Jeremy Lane Emerges From the Shadows
Oct 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Despite performing relatively well in his rookie season Jeremy Lane was not guaranteed to make the Seahawks in 2013. Lane fits the mold of a Pete Carroll corner given his size as physicality, but he did not make this year’s squad based on his ability as corner. Instead, Lane got himself gainfully employed due to his ability on special teams. Jeremy Lane is a really good player to have on kick and punt coverage teams and a big part of the overwhelming success the Seahawks have had in that area. Pro Football Focus Lane tracks the performance of special teamer and has given Lane a grade of +9.0, the second best in the entire NFL.
Although it is well established that Lane can do his job on special teams there is a little bit more uncertainty about him as a corner. However, given the losses of Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner Lane has been asked to step up into the third corner role. Although Byron Maxwell’s step into the spotlight has been more publicized, in today’s NFL you need at least three quality corners every game. Some of the biggest receiving threats in the league work out of the slot and as such Lane’s defensive work has been of great importance of late. Before the Seahawks Week 11 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings Lane had received 19 total snaps on defense, since then he has gotten 104. The following chart shows how Lane has fared in coverage in the last four games according to PFF:
Lane has done a more than admirable job keeping receivers at bay. Last week he matched up primary with Victor Cruz and held him to 22 yards on 7 targets. You can’t ask for much more than that.
Walter Thurmond will be returning very soon which will likely relegate Jeremy Lane to a spot on the bench once again. He will continue to be a special teams stud but may not see a lot of the field, especially considering Byron Maxwell’s two interception game on Sunday. Hopefully Pete Carroll takes note of what Lane has done over the last few weeks because he has yet another good player on his hands.
There’s no longer any reason to be surprised by this team’s ability to find and develop quality corners, but the kind of depth the Seahawks have amassed at the position is borderline unprecedented. Not a lot of teams can be down to their 1st, 4th and 5th corners and then go on to allow only 26 points over their next 3 games but that’s exactly what this team has done. With Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond probably on their way out of town following the 2013 season it’s good to know that there are plenty of reinforcements already on the roster.