richard Sherman can still lock onto the other team’s top receiver and take him out of the game, forcing teams to beat the Seahawks with their less dangerous weapons. If Sherman goes down and the Seahawks are looking at a Lane-Maxwell pairing, or some pair of that quality, this pass defense isn’t going to be nearly as effective. The moment the Legion of Boom becomes merely a safety pairing is the moment that unit no longer deserves to be feared.
Sherman is a great player and as such it is obvious that the Seahawks can’t afford to lose him. However, the circumstances surrounding Browner and Thurmond have created a situation where he shoulders more responsibility than ever. Luckily, Sherman has been durable and reliable during his Seahawks career so there is plenty of reason to believe he can stay on his feet and shoulder the burden. If your team is going to rely heavily on one guy, an All-Pro like Richard Sherman isn’t a bad choice. He seems the type to embrace that kind of pressure. He’s going to need to be.